They may not be the world yet, but perhaps it's just a matter of time for Vancouver's We Are The City. At the very least they're aiming international with the video for their single 'Baptism,' which uses scenes from We Are The City's feature-length, foreign-language film "Violent,' which the band — whose members don't actually speak Norwegian — wrote, translated, and directed in Norway.
Sharing a name with their recently released sophomore album, the film "Violent" is due out later this year and revolves around a woman, involved in a "catastrophic experience," remembering the five people who love her most.
"The music video plays like a teaser because the film itself is actually a narrative story and for the music video we chose not to pull any distinctly 'narrative' content like dialogue or any action with actors," says singer-keyboardist Cayne McKenzie. "Instead we used abstract imagery from the dream sequences in the film — people floating, buildings floating, the water ripples, the shot of the young woman on the ferry. We chose to use these shots in the 'Baptism' music video because we felt that the song was asking to be pulling in a cinematic direction, not a flashy one."
But if the music video provides our first glimpse into the universe of the movie, it also inspires the question: Why Norway?
"Well, the simple answer is that we wanted to transport ourselves and our audience," explains drummer Andy Huculiak. "There was a new kind of inspiration, one that we had never experienced before, when we surrounded ourselves with actors speaking a different language and settings that looked familiar but also alien. Canada's similarity to Norway was comforting, but road signs with ø's and å's are hard to ignore. When we decided that we wanted to shoot a feature film, the thought of shooting it in Vancouver didn't seem right. We knew Vancouver, we had shot many music videos in the city, and we wanted to leave our comfort zone."
One might even say they entered a discomfort zone, at least when it came to the scene with the sparks.
"Those sparks hurt," recalls guitarist David Menzel. "There's a shot in the music video where a spark lands on Cayne's shirt and instantly burns through it, leaving behind a wisp of smoke, that does a good job of illustrating just how hot those sparks were. There's another shot where one lands just above Andy's eyelid and then stays there — the result was a relatively large burn.
"We all walked away from that shoot with burn spots on our faces, chests, and head."
We Are The City are currently on tour, with a homecoming BC date at The Vogue on July 4.