When Rolling Stone caught up with Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock around the time the band released their Heath Ledger-directed video for “King Rat,” the singer-guitarist promised they were cooking up something equally eye-popping for the next clip from their No One’s First But You’re Next EP, “The Whale Song.”
“It’s probably going to be one of my favorite videos we’re ever done,” Brock told Rolling Stone. “It’s a weird song to choose because it’s long as hell. Most of the time when people make videos they’ll give you two of their good ideas and that’s the whole premise, but these guys have not held back all. I’m impressed by how much work and creativity is going into that thing. Explaining it might not do it justice.” Check out the finished produced at Pitchfork.
Directed by Nando Costa from the Portland, Oregon production company Bent Image Lab, “The Whale Song” features an impressive array of special effects and stop-motion photography to soundtrack Brock’s simple retelling of Jonah inside the belly of the great fish. Costa and Bent are given a six-minute canvas, and every guitar build and multi-layer harmony provides a new surprise, from giant snails to instruments that play themselves.
Ironically, Ledger’s “King Rat” video featured lots of whales — the actor used the clip as a statement against cruel whaling practices in the Australian waters. Brock recalled that the last time he discussed the concept with Ledger the pair met up in London “and he had green hair. It was like a dude who had got in the pool after getting a perm, it was that kind of green. I though it was an interesting choice — I didn’t realize it was part of the Joker thing.” Brock noted that Ledger rolled up on a Dinosaur Jr. skateboard which he complimented. “Somewhere down the road he sent me one, but I was on tour and I couldn’t keep the damn thing. I ended up giving away to a kid at a show, so somewhere out there is a kid who has that skateboard.”
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