ART: THUNDER HORSE VIDEO INTERVIEW (SUPERSUPER! VOL 2 #001)
NYC-based art collective/production company trio Thunder Horse Video make CG-music videos that are more epic than your average Hollywood blockbuster (sorry Batman).They also create live band visuals for the likes of like SALEM, Gatekeeper and Nguzunguzu. Where to from here? N*SYNC, obviously.
SS: Hey Thunder Horse! Where did the name come from?
TA: There’s just something powerful and awesome and classic and American about the name ‘Thunder Horse’ – imagine it airbrushed on the side of a monster truck, flying over a stack of cars.
SS: How did the project get started?
TA: When we graduated film school. It was either be film industry grunts, or start our own thing. Mixing music and video together was the original plan, but now it’s grown much bigger, with art, fashion and media too.
SS: Has it been difficult, starting a video production company from scratch?
AG: Well, we can do whatever we want… but the trade-off is that it’s hard to get people to pay us to do whatever we want.
SS: And how did you get involved with Gatekeeper? You’ve done six videos for them, and all the visuals for their shows – that’s loads!
AG: I met Aaron (Gatekeeper) in college, and later saw Gatekeeper play a show. Right away we said, “We gotta work together”.
SS: So what kind of aesthetic have you worked on in their shows?
AG: We want Gatekeeper shows to feel like the most hellish, inter-dimensional techno-dungeon ever – there’s a chain-link fence, spilt toxic waste barrels, big rotating emergency lights, fog, strobes…
TA: You get transported – people really lose themselves. It’s on a cinematic level, like a movie. We could shoot these shows and they’d look like dramatic movie scenes.
SS: You’ve also done live work for artists like SALEM and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), right?
AG: Recently, we’ve done stuff with Daniel’s new project, Ford & Lopatin. We covered the stage with houseplants, an old projection TV showing psychedelic CG visuals and backlit 8-foot vertical blinds.
TA: It was like a psychedelic demon coming out of the TV and taking over a suburban dream home… With SALEM, we went for the aesthetic of an oil refinery at night – the feeling of driving alone, when you look across the horizon and see the glow of a far-off city.
SS: So you’re really going for the full audience experience then?
AG: The experience is the whole thing. You need to be there.
TA: These shows are something really special – people get to experience full-on, multi-sensory events. As a video production company, our biggest edge is our live shows – doing both at the same time is what’s making people notice.
SS: You’ve worked with a lot of underground artists in small spaces – would you ever take on more mainstream shows? How about a Britney gig?
AG: I would take on a Britney show in a second. Tell her to call me! We’re really trying to work towards N*SYNC level.
SS: A lot of your videos have a very distinctive early CG-style. Where do you find your inspiration?
AG: Early PC aesthetics, old ‘90s CG-based rave visuals, and YouTube. We’re constantly reflecting on our “American-ness” – being American kids growing up during that time. If I’d seen our video for Gatekeeper’s ‘Chains’ as a kid, with that motorcycle driving through a 3D landscape…
SS: Obviously this nostalgic throwback is huge in video, music and on the Internet right now… do you think you’ll keep on using this kind of aesthetic?
AG: We’d never pigeonhole ourselves. As long as there’s some kind of explosive shock-and-awe tactic, people will probably be into it.
SS: And is that ‘shock-and-awe tactic’ the kind of core behind Thunder Horse?
AG: Definitely, especially with our live aesthetic. We’re taking the concept of gigantic Hollywood-style sets and effects into small, DIY venues – with no budget.
TA: The same energy is brought down to a much more personal scale. We’re living in a multi-media age… it’s fine for bands to just go up and play, but it’s so much cooler if there’s a whole show up there too.
SS: If you could make a music video for any artist, who would it be?
TA: Soulja Boy or Waka Flocka – those guys would be the shit. I’d love to make a huge metal video too, like Judas Priest or Metallica. There would be tanks, live explosions – the biggest fire in the world!
SS: What’s next for Thunder Horse? Are you gonna storm the world?
TA: Maybe Sky Ferreira’s show, but that’s still on the back burner. There’s a couple of art shows coming up, and we’ve been in talks with Light Asylum -that’s probably going to be our next big collaboration.
AG: Doing huge, huge shows, like at the Pyramids! I don’t really see an end to it – there is no end.
SS: Any last words?
AG: GO USA!
Interview: Charlotte McManus
Posted on 10/03/2012, in Art and tagged alex gvojic, art, charlotte mcmanus, ford & lopatin, gatekeeper, jude MC, nguzunguzu, production, SALEM, supersuper, supersuper magazine, taran allen, thunder horse video. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.