I was lucky enough to speak with Jim Grey, vocalist of Caligula’s Horse about the quality and concepts of their video clips and how it has contributed to their success.
MMM: Congratulations on the release of your new video for Turntail, it’s sitting at nearly 23,200 views after just a few weeks. What was the concept behind this clip?
Jim: Thanks! We’re all totally stoked at the response, it seems like people have really latched onto what we were trying to say with the video. Basically we wanted something to capture the nature of the song. Turntail is a song about standing your ground and taking courage in the face of adversity. The dancer in her stone-like black and white form represents her fear and anxiety, something that can be all-encompassing and controlling. She gradually learns that the things controlling her are of her own making, and learns to control them in turn. The colour returns to her and she is free.
To me, this represents Australia and our need to step up in the face of the refugee crisis. Our callous and nonsensical approach, all this offshore detention with no end in sight, is utter cowardice, driven by the hubris of our so-called leaders in an attempt to maintain their status, nothing more. We need to embrace the courage of compassion and respond to this crisis with humanity and reason. And that’s what Turntail stands for.
From the beginning Caligula’s horse has taken a very professional approach to their videos. At that time were you thinking of an overall image or brand for the band to portray and how you wanted to viewed by your audience?
We just try to do everything to the best of our ability, really. We know that with the right amount of effort, diligence, and objective criticism of our own work, we can create something that is close to the flawless image we initially imagined. It’s hard, but that’s what it takes when you’re on a shoestring budget like we have been for years. So if we do have an image or brand, like you say, it’s more of a result of the fact that we like our art to be as polished as it possibly can be, even forsaking sleep and real life, haha.
Do you think the quality of your clips (as well as the awesome tunes of course) has helped the band to secure support slots for international artists and international tours?
It’s definitely helped, yeah – having a strong presence online, having clips that are a good representation of the band’s message, all of those things tend to add up. Plus I feel like it’s a connection with our fans that we haven’t yet been able to tour to, especially in the US. Those guys are all hanging out for a tour (and hopefully we’ll make it there soon) and a clip is a way for them to connect with our performance, in a way.
Do you work with the same team for each of your videos and do they give creative input into the video concepts?
Early on we worked with a few different crews, directors, editors and the like, but the last few clips (A Gift to Afterthought, Firelight, Turntail, and a number of live clips) have been through our mate Adrian Goleby. Basically because when you’re onto a good thing… why stop? Adrian’s awesome to work with, versatile and creative.
In terms of the creative input, most of the time Sam and I have a complete concept and image in our heads before we take it to the team. Once we’re working in pre-production with Adrian, there is of course a whole heap of back-and-forth and brainstorming until we have something that is close to our initial concept but actually achievable in reality.
Recently, the band has been releasing their videos through InsideOutMusicTV, do you think releasing your videos exclusively through a channel that is not your own has helped to get your music out to people who ordinarily wouldn’t have heard of Caligula’s Horse?
Absolutely. That basically sums up why it’s been so great working with Inside Out. Not only are they supportive creatively and give us the freedom we need, but their well-deserved and well-established fan base gives us a global platform for our music that we hadn’t reached yet.
Watch the clip below