Behind The Scenes With Ben: VideoSong with Pomplamoose & Nick Hornby | The Official Ben Folds Site


Aug 30, 2010

Hi all,
Here's the videosong with Pomplamoose and Nick Hornby:

If you don't know Pomplamoose then scout around their YouTube channel and you'll see what they do.
I think their patented "VideoSong" format is brilliant and the more you see it the more it sinks in.  All tracks and overdubs are recorded  on video and audio simultaneously.  Their rule is literally that anything you hear will be seen at some point.  During all edits video and audio remain locked so that for instance, if you punch into a vocal track three times in one line and you were showing the vocal, you would see it jump those three times.  It rewards your intuition and finally gives multitrack recording a visual human element.  It also effects the way one arranges because you tend to arrange visually - while you might be capable of stacking 100 instruments technically and mix them all in the background, you'll lean towards keeping it simple enough to scan visually.  That's actually very musical.  So yay to Jack and Nataly for inventing this.
We recorded together for two days at the end of June - the song was written and intended for VideoSong format and I never once considered listening to it without the video although you can of course do it that way, and its on iTunes.   On the second day of recording, Jack, Fleur and I went into town for lunch and got a call from Nataly that a massive fire was approaching their house so we rushed back and grabbed their valuables and put them in cars.  We then stood around breathing smoke and watching helicopters put the fire out as we took pictures.  It did come close, very close but the firefighters kept it from their house and their neighbors.  Lucky.  We lost a lot of time that day but came in super early before our flight to finish the song.
Days later in London I sat Nick down with laptop in the middle of doing press for "Lonely Avenue".  He reeled of some thoughts he'd written.  His job was to report on the things he thought.  Its surprisingly mathematical verse isn't it?  He also had a verse about how he was going to kill his children's cat if it walked over the computer but obviously cat killers aren't welcome on YouTube (yet). 
Here are the verses that had to be cut (lest the song be 6 minutes long)
"I’ll tell you what they should do to improve women’s soccer: lower the crossbar. It’s obvious! No female goalkeeper is six feet six! So in the women’s game, balls keep sailing over the keeper’s head. Makes them look amateurish. Drop the crossbar by six inches."
"If this stupid kitten walks over the keyboard of my laptop again, I swear I’m going to put her in a bag with a couple of bricks and drop her in the Thames. I’m not even joking. And I’d tell the kids she’d run away, like the last one. The last one actually did run away. He added hastily."
I sent Nick's audio/video to Jack and he placed it appropriately into the song and we discussed mix things over the phone.  Nataly knocked out the video edit and boom, we're done.  I'm very proud of it and think its really exciting that I'm around in an era that music can be made in this way.  I'm going to tear up now... excuse me. 
I plan to drag Pomplamoose onstage to do some shows on the West Coast next year.
To be clear!  "Things You Think" is not on the album.  I know its all weird timing but I hope nobody gets the wrong idea.  The album is not spoken word and in fact, Nick's voice isn't on the album either.  Nick wrote the lyrics for the album, sent them to me, and I made music for it.  The VideoSong is a totally different thing.
Click HERE to view a picture journal.


B. Folds


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