The Video Explained: The Shacks - 'Strange Boy' (Video)

We speak to The Shacks (Shannon Wise, and Max Shrager) and director/ record producer Leon Michels of El Michels Affair  about the visuals for their collaboration, 'Strange Boy'.
'Strange Boy' features a fuzzed out, heavy backing track with doo-wop background vocals which create a peculiar, but perfect bed for Shannon’s dead pan celebration of her 'Strange Boy', of whom she would gladly “drink the kool aid from his cup”.

'Strange Boy' Explained:
Where was the video filmed?
Leon: The video was mostly filmed in and around Max’s apartment in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn which also doubles as a recording studio.
The shots of me playing guitar were filmed inside a soundproof booth that I built in the middle of my apartment with Shannon's dad. It's where we record drums and vocals for a lot of our songs

How does the video compliment the song (if at all)?
Leon: I think the video captures the same voyeuristic mood and unaffected tone that Shannon sings the song with.  It’s also stylistically pastiche, much like the music of The Shacks. I thought the the found home footage worked really well with the music, especially the super 8 clips of the kid in the ghost outfit.Max:  I always like when a music video helps me go with the flow of a song, rather than distracting me from it. Shannon's performance scenes have that effect, drawing me in to the music and the emotion of the song.Shannon: The video goes along with the strange theme. The green spotlight was supposed to be spooky and eerie.

Any behind the scenes stories?
 We went into it with basically no plan.  It was shot in about 4 hours except for the spot lit shots of Shannon, which were filmed another day. The flames behind her head in the second verse come from a strange gas wall-mounted heater in Max’s apartment that ended up looking like a really cool effect.   It was so hot it singed Shannon’s eyelashes.
Shannon: We filmed the video a few weeks before Halloween, and I remember feeling super in to the spookiness of the video. When we went outside to film some shots, the moon was bright and full and the wind was blowing leaves around on the ground. That night was very fitting with the vibe of the video.

Tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used?
The opening shot is old footage of creepy ghost man. Leon found the footage, and it totally went with the halloween/spooky vibe of the video.
Leon: The second day with the green and rose colored spot light really finished the video. Basically, the more Shannon looked like an alien being, the better the video got. I think the lo-fi homemade quality and found home videos also add to the “voyeuristic” quality we were trying to capture.

What is the message the video is trying to convey?Shannon: I'm not sure exactly what message the video conveys, but I think it does a good job of supporting the music without being too distracting. It is kind of a mysterious love story with extraterrestrial energy.

Interview feature by Karla Harris