As you are probably aware by now, on Tuesday night, [artist id=”710356″]Death Cab for Cutie[/artist] managed to pull off their “You Are a Tourist” video — which was shot live, in one continuous take, and broadcast to the entire world via the Internet — without incident.
Although the final product looked effortless, it only came together after a full day of rehearsals in Los Angeles, where Death Cab for Cutie worked (and reworked) the “Tourist” choreography with director Tim Nackashi and a bevy of background dancers. Now that “Tourist” is in the books — and disaster-free — we decided it was time to have DCFC take us through the process of making the clip, live, without a net.
“The idea actually came to us from a friend of ours that’s been a creative collaborator with us over a number of projects over the years, named Aaron Stewart-Ahn,” Death Cab bassist Nick Harmer said. “He basically had a concept for the video and passed it to us, and we were able to go out into the world and find Tim Nackashi to direct and come up with a great treatment. … Really, it’s been a lot of minds all working on the same puzzle, and those two, between Tim and Aaron, deserve all the credit.”
“Honestly,” frontman Ben Gibbard laughed, “we’re just the beneficiaries of all these great ideas.”
As Gibbard explained, the trick to pulling off “Tourist” had a lot to do with the choreography — more specifically, striking a balance between too much and too little of it.
“The balance here is to try to have there be a legitimate amount of choreography involved, but not so much that if one thing goes wrong, the whole thing topples like a house of cards,” he said. “There are some very kind of tight moves throughout the video, but nothing that, you know, if I’m not standing here at this one point, the Rube Goldberg [machine] falls apart and you’re standing there for the next three minutes looking like a moron.”
To that point, DCFC said that though they’d be shooting a video live for the entire world to see, they weren’t nervous in the slightest. Because really, all the hard work was left to Nackashi and Stewart-Ahn. All the guys in the band had to do was hit their marks and everything would, in theory, be OK. As it turns out, it was.
“I feel kind of fine. I mean, we’ve done enough live TV actually performing — and we’re not performing in this video, we’re not playing our instruments, we’re lip-synching — so because there’s no performance element, it doesn’t make me nervous,” Gibbard told MTV News on Monday. “Because really, all I have to do is remember the words that are being played over the P.A. and be standing in the right place at the right time. And there will be enough people kind of getting us to where we need to be that I’m not too nervous yet. But then again, it’s not for 24 hours, so I could maybe wake up tomorrow morning and be a little bit freaked out, but I think we’ll be OK.”