Santa Rosa trio the New Trust has released a stunning video for “Marigolds,” a song from their forthcoming fifth album, Keep Dreaming. The entire thing is one long, time-lapse shot of flowers sprouting, growing, blooming and then dying. Below, guitarist and photographer Sara Sanger describes the process of making the video, the challenges of photographing plants and why her sister probably now hates both flowers and photography.
How long did this take to shoot, start to finish?
I started the photography in early November, and finished in March. Almost four months.
What was your setup and process?
I searched seed catalogs for dwarf variety marigolds, as most grow almost 12-18 inches tall and that wasn’t going to work out. I ended up planting a few varieties that I found that grew under 8 inches tall.
I started with a shallow Tupperware storage box, added some drip/soaker tubing underneath the soil, with a tube to get water under the dirt, as opposed to on top. I used a good tripod, a constant source of power for my camera (plugged in direct, battery wouldn’t last more than a half day), and an intervalumeter that was set to take a photo every 10 minutes.
Once the files were done, I found out that Photoshop CS6 has some pretty good basic movie editing capabilities. I was pleasantly surprised by the way that the growth and movement of the flowers moves along with the song pretty well. I had visualized that it might work out, but I don’t have any experience with time-lapse so I really didn’t know. I did not know that plants moved as much as they do, and was really happy to find a lot more motion than I had ever expected.
I shot about twice the amount of frames than I needed. Our song is 3:40, or 220 seconds, so for a standard 30 frames per second I needed 6,600 frames total. I was lucky I had shot more than I needed, since I have found the antique electricity in my house fluctuates pretty wildly—I had to sit and edit out frames that appeared to have less light or more light. Those few days staring at these flowers was hallucination-inducing.
Imagine my absolute shock when the other night, coinciding perfectly with my article this week in the Bohemian about why I still make tapes, this collection of cassettes arrived wrapped up on my front porch, like an abandoned child in swaddling clothes:
No way! Now that’s some incredibly in-depth joke, I thought, figuring that someone had spent hours making fake cassette artwork for five local bands: The New Trust, Not To Reason Why, the Velvet Teen, Polar Bears, and my own band, Santiago. But it just got even more insane when I opened the cases.
That’s right: these are actual manufactured cassettes!
My jaw dropped. Yes, these are complete albums on tape, and what’s more, the Warner Bros. style sheet for cassettes is adhered to down to the tiniest detail in the artwork: the black-bar cover, the block font on the spine, the timestamp on either side of the shell, the Dolby logo everywhere. Unbelievable. There are liner notes inside, and the catalog numbers even reference the old “-4” suffix, applicable to cassettes.
It’s like something I never thought I’d ever see. Holding something in your hand that surely couldn’t exist. Like a hallucination come true. Like the most retardedly beautiful Christmas present ever.
I called the usual suspects, Josh Drake and Josh Staples, and they proudly admitted to the feat. Those guys have done some absolutely stupid, bonkers-ass, unnecessary bullshit in their time, but this is by far my favorite thing they’ve pulled off. How did they do it? It turns out that there’s a place in Petaluma, Kaba Audio, that still takes orders for cassettes. Totally crazy.
I’ve been assured that there’s only 100 copies of these cassettes out there, which considering the demand for cassettes these days is probably about 97 copies too many. They come packaged in a $10 5-Pack, boasting “Now With Compromised Fidelity!” Those wanting in on this extremely short run can find it at the Last Record Store in Santa Rosa.
I got an overwhelming response to the article on cassette tapes, incidentally, which proves that you can’t kill a medium that’s been a part of people’s lives for decades. I even got some phone calls from people who rattled their cassettes into the phone, proving that they, too, still love tapes. The sad thing is that there’s still a market for cassettes (anyone who works at a record store can attest to repeated inquiries for tapes), but it’s just not profitable for the already-fledgling record companies.
The last actual manufactured cassette I saw domestically from a major label was Common’s Be, issued with a stock font, a chintzy black-and-white spine and no j-card at all. The last actual manufactured cassette I bought, though, was Green Day’s American Idiot, with a full-color fold-out j-card and official Warner Bros. packaging. It came from a seller in Malaysia, where cassettes are still relevant and where major labels actually order legitimate pressings of tapes there. Recently, they’ve made Metallica’s Death Magnetic, Kanye West’s The College Dropout, Weezer’s Make Believe, Against Me’s New Wave, and many, many more titles on cassette in Malaysia, all in short runs of about 200 or so.
The best way to find Malaysian titles on cassette is on eBay; type “Malaysia” into a cassette search and hundreds of titles pop up. There’s a long and strange dissection of complex Malaysian copyright laws here that might shed some light on why Malaysia is the dominant producer of new cassettes. And some incredible-looking Malaysian cassette manufacturing equipment is for sale here, which hopefully does not spell the end of cassettes entirely. Here’s a sample image of how they do it in Malaysia:
The New Trust.
The place is looking good, folks.
Mad props to Ephriam Nagler, for making it sound way better than ever, and to Jayshree, for holdin’ it down.
I’d fully planned to write about the New Trust Record Release show last week, where instead of playing their own material, the New Trust wrangled a handful of local bands to cover their songs. It was a bold idea which turned out to be one of the most unique and interesting record release shows seen around here in a long time. No surprise, really, since the New Trust is known for bold and unique measures—like, oh, say, stealing their best friend’s bass guitar and then writing a song to apologize about it. No shit.
But one thing led to another. Suffice it to say, everyone I saw was not only fantastic; the whole evening made me realize for the trillionth time how music binds people of seemingly disparate groups together—even a local band like the New Trust, who has obviously had an impact on more than just their own friends. Take, for example, the opening performers, James Ryall and Robert McLean, who everybody was talking about at the end of the night.
With just two songs, “This Invitation Has Meant the World to Me” and “The Body and the Brain,” these unknown dudes showed up in suits and ties and killed it. Throwing out the usual approach, they boiled down the former song to a landscape of sparse guitar riffs, making Robert McLean a shoo-in for second guitarist should the New Trust ever need one again; the latter’s sailing celestial vocals solidified the suspicion that if Josh Staples is ever done off by hit men, James Ryall could easily fill his shoes in the absurdly upper-register requirements for the job of New Trust singer.
Everyone was agog, and rightly so. Who the hell were these guys?
I went to the Phoenix Theater last night to find out. There’s not much that’s more refreshing to me than going to the Phoenix on a night when there’s six new bands playing. Most of my friends are jaded about this stuff, but man, I love it. Brand-new effects pedals just out of their boxes, moms in the crowd filming, awkward announcements about the exact URLs of MySpace pages. New spirit. New sounds. New blood to fuel our future heart.
Horizons headlined this lineup, and even though there were only about 50 or so people still around at 11:30pm, the band repeatedly expressed genuine surprise at the size of the crowd. As such, they played their guts out, even though James’ vocal chords were allegedly shot; he sucked on a plastic-bear bottle of honey between every song to salve his throat, prompting one audience member to quip that he’s “going to be shitting bees tomorrow.”
But his singing was great, and the band occupied this weird area between the Mars Volta and Muse. Parts of songs would flow together for no reasonable purpose, but then by the end, the arrangement would somehow make sense. All three members moved and swayed along to prerecorded electronic beats, or sang off-mic in a tagged-on coda, all the while playing music that could be easily suspected, it must be said, to have been made under the hazy influence of the reef.
The Bunker played in the lobby beforehand, who apparently are good friends with Horizons but have a way different style. Incredibly tight, pensive pop songs played amongst Christmas lights, a dance-club light ball and a fog machine. The singer Spike has that deceptively plain kind of voice reminiscent of John Darnielle, and the drummer Sam—it was his second show—could easily get a side job playing in a jazz combo.
But it was the Bunker’s songs that were the highlight; just really well-written jams from a talented mind. (Sample lyric: “It’s a quick draw, where I drew too fast and far too soon / I’m going crazy, but don’t mind me, ‘cause tonight it’s a full moon.”) Good shit; let’s hope there’s more where they came from.
Coming Full Circle: a quick jaunt over to the Bunker’s site reveals a cover song: “Holy Wars,” by—you guessed it—the New Trust.
Details: Robert McLean isn’t in Horizons; he actually played in the band In Diana Jones, who broke up. You can download both the In Diana Jones EP and the Horizons EP for free by visiting this site: This Is Our EP.