Chances are, we’re not going to find the three guys from Buddy Banter filming a music video on top of the Capitol Records building in LA, with perfectly coiffed hair blowing in the wind, instruments laughably unplugged, rock poses perfectly practiced -- or will we?
"Actually, that’s our next video," drummer/vocalist Steven Oira says. "We’re gonna head up there, break in and take Capitol Records hostage. We’ll have guns and stuff."
Calm down, NSA, he’s joking -- especially since we’re getting dangerously close to the premise of the now-classic Sandler/Buscemi rock & roll comedy, Airheads. Really though, the whole idea just doesn’t really jive with Oira's ideology anyway
"I hate music videos like that." Oira admits. "I absolutely hate when bands stand around, playing phony guitars and lip-syncing in a video. F--- no; I’m never doing that."
Instead, the affable, free-spirited drummer and his two bandmates (bassist Dylan O’Bosky and guitarist Kevin Glenn) offer up music videos intended to add an altogether different angle to their musical journey. Back in November of last year, we featured the band’s video for “Insane” on SoundDiego TV
. The short film for the instantly memorable, indie-rock lead single from their 2013 album, Paradise Thrillz
, seemed to show all three members of the band in love with the same lucky girl. Well, that's what I thought, anyway, until I had a chance to talk to Oira about Buddy Banter's new video for "I Miss You" -- which is making its worldwide debut right here on SoundDiego -- and found out I was dead wrong about the whole thing.
Dustin Lothspeich: Your video for "Insane" was three dudes in love with one woman. This new one seems a bit more serious. Was that by design?
Steven Oira: Well, the girl is supposed to be a metaphysical idea, if you will. She’s not based in reality. She’s not a literal being. I mean, there’s a scene where she’s "standing" in the middle of the street, and she gets hit by a car-- but you can see that nothing happens to her. She’s an allegorical representation of love and death.
DL: Whoa, I was way off. So for "I Miss You," are you portraying the same kind of idea?
SO: Well, there's a conflict going on. The girl in the video is torn between wanting to stay inside her beautiful paradise -- which is San Diego in this case -- and struggling with herself and her desire to leave because of the change she’s going through mentally and emotionally.
DL: How long did it take to come up with the premise?
SO: Well, we all brainstormed about it. It took us two weeks to figure out what we wanted to do and how we were going to do it. We would go to the Living Room [Coffeehouse] off Rosecrans and just sit around, trying to come up with the least cliche music video ideas we could think of [laughs]. And, you know, the video has nothing to do with the song lyrically, but visually, it seems to match the feeling of the music. It just makes sense when you hear the song paired with the video. It wasn’t necessarily supposed to be a woman, either. I thought it could’ve been a man. But, you know, we talked about it, and Michael [Arter, the director] was like, "People don't want to see dudes. They want to see women" [laughs].
DL: Was that the direction you were aiming at from the get-go?
SO: We originally had a different idea, actually. We were going to show the contrast between a girl’s new life and her old life. Basically, we were going to portray a woman in present day as some sort of successful business person, but when she was younger, she had been a really grimy punk kid. We wanted to show the differences between her two lives. Her old life when she used to help the poor, appreciate art, feed the homeless and, now, her current life where she’s completely narcissistic and self-absorbed. You know, you grow up, go to school, get a degree, find a job and buy a house. What happened to dreaming? What happened to expression? I feel like our music can help people think outside the box.
DL: Was it difficult to put together? Music videos can't be cheap, right?
SO: It was absolutely free. We didn’t spend any money! It was completely DIY. We just asked friends for help if we needed help. Like, we didn’t have a tripod, so we drove around all of San Diego calling our friends and eventually found one to borrow-- and we were so stoked that we had a tripod. And, honestly, without it, we wouldn’t have had a music video. We couldn’t have filmed a lot of the shots we got without one.
DL: You mentioned the director Michael Arter earlier. How did he become involved?
SO: We’ve always worked with Michael Arter. He’s basically the fourth member of Buddy Banter. Me, Dylan, Kevin and Michael -- we’re really good friends. He’s the tallest one out of all us and also the youngest. He goes to college in Ohio for film, and it’s all he does. He’ll come out here twice a year, either around Christmas or randomly for a week, and call me up and go, "So what are you up to? Let’s do a music video."
SO: Well, it’s just the one that me and Michael really liked [laughs]. He’s our visual brother, and he likes to pick the songs he wants to work on. We’re not making music videos for MTV -- it’s all for the sake of art. We enjoy it.
DL: You guys seem to have such great comradery, but I heard you wrote and recorded the album by yourself. Will the other guys work on new recordings?
SO: Absolutely. They’ll be a huge part of the next record. Here’s the thing: Now it’s more of a Beatles thing. Kevin came up to me and said, "I want to write a song," and I said, "Please do that, show it to me and we’ll work on it together." As much as I write and sing the songs, those other guys are like music encyclopedias: If I play something for them, they'll totally tell me if it sucks.
Dustin Lothspeich plays in Old Tiger, Chess Wars, Boy King and Diamond Lakes. Follow his updates on Twitter or contact him directly.
Published at 10:50 AM PST on Feb 5, 2014