Have you seen the new DeVotchKa video yet? Talk about the ideal artistic pairing. Directed by Vincent Comparetto, the clip perfectly captures the vibe of the song. I mean he just nailed it. It's like Comparetto climbed into my head and pulled out the exact type of imagery I picture each time I hear the song, "which sounds like the most exquisite spy theme you've ever heard," as I put it not too long ago.
It's not surprising that Nick Urata and company picked Comparetto to produce their latest video -- rather it's more surprising that the two haven't worked together sooner. DeVotchKa, as you know, is one of our town's most prized exports, and Comparetto's a fiercely talented auteur who's directed videos for a litany of Denver's finest acts, everyone from Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, Ian Cooke and VAUX to the Gamits, Planes Mistaken for Stars and Hot IQs.
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Comparetto shot the clip on location with videographer Chris Sessions in various spots around Denver. Although as he explained to NPR's Robin Hilton below, he made a concerted effort to make it look like the video was filmed abroad, astute Denverites will recognize several of the backdrops he used (namely the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield building on 7th and Broadway, the abandoned Gates Factory on Broadway and Mississippi, the I-70 viaducts around the Coliseum).
The video is arguably Comparetto's best and most impressive work to date. Not only did he succeed in making otherwise mundane parts of Denver look far cooler than are, but in bringing one of DeVotchKa's more memorable tunes to life visually, he managed to evoke the tone and texture of Gary Isaac's distinctive, old world photography style, which has become an integral part of DeVotchKa's iconography. Well done, Vin!
NPR All Songs Considered: "When (DeVotchka percussionist) Shawn (King) approached me about doing a video for DeVotchKa, I was really excited, but also really nervous, because I knew when I heard the song 'The Man From San Sebastian,' I was like, 'How am I going to do this in Denver?' But we wrapped our heads around a couple of concepts, and there were definitely a lot of areas we lined up on. It should be black and white, it should look European, it should look modern. I was very happy to make Denver look very unlike America. It doesn't look like I shot this video anywhere near America.
"They (DeVotchKa) have a very thoroughly established look to them. So I didn't want to divert from that. And I love modern Russian art. I love Constructivism and Suprematism, so I wanted to work some of those ideas into the video. You'll see in a lot of the locations there's diagonals and in a lot of the graphic design there's that repetitive form of a diagonal. That comes directly from Russian design.
"We didn't necessarily get permission from the Colorado film board to shoot any of these locations, so it was really like guerrilla style. So we'd just show up with a lot of gear and start shooting on bike paths and in the middle of the road. It was pretty crazy. But we got really lucky. And thank god Denver is one of those towns where if you wake early enough, you can poach some pretty great locations. Immediately, Shawn was like, 'I want there to be a moped chase scene!' And I thought that was really weird. But it makes so much sense now. It was such a great suggestion. It goes with the song really well and adds this climactic scene to the video."