The concept for Greys’ new video for “Guy Picciotto” is simple enough: the Toronto UNCHARTED "loud-rock" band throws an amp off a high-rise building and we watch it fall in slow-mo until, umm, nothing actually. The guerilla execution, though… far from simple.
Director Amanda Fotes explains in a Facebook chat exchange (yeah, we’re on those terms – this is a pretty Toronto-y video):
We had a couple leads on locations that fell through at the last possible moment – actual seconds before we threw the amp off the roof – so we had to scramble a little to find another building that was high enough and isolated enough to throw a couple amps off of without being spotted. The guys broke into this abandoned building downtown by bashing the door handle off with a rock to make sure we could get into it the next day.
We just did it. We picked a building, broke in, ran to the top and threw this amp off the roof. I fell down a flight of stairs that day trying to get out without being seen and I think the guys launched the amp and made it out before the thing even hit the ground. We were really worried we were going to get caught.
We were lucky in that the area surrounding the building is fenced off. We picked a side where there was no sidewalk. We had another guy on the ground with me watching to make sure nobody was walking or driving by. A car actually camped out on the street after we broke in and we thought he was going to call the cops. Some guy approached me when I was setting up the camera and asked what we were doing and I thought HE was a cop, but he was just a fellow filmmaker scouting locations.
The concept came from the band, says lead singer Shehzaad Jiwani in an email.
We've had this idea since we formed the band, actually. It just never seemed feasible. We were mainly concerned about accidentally killing someone. For us, the video satisfies two sides of our brains. On the one hand, it fucks with your expectations and exploits your attention span, and then doesn't deliver any catharsis at the end, which to us is hilarious. So there's that sort of meta-commentary thing, which satisfies our arty, pretentious side. On the other hand, we got to throw a Marshall cab off a building, which rules. That satisfies our wanting to smash stuff side.
For Fotes, the video can be deemed a success if it fulfills just one requirement.
“If someone tells me this video pissed them off, or that they hated it because it’s frustrating, I would consider it a huge success,” she says. “I just want someone to tell me they hate it.”
Sorry Amanda, not going to be me.