Imaginary Cities – “Ride This Out” (Video) (PopMatters Premiere)

Winnipeg’s Imaginary Cities were birthed in a club auspiciously called the Cavern — recall the Beatles and their residency at Liverpool’s Cavern Club — by Marti Sarbit and Rusty Matyas, who was formerly a member of the power pop band the Waking Eyes and is a current player with the Weakerthans. The duo’s recent LP, Temporary Resident, has done well in their native land, reaching #1 on both !earshot and CHARTattack Canadian National Charts. Not bad for this promising group with a multi-talented instrumentalist in Matyas, who played all the instruments on the album, and Sarbit with her rousing, unique voice.

The two labored carefully over the album’s tunes together in close collaboration during 12-hour songwriting sessions. The attention to detail shows and the group looks to have a very bright future indeed. Today, we premiere the new video for “Ride This Out”, directed by Jeremy Fisher in hand-drawn animated style. Both Matyas and Fisher offer their thoughts on the production of the video after the jump.

From Rusty…

“I was really excited to have Jeremy do our ‘Ride This Out’ video in that classic, tedious, hand-drawn animation style. It also seems to have a distinctly Canadian look to it that brings me back to my childhood. It reminds me of watching those Nation Film Board of Canada shorts — specifically the Log Driver’s Waltz, between episodes of Mr. Dressup or Mr. Rogers.

The footage of Marti and myself (Rusty) was actually shot in three different cities. The solo footage of Marti was done in our bass player David Landreth’s living room in Winnipeg. The footage of myself playing guitar was taken in the Weakerthans dressing room while on tour with Jim Bryson, at the Myer Horowitz Theatre in Edmonton. Finally while in Toronto, Jeremy came down to our hotel to get some takes of Marti and I together.

I love the final product. It’s fun, cute, colourful, classically Canadian and somehow dark undertones still linger. It suits the song perfectly.”

From the director Jeremy Fisher…

“The video clip for the song ‘Ride This Out’ by Imaginary Cities is an animated line-drawn piece with the look and feel of a living sketchbook. Using classic animation techniques and bold colours over a black background we tried to visually meld the old with the new to embody the spirit of the song and the band. The storyline weaves through performances by Rusty and Marti cut between shots of hands playing the instruments used in the arrangement and abstract images to bolster the plaintive lyrics and the theme of the song.

The process was painstakingly tireless, but ultimately pretty simple. We started by taping live action video of the band performing the song in various scenes and imported it into Photoshop as an overlay. Most of the footage was shot when we weren’t even in the same city on mobile devices or small cameras and then sent to me via email. Then using the tools in Photoshop I drew over the frames and eventually removed the original video to create the effect of the line-drawn characters representing the band and other images.”