Apr 4, 2013
That time we made the Follow You Into The Dark.. video
A couple of months ago I set out to make a video of a version of the song “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” originally penned by Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, that appears on their record, Plans.
Had been playing the song since the summer in preparation for a show in the city, and was excited for the arrangement we worked out. Well Death Cab made an exclusive record for iTunes in 2004 called Studio X Sessions, on which they included a beautiful rendition of “Blacking out the Friction.” This was my introduction to that tune, which originally appeared on The Photo Album, and has since been a favorite of mine. The Studio X.. version has such a perfect sound to it. Whatever that Studio X live room is like, it has a sound that is rich and thick and cold. It lights up straight away when that drum groove starts goin. The piano winds around the wurlitzer line and the whole band drifts up like a ghost to spill the song out of yer headphones.
I have always been in love with that recording and wanted it to serve as inspiration for the arrangement of “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” which is otherwise such a sweet and haunting tune as a solo acoustic piece.
At any rate we put together this arrangement with a few instruments and I was so stoked on it, but when we got to the gig where we were going to play the song, I completely forgot about it during our set and didn’t get to perform the damn thing. We played it a few months later at a show, but as I hadn’t released another cover video like the one I made for Viva La Vida in 2011, I thought it would be a great thing to film while tracking in a studio. I called around a few places in Brooklyn and Manhattan that looked good to take some tours. Well didn’t Josh and I go on some and didn’t we find the most beautiful of rooms in Vinegar Hill Sound? Saw the room and met with Justin King and knew it was the spot for the video. Soon as the where was figured, and then the when, gave a ring to good friends Tyler Davis and Graham Burns to see if they wanted to film this thing. Well Tyler was all for it and Graham too and by way of a bus from Baltimore Tyler arrived on a Friday evening and we commenced eating thai food and watching Portlandia while it rained outside. Our night was quiet aside from maybe playing some pinball and having some beers.
Next morning, awoke and the rest of the house was still sleeping. As thanks fer filming, and plus Chris Talson had guests in, i promised to make blueberry pancakes and other breakfast things for the house. Well of course with all the people about, it required a double batch on the bisquick box - which is what i generally use fer makin pancakes. General secret is to use as many blueberries as you can. Doesn’t matter if its a box mix or yer own recipe, if you get enough berries in there, it’s bound to be good. Ventured out for coffees and breakfast makings and played guitar on my bed for a bit. When everyone woke, went to work making the batch. Of course, being so excited, had been gloating to all about how good my blueberry pancakes are, and as hubris often promises, i ended up fucking up the whole damn batch. See, I just don’t make pancakes for more then 2-4 folks on the regular, so the double batch was something new to me. I shoulda made two single recipes and that would’ve been the best thing. Anyhow - the double batch gets mixed up and the griddle is goin hot and i start layin down the hot cakes and they’re cookin, but they’re enormous and thick and cook too quick. Burnt two before figuring the batter needed to be thinned. So then added some milk, thinking that would do the trick. Well then the cakes were runny as hell, and when they cooked, the inside was so doughy it was like chewing bubblegum. And there the house was filling with hungry people and i was staring down into this giant double batch bowl, having used most of the bisquick we had left. Threw the double batch aside and went to work on a single batch, cursing myself for adding too much milk to the double with no good fix. Breakfast turned out OK but don’t think it lived up to my boasts. Still, Graham arrived in good style and we all drove over to the apartment of one Josh Sularski.
Josh had been in Vegas for the preceding week and came by red eye flight and a 7am landing to find his bed hard in the Brooklyn morning. Woke the poor bastard to grab a few supplies and arranged for his arrival to the studio a few hours later. Got to Vinegar Hill where Anthony was already set up with drums and then we got to going good.
Took us three hours but had a hell of a time filming and recording and it felt grand to be back in a studio. Vinegar Hill is a fantastic spot to make some music - the lighting, the gorgeous wall paper, beautiful wood floors and a room filled with great instruments - so fun. In the control room, he’s got an early 20th century atlas lining the walls and man did the place look and sound fine. For the little time we spent, the video and recording came out so well and I’m excited to share it with you.
After pack-up, traveled to cobble hill and ate mexican food and had margaritas with everyone around a big table. Dropped the gear off and caught the end of the Ravens game during which we defeated the Broncos in the scream-and-shout living room of our tiny Brooklyn apartment. Well out the door again we went after that brief celebration and trained it to Manhattan where we funneled down an unassuming gated stair through an empty alley under buildings and into a beautiful popping and bump-body crowded cocktail room complete with giant portraits of nude women lining the walls. The expanse of the room filled with the drifting noise of countless conversation and clinking of glasses and we all pushed our way to the densely packed bar. Ordered drinks from a carefully curated cocktail menu and soon enough we were huddled around each other talking and cutting along like we hadn’t seen each other in months. Best thing about this bar, aside from being hidden and big and nostalgic, is that all their drinks are served in teacups with saucers, and so everyone in the room is walking around fancy as hell with a cup and saucer in their hands chatting away about everything and nothing at once.
One drink come and gone and I had to take my leave. Crossed from the east side over to the Bowery where I stopped in to the grocery and bought chocolates and ginger and honey and lemon. Visited a sick friend and made some ginger tea to share and ate some chocolates as a remedy before heading back out into the warmest of january new york nights. Was getting on to midnight and up Bowery ran into none other than Amy Vachal and off we went back to the east side. Our hurried walk was lively with talk of new songs and music we’re both after and how the whole world seemed to be getting sick around us. Arrived in the east village to the slam-packed birthday party bar of another dear friend. The crack of billiard balls, the thunder of ski ball lanes, dings and bells coming from pinball, all mixed with music and crowd-shouts, and there we were pushing our way through it all in search of the party. Well then we found it and hugged our pal and bumped along with the happy drunk tide of the bar mob. Amy might have thrown some ski balls up the lane and then with want for quiet and more conversation, the two of us dumped back down onto the streets of the east village. Walked down to where the Williamsburg Bridge meets manhattan and one of us got in a cab and the other got on a train and that was that.
Came home to find the film crew and all the rest finishing a game of cards against humanity. Crashed hard after the long day and slept well as could be expected. Next morning we all sat long against the window of a Brooklyn diner and feasted with milkshakes. I almost always order a black & white shake these days, which is what I imagine most folks actually want when they order a chocolate shake. A chocolate shake is made with chocolate iced cream, and well I don’t think it’s ever any good, but a b&w shake is vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce - like how you made it when you were six - and that’s just how to dig on a diner breakfast. Put Tyler back on a train and there went the weekend. After all that good mess, here’s this video and I hope you dig it.