From the creator of imaginative masterpieces like Shovels and Rope's "Mary Ann and One Eyed Dan" music video, The Business Company is back at work in the visual playground this week with a space odyssey for Kozelski's new single "Lady in the Stars." Frontman Jeff Kozelski says the song — lead single off Systematic Static, out Wed. Aug. 1 — began as a question to himself: Who has the answers to becoming a successful musician, and do I want to continue writing music?
"I thought possibly there could be some woman in space with all the answers," he says. "It seemed like an appropriate topic since I had done so many things that kind of went nowhere or just fell flat. There still might be a lady out in space that has all the answers; I don’t really know."
The video for "Lady in the Stars" by The Business Company, a creative firm fronted by Kevin Hanley, has been teased on Instagram over the past few weeks in one-minute episodes. The entire "season" dropped last night for your binge-watching pleasure.
Naturally, when discussing the "Lady in the Stars" video concept with Hanley, a sci-fi theme was decided upon, which (naturally) resulted in a trip out to Bowman to begin filming at one of the state's most well-known curiosities, the "UFO Welcome Center." Constructed in 1994 by Joey Pendarvis, the 46-foot-wide spaceship was — as the legend goes — meant to make aliens feel welcome upon their arrival to Earth.[Pendarvis] just said, 'Sure do whatever you want, take your time, I’m going to get coffee.' The guy is sharp as a whip," Kozelski says. "We thought he was gonna be a lot stranger than he was, but he was pretty normal for building a flying saucer."
From there, the video, featuring Kozelski taking on a team of fierce space femmes, was constructed almost entirely at The Business Company's downtown studio, with some scenes filmed at Folly Beach. In total, Hanley spent a staggering eight months piecing together the multilayered five-minute-and-change video, with both he and writer Cara Persona at the helm to get as weird as they wanted.
"I’d been wanting to make a space video for a long time, and I was making a very dark and heavy video for another band earlier this year so I wanted a new project to be excited about and one that would be fun and challenging," Hanley says. "Cara and I had been doing what we called sketching where we’d just get together and green-screen stuff, play with various costumes and effects. Our idea was to build up a bunch of ideas so that if a project came along we’d be ahead of the game. When Jeff approached me with this song in particular, I knew it was the perfect project to throw everything we had into — it’s a groovy, quick-paced psychedelic space jam. Making a trippy retro-space video seemed inevitable."
In the past, Hanley has operated mostly as a one-man squad, pulling off detailed, large-scale projects by himself. "Lady in the Stars" is the first time he's collabed this much on one project — Persona wrote the story and handled costumes, art directing, and sets. In five mesmerizing forms, she also stars in the video as a Bond-esque silhouette dancer and more. She's every chick you see in the mini flick.
Of course, Kozelski contributed to the brainstorm, too. "Jeff had so many great ideas while we were filming and driving to locations," Hanley says. "We laughed constantly throughout the process. We had a basic storyboard to follow but there was a ton of improvisation."
Kozelski says it was amazing to see Hanley's brain "firing on all creative cylinders."
"I think we got about 30 minutes of footage in-between laughing hysterically," Kozelski says. "It was a lot of fun to make. Everybody who was a part of making the video was truly incredible and played the part so well. I can take credit for the song and a few ideas here and there, but it’s mostly The Business Company and Cara. People keep asking me where I found the girls for the video and I’m like, 'That’s one girl. I know, she’s badass.'"
Local comedian Hunter Gardner also stars in the video — although he, Persona, and Kozelski have never met one another in person. "Still haven’t," Hanley says. "This was intentional. It meant we shot a ton of stuff and knew it’d be hell in post production to sequence all the interactive shots, but it definitely lends some kind of weird vibe that I don’t think could have been achieved otherwise."
Additional collabs include Jon Pope (of Sexbruise?) on drums. You can catch Kozelski Band on Wed. Aug. 1 at the Pour House for the vinyl release of Systematic Static. No word yet on if any super-chic, hostile aliens will be aboard the PoHo spaceship and ready to rumble.