Photo: Jen Dessigner courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR
Photo: Jen Dessigner courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR

DC Post-Punk Trio Flasher Dishes on Making “Material”

Do you remember that video your older, horrible friends showed you of a car driving through what might as well be the Shire? Soft flute music plays and then out of nowhere you shit your pants.

That video and the rest of the YouTube “k-hole” will come back to you when you watch the video for DC post-punk trio Flasher’sMaterial,” one of the tracks off of their debut album, Constant Image.

The video features the same kind of everything-under-the-sun content you find when go down the YouTube k-hole, from a cappella and conspiracy videos to Adult Swim and Dr. Pimple Popper videos.

The video’s been remarked upon by a few outlets, like NPR and Rolling Stone, but none of the clips actually feature the band, so I called them up to talk about it as they were heading to Madrid. I chatted with Emma and Danny of the trio, and learned that the video-making process isn’t what I thought it’d be, that I wish we were friends and that they have a special release available only at their upcoming Black Cat show on November 30.

The video-making process demystified was actually somewhat straight-forward and obvious. The band’s label, Domino Record, gave them a list of potential directors and then they choose a few they like, and, from there, directors send them treatments.

Flasher chose director Nick Roney, who then sent the band a treatment of his video for “Material.” They found the idea intriguing, plus stopping to shoot in LA worked well with their touring schedule. It was on their drive to the shoot that Emma and Danny realized that the music video was going to be great.

“We got on the phone with him,” Danny says, “and he almost shot-for-shot walked us through it.” That clear storyboarding allowed the band to shoot the video in just two days.

“He has a vision,” Danny adds. “What was such a really manic, disparate idea was ingrained in his head.”

When asked what they like best about the video, they mention the nostalgia it evokes for sites like eBaum’s World. When I tell them that I’ve never had any firsthand experience with eBaum’s World, I’m met with incredulity:

“Whoa, whoa, wait,” Danny says, pausing over the phone. “Our references are going over your head. How old are you?”

I’m 24. So sorry, dear.

He compares the video to a pre-hyper-curated YouTube, when a related video really could lead you any which way, if somehow also always to Tycho.

“It took us back to a time when internet videos were a lot more diffuse, videos weren’t quite content but experiences.”

For single moments from the video though, Emma and Danny both mention the culty student film scene for the art shown in it, and the scene of the couple driving in the sun, which we could never imagine as a shot in DC.

After Flasher returns from the European tour, the group will kick off their U.S. tour November 30 at Black Cat. Public Practice and Gong Gong Gong both open for them and will join them for the entire tour. To commemorate the night, look for a flexiglass disc of original music which will only be available at the show.

“It’s going to be a night with bands we really love,” Danny says. “We wanted to consecrate it with a release so we can feel accomplished.”

The music will be more electronic and won’t be available beyond the merch table. “It’s for flashers-only,” Danny says with a laugh.

Welcome these clever, fun, post-punk bbs back home when they play Black Cat on November 30. Don’t miss secret merch and sweet openers either. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. To learn more about Flasher, go to www.flasherdc.bandcamp.com. Watch “Material” here

Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

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Michael Loria

Michael Loria is a writer who focuses on art and music. For On Tap, his work includes a cover story on the Principal Conductor and Music Director of the National Symphony Orchestra, Gianandrea Noseda, for the December 2017 print edition, and features like his interviews with Carla Bruni and with Thievery Corporation. Collectively, he's penned more than 40 clips for the magazine.