Michael Fierstein does it all. From being one of the best Los Angeles show curators and releasing some of the newest local artists recordings on his label, Static Aktion, to directing and producing music videos, Fierstein has L.A. noise on lock.
Static Aktion’s Michael Fierstein directed “New Orleans” by Former Ghosts. Here are his thoughts on the making of this visually-stunning video…
What role do you play in the making of this video, Michael?
I am the producer and director of “New Orleans.” I came up with the concept, picked the actors and locations, got the crew together, etc. I’m also working on editing the video with Jarrett Silberman (who you may know as co-founder of The Smell and from playing in bands like Young People, Liars, The Jews, Skull Sküll).
Why did you chose this song? Is there a personal connection?
I had heard Freddy play the song live at The Smell over a year ago and really loved it. It ended up not being on the first Former Ghosts record for one reason or another and while talking to Freddy about the song he thought it might not fit on his next record either. So the plan was for me to release the song as the A-side of a 7inch. While they were putting together the new record the song seemed to fit really well so there was no longer a need for a “New Orleans” single. I still felt a pretty strong attachment to the song so I started talking with Freddy about making a video for the track.
Who else is involved in the making of this video?
The main “character” is Daniela Jimenez (of L.A. band Moses Campbell). She is a really amazing actress and totally solid human being. The other girls in the video are Lali Foster, Lauren Wong, Natalie Lopez, Rachel Birke and Chloe Mandel. I’m really lucky to know such a talented group of people, they were easy to work with and totally giving of there time and energy. I honestly couldn’t imagine any other group of humans being as totally awesome as they are in this video. The video was shot by a local film maker / photographer named Steven Andrew Garcia. He’s worked on alot of Vice Cooler’s videos and directed a video for Mika Miko a couple years back. He is a really great cinematographer and has a great eye for what will look cool in the context of the video. The video would not have been possible without the support of Freddy Ruppert, the Jimenez family, Grant and the Echo Curio, Penny Milvio, Michael Reyder, Andrew MacKelvie, Charlie Horovitz, James Roullard and Fabian Vazquez.
Tell me about some of the video concepts and where they came from.
I guess the basic concept is that even though someone may be in love in Daniela’s character in her mind the relationship is over. While it’s not easy for her she is not obsessing over plans that she made with the other person. Her life continues while the other persons life is on hold, still fixated on a future they will never have. She is having fun with her friends, enjoying her new life and rejecting the ideas of love that may have been forced onto her. A lot of those ideas came from feelings I had during the only really traumatic break up of my life. Many of the other things in the video were inspired by being around this group of girls in the weeks and months before we shot the video and observing how they interact with each other. Not that they behave the way they do in the video but I think the video captures the vibe they give off as a group pretty well.
Have you done any other film work? Do you have any other projects in the works?
I was executive producer and helped film Live At The Smell, Volume 1, a DVD that came out last year. Right now I’m working on editing Live At The Smell, Volume 2, a movie that I directed and produced. That should be out on DVD and in a few theaters in January. Both projects are a fundraiser for The Smell. I’m hoping to be directing on a hand full of other music videos this year for No Age, Signals, Foot Village and Moses Campbell. I’m also hoping to release records from Moses Campbell, Big Whup, So Many Wizards and Heller Keller in the near future.
What is your favorite music video by someone else right now?
The Male Bonding video that Vice Cooler directed is one of my favorite music videos ever. It’s totally engrossing and holds your full attention for the length of the song. That video was a major source of inspiration for “New Orleans.” Vice was also nice enough to talk with me about video directing and help me talk out some of my ideas in the days leading up to the filming of the video.
When will this video be done? Where can we see it first?
Right now we are shooting for the final edit of the video being done the first week of September. The new Former Ghosts record is called New Love and it’s being released October 4 via Upset The Rhythm.