What would it be like if a day of your life was filmed then released into the wilds of the web? Better yet, what if you and your brother were musicians, and you produced, directed, and released your first big, innovative music video – shot over a full day at Ocean Beach in San Francisco – and it ended up going viral on Youtube, before the release of a full-length album?
Well, your band Wildlife Control would be a rather buzzed about act. And it would leave the people wanting even more (debut EP Spin was released this March). Brothers Neil and Sumul Shah, hailing from a rural Pennsylvania town – now based in Brooklyn and San Francisco respectively – spent a day in early February filming said music video for their new single “Analog or Digital” on a windswept beach, using a unique combination of time-lapse and stop-motion techniques.
In the video, it appears that the background is moving faster than real time, while the band's movements are stagnant, choppy, like a slow-moving slideshow; it creates an effect that looks their feet are closely hovering over the sand.
This effect was created by a series of more than 3,000 individual photographs. The process was tiring for the brothers, holding the poses for such a long stretch of time, “We got really stiff” laughed Sumul during a conversation at Cafe Mediterranean in Berkeley.
Wildlife Control's sound is far from rigid, it's based in breezy pop – poppy enough to appeal to mainstream audiences – and layered with rock'n'roll riffs, and some jazz influences. There are layers to peel back with each listen, more depth than initially meets the ear.
“We grew up in a whole family of musicians, Sumul reflected. “Our parents both imparted the importance of music from an early age. They wanted us to dive deep into it. Our dad is a trained classical Indian musician.” In fact, he plays Tabla on their future full-length release. “Music was all around, all the time; from an early age we always heard good music.”
Sumul added that – along with that family of musicians – he was also inspired by teachers, other artists, and inspirational folk with a clarity of vision, ticking off a list that included Steve Jobs, the Beatles, and Johann Sebastian Bach.
“When we would go with our friends in their parents’ minivan, I didn’t get what they listened to. The cheesy kids' music was just not what we were exposed to in our family,” he laughed. “There is a necessity to some extent to have music appropriate for kids, but I don’t believe they should need their own weird kids' music. A child can appreciate music like the Beatles.”
While the brothers grew up surrounded by music and have been playing together for some time, they've just barely dipped their toes in the modern world of viral music videos. With the “Analog or Digital” video, they made a concerted effort to capture their personalities.
“We thought, what better way to do it then to film an entire day to ourselves, and then compress that down into the three minutes of the song,” Sumul said. “Certain aspects of it were very planned out, but otherwise we just wanted to have fun and be ourselves.”
The song is anchored by a steady drum line, and the story-telling of the lyrics instantly create a potential for nostalgia; the musical bridge adds a dramatic flair that makes the song all the more memorable.
“It's interesting that it went viral; all we really want is to make music for anyone who wants to hear it and be exposed to it.” Sumul said. “To live in an age where we can get so much fan response amazes us,” adding, “we totally live in the future and we love that.”