I don't know much about First Person Shootr, and naming your band after a genre that makes up roughly 243 percent of all modern video games doesn't exactly make narrowing it down any easier. After some digging, I found out that it's simply another stellar side project by producer Lee Bannon. He calls it baby-making music, but I think that's just because he hasn't seen his own music video for "Punch-Struck."
After dedicating a good part of the last couple of years to covering innovative music videos, I've started to get a feel for videos that the band makes and videos that directors make. "Punch-Struck" immediately presented itself as a director's take on a song rather than the vision of Bannon himself.
For one thing, Bannon doesn't appear in it. For another, it's creepy as all fuck, which is not usually Bannon's style.
Director Sean Stout paired with the High 5 Collective to present actress Bevan Thomas cavorting around the woods in a black dress being generally unnerving like some kind of grown-up version of The Ring. Bizarre, quick shots indicate that either magic or madness, with Thomas appearing to float through skeletal trees or drowning in woodland waters.
"High 5 Collective and myself had been talking about working together on a music video for a long time," says Stout. "They normally produce more narrative videos, whereas I make more nonlinear videos, and we thought it could be a good fit to try to do something in between for this song in particular. There is no concept for the video, which I guess is the concept.
"We all knew what we wanted it to turn out like, but we wanted the end result to also be fairly vague and more abstract than previous videos we had done," he adds. "I would say what I wanted it to represent, but we all sort of agreed we would leave it to interpretation.
"Not to, you know, make it sound overdramatic or mysterious or anything...I guess overall I just wanted it to feel very uncomfortable in an almost upsetting way."
"Upsetting" is a good word for the finished product, as the audience is never quite certain exactly what we're seeing. On the first go-round the video reminded me of Tori Amos's "Spark," where a bound and blindfolded Amos flees through the woods from a kidnapper.
That Thomas is in some sort of conflict is apparent, but subsequent watchings give you the impression she's far from a victim. Her gaze is baleful, her movements unsynched and sinister. "Punch-Struck" could almost be called an interpretive dance of sorts between Thomas and the landscape itself, as if she was a geomancer drawing mana from the ground to use in a sort of spell.
"It sort of blows my mind that she was able to act in the way that she did, given that she had essentially not been given any idea what we wanted the video to be or look like, and I intentionally never gave her any cohesive concept," says Stout.
"We just kept giving her life scenarios and asking her to act out how she thought she would feel. Some of them were fairly messed up. I am pretty sure at certain points she got fairly uncomfortable with our scenarios, but she still did a great job."
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In the end, "Punch-Struck" is an amazing work that showcases what kind of art can come about when a master musician like Bannon trusts his own creation's strength enough, as well as the skills of a director, to allow another artist to interpret it. Check it out below.