Experimental Ensemble Thor & Friends Share Latest Video "As Above So Below" (premiere)
Enjoy the premiere of experimental ensemble Thor & Friends' video for new song "As Above So Below" as well as receiving a tour of the making of both song and video.
Catching up with Thor Harris in the run up to the release of a gargantuan six LP box-set later this year, PopMatters was invited to share the premiere of Thor & Friends' video for new song "As Above So Below" as well as receiving a tour of the making of both song and video.
Thor Harris: There are a lot of great things about not being a control freak. I sent Jennifer Wasner (Wye Oak, Flock of Dimes, and Bon Iver) a half-finished track with zero instruction on what she might add to it. We're old friends and I'm constantly in awe of her abilities — what I got back was astonishingly beautiful. After that we spent a week in Albuquerque at the home of Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw). And Heather played violin while Jeremy played organ and other things — John Dieterich (Deerhoof) played organ too; the Tuvan throat singing is Soriah; Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) played upright bass and Tim Herzog (also from Godspeed) played cymbals and drums. Adam Harding (Dumb Numbers) played some weird guitar controlled mellotron thing.
(At this point Adam Harding, the maker of the video, joined us.)
Adam Harding: It was such a great week. We hung out with a bunch of cool dogs and cats, cooked and ate a bunch of delicious food, drank endless cups of Thor's freshly roasted coffee…And somehow managed to film two videos, take a bunch of photos and finalize the third LP for Thor's Artist In Residence box-set.
It sounds amazing. I'd never thought of Albuquerque as a go-to travel destination when one wants to be creative.
Thor: It's enchanting. Working in the still sweltering evenings in that landscape where everything has spikes and thorns was horror beyond elation. Everything in that landscape wants to kill you! It would definitely be a much better world if more people tripped in the desert at some point. The visions are sublime.
And, for the video, how did you go about it?
Thor: Well the song came about because we trusted people. So, when it came to the video, we used the same approach: I trusted in Adam's vision and abilities and just did as I was told.
Adam: Well we first met at a Swans show in 2014 and we've been friends ever since. How can anyone meet Thor and not become friends? I feel very fortunate to have been able to work so closely with him this year, I've been project managing the box set, collaborating on the music, and then the opportunity came up to make the video. I've made around fifty music videos over the last decade and most of them are non-narrative, but this one really tells a story.
Thor: It is beautiful and combines two of my favorite holy sacraments — the desert and hallucinogenic drugs.
Adam: We got really lucky on the last day of filming: as we made our way up the mountain, there was this stunning golden light in one direction and a really ominous dark sky with thunder and lightning in the other. Jeremy had done some location scouting for us and I'd known I wanted the video to match the song in the sense that I wanted it to end in a very different place from where it begins. I've always felt a song should be the key inspiration for the images used, that the visuals should be wedded to the music. We used a series of different filters over the camera lens to create a visual representation of the characters' altered state as the story progresses.
This is the first time I've had an idea extend out past the end of the song in question. I was editing the final section and the audio from the camera mic, Heather's screeching violin played back in slow motion, it was the only thing that seemed to fit with the footage we took inside the cave. I didn't want to force everything to fit inside the length of the song so, in the end, I extended the video by two minutes using the actual sound recorded during the filming of the scene.