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Lovett: The Busiest Band You Haven’t Heard Of (Yet)

Lovett: The Busiest Band You Haven’t Heard Of (Yet) (photo)

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Ben Lovett doesn’t make things easy for himself. The frontman, namesake, and driving force behind Lovett has never found himself in need of the services of a record label. So when he finished his first self-published album, Highway Collection, last month, he had a few listening parties. Having worked as a film score composer (for Sundance darling “The Signal” among other movies) he knew a lot of people in the movie industry. As happens at Hollywood parties, soon after he was approached by five different directors about making videos for five separate songs. So he said yes to all of them. And then he thought, there are only nine songs on the album, why not do videos for all of them? After all, just because something is hard is no reason not to do it.

Thus began a collaborative project between Lovett and directors who were willing to work on his budget (none) and could convince him that their treatment worked with his song. Three videos have been made so far, including “The Fear,” that premiered yesterday, and “Eye of the Storm” that has garnered over 125,000 views on YouTube. (Both videos are posted below). Lovett produces all the videos. Not alone, but collaboratively as the way most things in the Lovett world are made. He has the final word on everything, but as he also stars in all the videos, he acknowledges that he can’t be in the mini-film and behind the camera at the same time.

The videos thus far are very much separate entities, each made with a different director, with different crew members, and shot in different cities. Lovett, the person, not the band, was the only constant. His band evolves as much as everything else. Swelling to 30 members during some shows and down to a svelte dozen during SXSW. During our talk yesterday, he compared the video project to a Dali painting, where you can study the individual elements in the work, but only when you step back — say to 30,000 feet — can you see how the pieces work together. Based on the videos created so far, it is an exciting prospect as the videos are wildly different stylistically. “The Fear” is a heart swelling joyous affair, while “Eye of the Storm” is a lush steampunk slow jam.

The video project is a labor of love for everyone involved. Lovett has paid for everything out of pocket, but not a dime has changed hands to the directors or crew, not even for “Eye of the Storm,” a stunning video with eye-popping effects. Lovett explains the extraordinary contributions of the directors and crew as simply that “people underestimate how much people want to make stuff.” The videos are created during the crew’s free time, which obviously can slow production. As the project gains momentum other people join in because they saw that things were actually getting finished. Now, after three completed videos and with several more underway, the only way to share what they have been working on is to finish it. Lovett just has to come up with the money. He’s used to this though. While crafting his album, he had to stop playing to go make money to continue. During the recording, he scored three movies and produced two other albums just to pay the bills. Speaking of which, perhaps you should head to iTunes and purchase Highway Collection now?

Yesterday Lovett premiered their latest work, “The Fear”, which is billed as a collaboration between Lovett and the City of Atlanta due to the contributions of the citizens of the city. Director David Bruckner’s vision for the video involved a lot of people. Like, 400 people. Since they had no money to pay extras, they reached out to every arts community in Atlanta (via social media and old school fliers) with a request that people show up in costumes that represented all aspects of society. What resulted was the biggest Come As You Are Party in Atlanta with volunteers ranging from members of the Atlanta ballet, a stunt team, a barber, an improv group, to a hair salon that brought all the shop girls to the film shoot. The process was total mayhem, according to Lovett, but mayhem doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. Especially with family, friends, and a healthy dose of chaos in the mix and the ability to massage the whole thing post-production. In a few short takes, the video was made. With no further ado, here’s “The Fear”:

THE FEAR from Lovett on Vimeo.

Here’s the densely atmospheric “Eye of the Storm,” directed by Christopher Alender, which you can’t help but notice is wildly different from “The Fear”:

Finally, here’s “Heartattack”:

You can download Lovett’s track “The Fear” for free here, but wouldn’t you rather buy the album, and let the hardest working man in music, take a breather?:

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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