There's a lot of evil in this world. Like shopping malls that play holiday music before Thanksgiving. Or people who are constantly talking about running>"/>
There's a lot of evil in this world. Like shopping malls that play holiday music before Thanksgiving. Or people who are constantly talking about running their next marathon. Or "YOLO."
There are some evils, though, that can only be defeated when a group of Omaha-based musicians and artists band together with some sly moves and a militaristic dance routine, as seen in "Generals," the video for the title track off of The Mynabirds' sophomore album. We caught up with singer Laura Burhenn and got the lowdown on "Generals" before the band plays The Sunset Tavern on Saturday, their last Seattle show of 2012.
The Video: "Generals" was shot in an old Omaha steakhouse called Johnny's, the very same restaurant director Alexander Payne used in his film, About Schmidt.
Before their 10-hour shooting window closed, Burhenn and director/editor Jonathan Tvrdik took advantage of the building's "creepy, Shining-esque hallway" and filmed Burhenn singing and dancing while she wore a white cape outfit, designed by Emma Erickson, an Omaha-based designer who Burhenn says has created some of her favorite clothes for this tour, and a fox headdress, created by Boston-based sculptor Erin Shaw.
When it came to creating the choreography she and the revolutionists perform, Burhenn says she wanted to pay homage to Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation, though she also took inspiration from Kate Bush.
"I'm not a great dancer but I wanted this sort of militaristic, almost like fucked up cheerleader out for revenge," she recalls.
"The Internet Loves Cats": If Burhenn went with Treatment A, she might have had a viral video on her hands.
"It was going to involve cats dressed up as spies and basically it was going to be a network of women and cats who were out to overthrow this mean security guard at a dog pound and they were going to release the dogs," she says. "We figured the Internet loves cats. As we went to film it, the thought of actually having to wrangle cats and dogs and try to make them act didn't seem very feasible."
Using that idea as a frame of reference, Burhenn, along with Tvrdik and director/producer Tessa Wedberg, went back to the drawing board and created a black-and-white video that combined elements of old spy, French and Russian films, complete with an underground revolution.
We Got Strength In Numbers: With a fairly short shooting window, it was all hands on deck. Luckily for Burhenn, her friends were ready to help in any way they could.
Because of scheduling conflicts, Burheen's band wasn't able to perform in the full-band shots (though they do appear in the call-and-response scenes just after the three minute mark) so a group of Omaha musicians with their own punk rock/riot grrl band stepped in.
And the shady businessmen? Those guys all work at Saddle Creek Records, the label Burhenn and the Mynabirds call home.
"They're not necessarily guys who wanna be in front of the camera so I was really pleasantly surprised when they all said they would do it," Burhenn says, laughing.
Burhenn says that "Generals" was probably the easiest shoot she's ever done, thanks to the amount of support she received from her friends and fellow musicians.
"Omaha is like a really unique place where people love to get together and help each other make art and [this video] was a real testament to me of that," Burhenn says. "Here I'm thinking we're gonna have handheld cameras and they brought in cameras on dollies and full light sets and it's just like everybody wants to make the best art they possibly can and they put their whole heart and soul into it."