Dig, if you will, a picture of two dozen audio/visual nerds scurrying around an unnervingly outdated church nestled just off 94W on the cusp of the West Bank of Minneapolis. The outside of the building is painted with a giant portrait of Jesus Christ, hands outstretched, underneath the bold script that reads "Love Power." It's a garishly painted building that thousands upon thousands of Minnesotans have driven past forever, yet never really thought much about.
[jump] In the front of the church's sanctuary, Bon Iver drummer and burgeoning solo artist S. Carey is assembling his band and their gear on a small stage while a crew of eager technical wizards test out bright beams of light, rig sound equipment, and mount a camera on a giant dolly poised to roll up and down the middle of the room.
Each and every person in the room seems to have a distinct, unspoken purpose. The volunteer videographers greet one another knowingly, shaking hands and hugging. An elderly church caretaker looms on the sidelines, watching nervously as unholy, persistent feedback from an untended microphone shakes the walls of the stuccoed building. And producer Dan Huiting paces around the middle of the room, quietly doling out tasks and calming the frenzy, commanding the room with a patient smile and unassuming candor.
For those who've never had the chance to watch a music video being made, observing the MPLS.TV crew as they tape a City of Music video is astounding. All told there were 10 cameramen on hand for the S. Carey shoot, each of whom lugged their own equipment to the shoot and each of whom invested their time and skills to the cause for little more than the knowledge that they had the chance to be a part of something undeniably thrilling.
Of course, I'm biased. It's been a little over a year since MPLS.TV approached me to ask if I might post their first music video, explaining that they had this idea called "City of Music" and they wanted to see if it might work. Since then, this blog has become a sponsor of City of Music and the video series has developed into a weekly event and become one of the most popular features produced by MPLS.TV. By my count, the crew have turned in 39 City of Music videos so far, making their S. Carey video the 40th video to debut right here on Gimme Noise.
So yes. I'm invested. But it also occurred to me while watching the controlled chaos of this week's taping that even those of us who adore these City of Music videos and watch them week in and week out have no idea what goes into putting just one installment together. MPLS.TV isn't just a group of people. It's a teeming, swelling, swirling collective that gathers at all hours of the day and night to learn, share, create, and make something big.
It's inspiring, and you should know about it. Consider yourself warned.
Here are some behind-the-scenes shots from this week's taping by Dajana Bartulovic. Come back Monday morning for the debut of the City of Music video featuring S. Carey.