By Michael Lello
Matt Mang, bassist for The Great Party, said the band wanted to do something different for the release show for the group’s “Hecho En Mexico” video. It’s safe to say the band will accomplish that goal.
On Saturday, Sept. 28 at TwentyFiveEight Productions in Scranton, not only will the band perform and screen the video, but there will also be a performance by A Fire With Friends, videos from other acts, face painting, food by Eden A Vegan Café and crafts by Alchemy Home Company, including a custom scent created for the event called Sugar Skull.
“It started with the fact that we produced the video and we’re having this show as part of a Lackawanna County grant, and one of the stipulations of the grant was to have a public premiere,” Mang said during a recent interview at The Bog, where an event afterparty will be held. “We wanted to have something that sort of educated the public as well, as to what the song is about, which the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday. So that was the groundwork for it. We just figured the more people we got involved, the more companies we got involved or other artists, just the more we could get the community involved, and more recognition that way.
“So we started asking, first we wanted another band, so we have A Fire With Friends playing, and we just wanted it to be different. People show up, they’re not just getting bands playing and buying a CD, there’s just lots of different things to offer. We just want to make it an experience, not just us playing.”
The Great Party — Michael Eastman, Rosaleen Eastman, Michael Nordberg, Matt Thomas and Mang – filmed the video primarily at Thomas’ residence in Clarks Summit. Zac Stuart-Pontier, who filmed the band’s previous video for the song “Teresa,” which Highway 81 Revisited debuted last year, was again at the helm.
“It’s not as silly (as Teresa), not that it’s very serious either,” Mang said of the “Hecho En Mexico” video. “We definitely wanted to get the Day of the Dead imagery in that, so there’s certainly tons of that. Everyone’s in face paint the whole time, lots of smoke bombs were used, there’s coffins and graves. It’s a lot of fun, there’s dancing, digging graves, just a lot of interesting visuals in it.”
Like the event itself, the idea is to do something different and make people notice.
“I think it’s tough to grab people’s attention these days,” said Mang. “There’s so much out there on the Internet, you need something to really get them to not just pay attention, but sometimes you put something up on Bandcamp or Soundcloud, which just has streaming, people will listen to their song, but maybe they’ll just listen to the first 10 seconds, 20 seconds. When you have a video associated with it, you’re more apt to sit there and watch the whole video and therefore listen to the whole song and maybe have a chance of liking it more.
“I can name countless songs where I saw it as a music video first and I really loved the music video, and I liked the song, and then I go get the song, and I don’t like it as much when I’m not watching the video with it,” he added with a laugh. “So videos definitely add a nice dimension to it.”
The band’s upbeat synth pop sound is tough to pin down, and is the product of the individual members’ musical backgrounds; Nordberg played with The Sw!ms, while Mang was a part of The Reigning Toads. There is, however, common ground amongst the different players, Mang explained.
“A lot of it I think comes out in our music,” he said, adding that he hopes to have a new Great Party full-length album out, possibly by the end of the year. “A lot of us have a fondness for Brit rock, Blur or Pulp or bands like that. We all like silly stuff, everyone has a great sense of humor, so we find a lot of common ground just on that. We like quirky things. We’re all into doing something different. If anything, we always want our music to stand out as different. So we have that kind of goal, that kind of fun but we don’t want to retread ground that other people have already gone over.”