When it comes to epic rock videos, let's face it — with "Helena" and "The Ghost of You," My Chemical Romance have set the bar pretty high. So when it came time for Thrice to start thinking about the video for the first single off their forthcoming Vheissu, frontman Dustin Kensrue called on an old friend and asked for some insight.
As it turns out Kensrue ended up with a lot more than just insight from My Chemical Romance's Gerard Way. The video treatment for "Image of the Invisible" was actually written by Way, said guitarist Teppei Teranishi, although the concept was Kensrue's — well, sort of. Way and Kensrue, who're longtime friends, worked on the treatment together in between rocking the sun-soaked masses on this summer's Warped Tour (see "Thrice Going Underground — In A Sense — For Enigmatic Vheissu").
"Dustin came up with the real general treatment, and this summer he and Gerard kind of went back and forth and came up with a more concise treatment," Teranishi said.
The video concept was inspired by the song itself. After continually listening to the track, "the treatment just kind of came into my head — the very basic structure of it," said Kensrue, adding that he wanted to devise a clip that "held the energy of the song and that matched the dynamic movements of the song." Directed by Jay Martin (Burning Brides, Eagles of Death Metal), the clip unfolds in a sinister, apocalyptic world in which children are snatched from their homes by a shadow organization of evildoers known as the Watchers. Kensrue and the rest of Thrice portray members of a resistance movement attempting to recover all the stolen youngsters.
The fact that the futuristic clip's a bite on the 1995 film "The City of Lost Children" — in which an evil man named Krank, tormented by his inability to dream, tries to steal the dreams of children he kidnaps — is not entirely coincidental.
"I sat down with Gerard and we brainstormed, and the children being stolen started coming in as a motif, so we started stealing some of the aesthetics from 'The City of Lost Children' — sort of that surreal atmosphere," Kensrue said. "The Watchers and the resistance, that was always in my head, but it got more refined. Gerard was helping me get the details down so it would feel right. It came together after that. We just started honing it until it felt like it was all working."
Thrice fans can expect explosions, revolting and rescue missions from the "Image of the Invisible" video, which will start airing in the coming weeks. Kensrue promises a surprise ending but is mum on the details. We do know that Teranishi gets to flaunt his ninja moves and even breaks a guy's neck; there's also plenty of footage of mobs of menacing henchmen chasing children in their pajamas through dank, smoke-filled drainage pipes.
That fact that Way was willing to lend his creative hand to the video had the whole of Thrice fired up, drummer Riley Breckenridge says.
"We were all really excited to have him be a part of it and contribute to the creative vision of the video," he said. "You look at all the videos My Chem's done, and they're all really cool and cinematic. Gerard has a really interesting way of seeing things. He used to be an artist and do comic books and stuff, and now he's a big movie buff. He had a big role in getting Dustin's vision focused and enhancing the visual elements."
With the "Invisible" shoot out of the way, Thrice can now focus on the October 18 release of Vheissu as well as the October 4 kickoff to the band's upcoming tour with the Bled, Underoath and Veda. They've also got a few tracks set to make their pixilated debut: "Lullaby," a Vheissu B-side, appears on the soundtrack to the video game "Burnout Revenge," while a pair of Minor Threat covers Thrice were asked to tackle, "Seeing Red" and "Screaming at a Wall," appear in the forthcoming Activision release "Tony Hawk's American Wasteland."
But that's not all. Thrice, who will head off to Japan and Australia later this year, are even getting into the sneaker-design business.
"Each of us did a Nike shoe design, and those special-edition sneakers will be auctioned off for charity," bassist Eddie Breckenridge explained. "They'll all have the Thrice logo on them." Sweet.