While the main character of the Epilogues' new video for "The Fallout" might or might not be undead, the song itself certainly is. Originally written five years ago, the single was killed for aesthetic reasons, resuscitated through new writing, incorporated into a music video more than a year ago and then slain again -- this time by major-label drama. If we're counting correctly, that puts "The Fallout" in its third life, and this time, it's backed by charm -- the creepy kind.
Despite writing the eerie, swollen ballad in 2008, the local quartet had played it live only a handful of times by December 2010. Unhappy with its early melody, the guys dismissed it, sat on it and then forgot about it for almost four years, until a change of heart encouraged them to change almost everything but the lyrics; those stayed. Inspired by vocalist Chris Heckman's ex-girlfriends, the song chronicles the knowledge that a relationship is ending without the foresight to know what that means -- yet. "I feel like that's where a lot of our lyrics come from," drummer Jason Hoke says. "We've all felt the same thing."
Even before "The Fallout" entered heavy rotation on KTCL 93.3 (and earned vigorous praise from Nerf himself), the band had launched the collaboration for a music video. In December 2010, the Epilogues partnered for a second time with Dillon Novak, a local director who volunteered his services for the group's "Hunting Season" video and made an immediate impression. For "The Fallout," Novak focused on the song's title, reimagining the metaphor into a cryptic, potentially post-apocalyptic representation of a society slowly ending. In doing so, he played on the band's passion for zombie movies -- 28 Days Later in particular.
So, deep into the winter of 2010, four musicians and roughly fifteen crew members gathered in the snow outside a vacant house Novak had scouted east of Pueblo in Ordway, Colorado. "There's no reason anyone should know where that is," Hoke jokes. "It has two prisons and one main street." But the house itself had personality. Tucked into the nooks and crevices of its dilapidated rooms was enough old furniture and ephemera (and "four inches of black mold under a mattress") to indicate a global state of frenzied disrepair. The band added only candlesticks, and Colorado Springs actress Valeri Kimbro provided the majority of the remaining drama.
Throughout the scene, the pale, panicked actress flees through the winter war zone from an unknown enemy while suffering the quickly developing symptoms of a body-quaking ailment. The video finds foundation in panted breaths, heavy footsteps and powerful vocals, and by the time Kimbro spews blood and oozes black liquid, her pursuers have no idea what they're in for. (We won't tell you, either, but know this: It's badass.)
"Artistically, everything is super-crisp, especially for a music video," Hoke says, "and I'm a sucker for the zombie horror-movie thing. This video was more about creating a fun video for us than appealing to the masses. We honestly weren't sure how everyone was going to react, but we like the image we've created to pair with the emotion."
Cut to: After a few months of editing, Novak finished the video in March 2011, but an apparently forthcoming contract with a Sony subsidiary (not to be confused with Greater Than Collective, which recently signed a distribution deal with Sony RED) placed all of the band's projects on ice for an extended wait. With ninety percent of the work complete, the label lost all its funding, and the Epilogues lost the deal. "So we just decided to screw the waiting," Hoke says. "The end of last year was kind of the turning point for us: We realized we're not going to sit here and play the label game, and if it works out, then great. Otherwise, we're doing this on our own." In this case, the fallout's not so bad.
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