You've recently shot a music video, Breaking Point, with your
band Darkness Visible - so do talk about the video for a bit, what
it is about and the like!
Point is the 9th Darkness Visible video, so I decided to pull
out all the stops and go for broke. This
time I decided to go all the way and not worry about whether something was
going to be too heavy for TV. I
also didn’t put a limit on the budget, so that was pretty much my
savings all gone. The video is
bad taste all the way and stars some of the top indie movie industry
actors of Melbourne, two of the top Burlesque performers (both are in the
top 5 of Queen of Burlesque), two of the top carnie performers (one has a
Guinness book of world records for sword swallowing) and some strange
personalities from the local fetish scene.
I would describe the video as Benny Hill meets Troma, although for
Australia, it fits into the genre of Ozploitation.
How did you all come up with
the visuals for Breaking Point, and did you have a fixed script and
or storyboard you worked from or did you just make things up as you went
was a fixed script. It was
broken down by the co-director, Stewart Fairweather, into the shots, with
the list of cameras, lenses and lights to be needed. We stopped short at storyboarding though, so as to leave some room
for change. All up, there was
over 4 months of pre production and some very dangerous stunts so it
couldn’t have been winged on the day. Everything from costume to make up to props had to be worked out in
advance and we visited the venue a few times to work out the shot list.
script was created over a couple of months too. It started when I met Whitney Duff on the set of
Whitney is one of the stars of The Sheborg Massacre and quite a few
other indie feature films. I
knew that I needed her as the star of my video but needed to know if she
would do the various scenes I was scripting. I was messaging her on Facebook to run ideas past her, and in
thinking back, I am surprised that she never blocked me. She’d get a message like
“would you eat poo in the
video?”, then we would discuss a scene involving giant syringes, anuses
and bucket loads of poo. Next,
she would get a message like “would you jelly wrestle, wearing paisties,
with another girl in a torrent of vomit?” I’m not saying that those particular scenes are in the video, but
the script was eventually put together by cutting and pasting our
conversations. I believe that
the co-director is even going to credit Whitney as one of the writers.
From what I know, at least some of Breaking
Point is quite over-the-top - so do talk about those aspects of your
video for a bit, and was there ever a point where you figured you might be
going too far?
the very first moment I knew I was going too far. In fact, I would never have been able to do this in the past.
I was very much a part of the music industry for the last 8 music
videos but for this one, I had become involved in the local indie movie
industry, and amongst the bigger horror movie people here – there is
just no such thing as too far. So
with all the boundaries removed, it was full steam ahead!
The video for Breaking Point, like
many of Darkness Visible's videos, features quite a few performers
from the carny and burlesque scene - so do talk about your predilection
for performers from that scene for a bit, and what do they bring to the
a very good question. The
first time I had a burlesque performer in one of my videos was in Flesh. At that time, I was running a night called
The Third Degree,
which was a combination of bands, burlesque and carny performers. I’d noticed that the average band video coming out of Melbourne
at the time would have the male singer surrounded by girls, or the female
singer trying to look hot and mysterious. It was boring, repetitive stuff, and it is still common for bands
to do that. I’d been
watching the talent I was booking and was amazed that Melbourne had so
many crazy, talented performers. I
felt that they should be the stars of my videos instead. At the end of the day, if my band ends up being thought of as crap,
I will at least have put in film a record of some of the top underground
performers of Melbourne.
From what I know, you and the band also appear in
front of the camera in Breaking Point - so do talk about your and
your bandmates' performances, and to what extent do you all enjoy doing
videos compared to recording music or performing live?
current line-up of the band is me, Axle Gunn, Kent Ross and Ben Benton. The line ups nowdays are just brought together for a recording and
music video. Axle is mainly
known as an actor so he just loves being in front of the camera. He has been doing movies for so long that he even has his own
section on Fizzy.tv. I met
Kent Ross when he was in the band Catwitch, which was a theatrical horror
rock band, like Darkness Visible. We
were both playing live to the same crowds and the two bands ended up
becoming friends. Kent
didn’t actually make it onto this video or the previous one due to
scheduling conflicts, but he is fine with shows. He conducts the orchestras for a few of the musicals that show in
Melbourne. Ben did his first
stint with the band on this video, so I can’t say how he is with videos,
but I will find out when we have him back on our next one – Masada.
also talk about the video's crew for a bit, and why them?
crew were all chosen by the co-director, Stewart Fairweather. The only exceptions to that were Guy Jukes and Mike Young, who had
done most of the past Darkness Visible videos between them. Fortunately, Stewart had worked with both of them before and kept
them on. Stewart is one of
the hardest workers in the local indie movie industry and has been
involved with many of the local features of the last 6 years or so. It’s best to just look at his
IMDb to get the idea
seems that everyone had worked with him or owed him one, so once he came
in, we ended up with 4 camera crews and around 4 trucks worth of equipment
on loan. Things were so
hectic on that first shoot that I can only pick out Karl Redgen, who was
director on Evil Fred, to mention. He
did the call sheets and kept things running. I was running around so much that day that I was constantly covered
in sweat and out of breath. I
think there was a team of 5 make up artists, a costuming dept, 3 rooms for
filming and a documentary crew in a fourth room – and my assistant
hadn’t arrived, so I just can’t comment on seeing Glen Cook, Jackson
Tipping and the others at work on that day. I have worked with most of them before and since
they are considered skilled enough that some have done their own
interviews on movie shows such as The Magic Box (Pulse FM) and
I can talk about though is the pickups day. There was a scene where Whitney Duff loses consciousness and Darby
Heaysman filmed that by circling around her, backwards, on roller skates. That was one of the rare times I have seen a whole room of people
stop to give a cameraman applause. The
crew were pretty much as big as stars as the people in front of the camera
and it was only by having Stewart Fairweather as the co-director in charge
of crew that attracted such talent. I
just wish I could tell you more about each one, but until that shoot, I
hadn’t realised how much blood, sweat and tears that they put into their
can you tell us about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
on-set atmosphere was fantastic. We
had people mixing in from various scenes that don’t normally cross paths
and they were loving it. Quite
a few had never been in a fetish club before, so it was the first time
they had seen walls full of whips and handcuffs, and equipment such as
stocks for genitals. They
weren’t all sitting around doing nothing and waiting for their scenes
though as there was a booth photographer doing photoshoots for everyone in
one room, a documentary crew doing interviews in another room and a team
of makeup artists. Most made
a lot of new friends, which is normal for the indie movie industry here. Hopefully, this video will be the catalyst to help raise the
bar in a number of related scenes as people start working together on
talked about the video shoot for quite a bit, what can you actually tell
us about the song Breaking Point, and how was it conceived?
song is about someone reaching their breaking point and being about to go
over the edge. I think that
was where I was at when I wrote it. I
was still recovering from cancer and just getting my energy back. It had taken a lot longer than expected and I might have been
depressed. I somehow thought
that no one wanted to work with me anymore and that it was all over. I was wrong, but that was where my head was at the time.
$64-question of course, when and where will the film be released onto the
video is going to be released on YouTube. I’m hoping it will go viral and that can be the catalyst for
future projects. We are
either 2 weeks from it being released, or 6. It’s in post production with animations being put into it and the
animator is either going to get it finished before he goes on holidays for
3 weeks, or it will be finished soon after he gets back.
How did Darkness Visible come
together in the first place?
original line up came together in July 1994 at a gothic nightclub called Apocalypse. It was in the
days when people dressed full on goth and used false names, such as Azrael
or The Dark Lord and actually expected you to believe those were their
real names. In fact, I
didn’t even see most of the people in that first line up without makeup
for over 6 months after the band got together.
had happened was that I was so drunk that I could barely walk. I was fully gothed up and staggering all over the place when a guy
asked me if I was in a band. When
I told him that I wasn’t, he said that was a shame as I looked like I
should be. He then told me he
was doing Australia’s first ever darkwave CD compilation and gave me a
piece of paper about it. When
I finally managed to get up the stairs to the table full of goths I’d
been getting drunk with, I told them about it, expecting them to laugh
their heads off. It seems
everyone at that table fancied themselves as musicians, so I ended up
signing the piece of paper and giving it back to the guy. In sobriety, I realised that I now had to write a song, record it
and get it sent off within a month. Somehow
I did. I’d been in a punk rock band ten years before and had remained
involved in the music industry as a cartoonist that did flyers for bands
and clubs, so I did get a lot of pro help to manage that. The
song went out on Candles and Intrigue, was very popular and the band ended
up getting into Mick Mercer’s book The Hex Files … and so a legend
was born. It was all a case
of being in the right place at the right time.
Do talk about Darkness
Visible's preferred musical style(s) for a bit, and their influences?
original influences for the band were second wave gothic rock bands, such
as Christian Death, Sisters of Mercy and Nosferatu. All being guitar based goth bands.
You can barely hear any of those influences in the latest song
though. Its more like a late
70’s to mid ‘80’s rock song with lots of lead guitar and a bit of
shredding. It’s in a minor
scale but still has that 12 bar blues structure. Basically, you wouldn’t need to be goth to like it – it’s
just a damned good rock song.
are a Darkness Visible-recording session and live performance
respectively usually like?
recording sessions since 2008 have all been professional and done at
Incubator Studios. The ones
before that were chaotic, with members turning up in full goth makeup and
playing up. They were a bit
debauched and I found them to be a nightmare. If that had kept going, we would have run out of recording studios
anyway. The show was also
insane. It was getting too
wild and had to come to an end. The
props would end up all over the stage, we had girls jumping up, ripping
off their tops and pouring the bowls of fake blood all over themselves and
rubbing up and down each other. I
had a wireless system on my bass so that I could get around and was often
getting off the stage and going to the back of the room to play for my own
safety. One of the props was
a chainsaw, which the chain had been take off of, and it burst into flames
on one show because the guitarist refused to put chain oil on it. Basically, the live line up was out of hand and the shows got too
wild to continue. I
couldn’t work with them anymore, especially as I was losing energy while
going through chemotherapy. They
were the real deal rather than actors playing at being crazy, so it was
bound to come to an end eventually. They
were fun shows though and very memorable.
Any future projects, both on
your own and with Darkness Visible?
future plans are to keep recording one song a year and doing a video to
accompany it. The next song
is already half written and the video planned. It’s called Masada and will be a move toward a more stripped
back, punk song. The past
songs were getting very thick with the number of instruments and tracks in
them and the videos were getting way too big. There are indie feature movies that have been produced in Melbourne
with less money that was spent on Breaking Point.
Since this is
a film site, your favourite movies?
I’m allowed to mention local Indie movies, then Tarnation by Daniel
Armstrong and Chocolate, Strawberry, Vanilla by Addison Heath are two of
my favourites. I believe
Tarnation to be the best Ozploitation movie made to date. If we are talking classics, then the original
Dawn of the Dead and
The Exorcist are in my top ten. Both
raised the bar in horror and brought new things to the genre. If we are talking recent, then
Django Unchained would be the most stand out
one. Maybe because I am into
classics and the Sergio Leonie feel of that just got me.
... and of course,
films you really deplore
really are only a few that I deplore. I suppose that it would have to be Eraserhead if I had to mention
one. For some reason, I still
end up watching that one every few years. I can’t stand it but there is something that forces me to go back
and watch it as though there is something I am trying to figure out. It certainly has a vibe to it and draws you in, but it still makes
no sense to me.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your/your band's/your video's
website, Facebook, whatever else?
The Facebook site for Breaking Point, where we will announce when it goes live
The one for Darkness Visible is
And you can find 8 of the past Darkness Visible videos on I Bleed Indie at
Anything else you're
dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
do have a few other movie projects going, but we can chat about them
another time, if you feel that they are of interest. Some are on my IMDb as in pre production
for the interview!