If you were at Bunk Bar last night, you would’ve doubtlessly been impressed by the live premiere of New Move’s video for “It Was No Good,” a single from their early 2016 self-titled debut. The wait between the initial unveiling of a teaser video in late 2015 at Rontoms appears to have been well worth it, considering the quality of the short film.
The song’s focus on betrayed love is filtered through a film noir/comic book hero prism, and stars lead vocalist and guitarist Jesse Bettis, as well as EJ Daniel and Still Caves drummer/vocalist Travis Visscher. Director Joe Bowden—veteran of other great Portland music vids such as the flick for Rio Grands’ “Beverly”—crafts a subversive nod to the dramatic landscapes of the comic and film noir worlds with great aplomb, coaxing a surreal patina thanks to sly lighting cues and a lot of teamwork.
We weren't really trying to make fun of [comic books and film noir] so much as we thought it would be funny to create a world within those genres that was a silly and boneheaded version of those often overtly serious and dramatic worlds. At the center there's a love story full of betrayal that drives the plot, which I basically got straight from the lyrics. We made the video to work on two levels: a gut level where the viewer can watch and get the gist of the double-cross and revenge plot line, but also on another level where someone more interested could watch it a few times and unpack more and more each time. The lighting concept for the video was super important. I wanted to have a lighting theme for each character (e.g., yellow and purple for the villain, blue and white for the hero), and I wanted to hit some of those classic noir concepts: eye light for the femme fatale, smoke in the air, silhouettes that shroud a character’s true nature, symbolism (e.g., the projector shot with the characters falling in love in front of the object that will keep them apart, which is the dumb cliché of the "prized egg").
If all that weren’t enough to unpack, the tune itself is a crisp, vibrant slice of Bettis and company’s feel-good pop grooves, tempered as they are with the slings and arrows of love and confusion. Give the video a view or two (plus watch the story's conclusion in part two) and revel in the marriage of smart songwriting and smart filmmaking all at once.