On the set of her latest music video, Danielle Anderson learned to let go. Based on a black-and-white Bonnie-minus-Clyde 1930s heist plot, "Faith in a Man"'s five and a half minutes required the singer-songwriter behind Danielle Ate the Sandwich to look lovely, fake a mob accent, case a joint, act like a badass and, well, "feel like a movie star," as the filmmakers at Synthetic Picturehaus wrote the plot, filmed their vision and did the rest of the heavy lifting. "I've been very bossy and hard to work with because I have these ideas but don't know how to make them happen," says Anderson, who will celebrate her CD release this Sunday, June 10, at the Bluebird Theater. "This is the first time I said, 'I completely trust you.'"
As evidenced by lingo like "fine sweet tomato," "slammer" and "doll face," the video concept has nothing to do with the song itself. Written in fall 2011, "Faith in a Man" was inspired by Anderson's awe and fear of modern construction. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter has traveled with her music for more than six years, but she has yet to grow used to the hazards of doing so -- in particular, the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel that cuts through the mountains on I-70 fifty miles west of Denver.
"I'm sort of full of irrational fears, but I have little flights of them and then try to talk myself out of them," she says. "While driving through there, my thought was, 'Wow, we're all doing this willingly, just driving through a mountain without knowing when this tunnel was last inspected or whether the person who made it is high or drunk.'" She giggles. "So the man I'm referring to in the song is the people or the man who built these magnificent pieces of construction we use every day and have come to trust."
Today, when she passes through trickier terrain, Anderson thinks about her song, not her phobia, but she might soon think about her music video. In May 2011, Anderson partnered once again with the creative team at Synthetic Picturehaus, which also developed the music video for "Where the Good Ones Go." The concept came easily -- to them. "I said it reminded me of something old-timey, like a getaway car," Anderson says, and "that's as much as I contributed to the project."
That was enough. The vintage vibe inspired Synthetic's Ryan Martin and Nick Celentano to cast Anderson as a damsel in dismay -- but not quite distress. When her mystery man is sent to the slammer, Anderson contracts with her former Mafia boss and three hooligans named Roscoe, Bugsy and Malone (played by her bandmates) to "plug the clip joint." The entire production, tiny car-chase scene and all, cost a total of about $1,000, stretched across breakaway beer bottles, fake money, toy tommy guns and other cheap period props. "If anyone saw their stuff and then realized how much money they spent," says Anderson, "they wouldn't believe them."
Anderson, the three other members of Danielle Ate the Sandwich, the two filmmakers and their eighteen extras dressed in borrowed or bought '30s duds, and the crew traveled between cities for various scenes, taking in Golden's Heritage Square, Denver's downtown Walnut Room and an uncle's garage in Arvada, among others.
The video goes hand-in-hand with Danielle Ate the Sandwich's fourth album, Like a King, out today. In its nearly 48 hours on YouTube, the video has earned no dislikes yet and 429 likes, which Anderson jokes is a personal record. In measuring the video against her past releases, Anderson sees it as a sign of her growth, a rise in professionalism and a piece of art she never had before.
And she'd know: She's watched it "at least sixty times, which is a little weird," she admits. "It's great for making people think I'm bigger and more famous than I am, because I've moved forward, but I haven't made it. People aren't saying 'I knew you when,' but it's nice to hear people tell me how much I've grown. And that's just as good."
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