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If you dig the track, you can buy the entire N.A.S.A. "Spirit of Apollo" album on Amazon here. There is not one tosser in the collection, the whole project is amazing. Full credits and tour dates after the jump — if they're coming to a town near you, you can't miss the show, really.
Q&A WITH DIRECTOR SYD GARON
Xeni Jardin: Syd, can you tell us about what we're seeing here — the story this video tells? How did you develop this visual narrative, in relation to the message of the song (about a woman who falls in love with the Devil?)
Syd Garon: Sage was painting these warring gangs of Blue Jays and Cardinals in the trees of Los Angeles and the song was about a forbidden love, you can see how the west side story naturally evolved from that, in fact it seems like it was inevitable. The pitch on this video was Winged Migration meets Straight out of Compton and I think thats how it turned out.
Xeni: How did you and Sage develop the project together, can you tell us about the collaborative process?
Syd: Sam from N.A.S.A approached me to do a video and he suggested artist Sage Vaughn as a good collaborator. We all worked out a story and then Sage painted hundreds of frames over thousands of hours. Once we got the paintings we photographed them and animated everything. Most of the animation was done in After Effects, there were a few impossible shots my friend Paul Griswold did in 3d with XSI. Every now and then a project goes super smooth and everyone is happy and had fun, this was one of those projects.
Xeni: How did you develop the movement of the birds — the fighting sequences, the cuddling couples — what did you use as study references, and how did that evolve?
Syd: We were trying to keep things a kind of realistic fantasy. The idea was the birds should be anatomically correct, yet they fought like Crips and Bloods, they couldn't use a gun but they could get a tattoo. It's sounds insane when I write it out but there is an internal logic and it makes sense to us. We also wanted *mostly* realistic flight and behavior even though its animated. Cardinals don't really fall in love with Blue Jays or fight to the death so we would need to find footage of an eagle battle or two Brown-headed Nuthatches preening and Sage would paint them as if they were our hero birds. To find that kind of reference we watched hours and hours of bird movies including "Audubon VideoGuide to 505 Birds of North America on Two DVDs". We watched both dvd's. It's not really roto-scoped its more like we sampled the movement and behavior of real birds and then tried to mimic it with still images.
Credits: Music Title: "Way Down" Artist: N.A.S.A. (feat. RZA, Barbie Hatch & John Frusciante) Producer: N.A.S.A. (C) 2009 Spectrophonic Sound Under Exclusive License to Anti- Records. Video Directed by: Syd Garon and Sage Vaughn. Original Artwork: Sage Vaughn. Animation: Syd Garon, Paul Griswold, Scott Halford, Ethan Chan, Eric Henry. Executive Producer: Susan Applegate. Tools: Paint on canvas, Adobe After Effects, Softimage XSI.
N.A.S.A. Project tour dates: Feb 28 – MEZZANINE (NoisePop Festival) – San Francisco Mar 2 – HOLOCENE – Portland Mar 3 – NECTAR LOUNGE – Seattle Mar 6 – TRIPLE ROCK SOCIAL CLUB – Minneapolis Mar 7 – THE ABBEY PUB – Chicago Mar 9 – EL MOCAMBO – Toronto Mar 10 – LA SALA ROSSA – Montreal Mar 11 – HARPER'S FERRY – Boston Mar 12 – LE POISSON ROUGE – New York Mar 13 – BARBARY – Philadelphia Mar 14 – ROCK & ROLL HOTEL – Washington DC.