By Adam Lukach, @lucheezy
3:32 PM CDT, July 23, 2013
Crowding four bandmates into a Ukrainan Village warehouse that serves as both living and rehearsal space can be, well, a bummer.
"It makes recording really easy," said vocalist/guitarist John Rossiter of the Chicago band Bummer, "but it makes you hate everyone in your band."
The quartet, which was formed in January and consists of Rossiter, Shawn Nystrand (bass), Eric Shevrin (keys, vocals) and Jordan Thomas (drums, vocals), on Tuesday dropped their new single, "Low," which will appear on the band’s self-titled EP later this year. It’s a minimal, ambient burner that Rossiter sears with his Bon Iver-ian coo.
RedEye is happy to help premiere the song's video, which was directed by Jordan Epstein, who grew up with the band around Northfield. It features "Warehouse 13" star Allison Scagliotti dancing on a Los Angeles rooftop at sunset. Scagliotti has known Rossiter and Epstein for a few years. "She was a fan of our old band, Young Jesus," Rossiter said.
Scagliotti, no stranger to filming either TV or movies, was surprised when working on the video, which features the choreography of Arian Winn.
"The process of bringing this music video to life was more fulfilling and inspiring than I could have dreamed," she said in a separate interview. "I learned that there is so little difference between acting and dancing, and I am immeasurably proud of Jordan, Arian, Bummer, and all the people who put their passion and sweat into this."
Speaking of sweating, Rossiter said the warehouse has a 15-year history of use by musicians.
"It's really ideal. It's hot as hell in there--like it’s 115 degrees in there right now--but it's a great spot," he said. "Apparently Billy Corgan used to play there, so we sort of imagine him in the corner saying, 'This is bad.'"
Tell me the inspiration behind the song.
Well, Young Jesus (Rossiter and Nystrand’s old band) was really aggressive, edging on emo sort of tunes. We thought the only way to convey sadness or anger or extreme emotions was through buildups and yelling and all that. I had sorta gotten fed up with trying to write songs like that. So Jordy (Thomas) and I went back in the garage and started messing around with electronic drums and playing keyboards.
I'd been listening to a lot of Whitney Houston at the time, and been thinking I wanted to write this poppy Whitney Houston chorus, and that's how that chorus came about. Sitting in that garage, trying to write something different, conveying something that's not super heavy handed.
I was trying to explore ideas and emotions in music that I wasn't able to do with other bands. Bringing Shawn and Eric into the fold ... it all came together in like three days--and usually songs are a pain in the ass. Or you get this feeling that it's really good, and we had that feeling right away.
How was the video borne of that?
Our friend Jordan Epstein is the director. ... He's out in LA now. He'd done some really wonderful stuff. We tried to use the video in the same way we use the song. The song is representing a vibe rather than telling a straightforward story, or hitting you over the head with exactly what's going on. So we started talking more in terms of conveying the video in colors and feelings, rather than the girl goes over and she kisses this dude and then pushes him away, or something super dramatic like that.
See Bummer at 9 p.m. July 26 at Empty Bottle (free with RSVP, $8 at door; 21+)
"Low" is available for download at bummerband.bandcamp.com.
Adam Lukach is a RedEye special contributor. @lucheezy
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