New Pop Structure: Watch a preview of Air Traffic Controller’s new video for ‘The House’

There’s an old Chris Rock stand-up skit from the late ’90s where the comedian talks about a certain chart-topping pop hit of the time (we won’t name it). Rock sings the chorus, does a dance across the stage, and remarks “That’s a catchy-ass song. That ain’t going nowhere, that’s gonna be out a long time.” That’s kinda how we feel about Air Traffic Controller’s infectious new single “The House,” a catchy-ass song of there ever was one, from one of Boston’s catchiest pop-rock groups. And now the surefire hit, dubbed “The House,” has a video to help tell its engaging story about two families coming together as one.

In advance of the video’s premiere at Air Traffic Controller’s all-ages show Friday night at the Middle East in Cambridge, director and local filmmaker Michael Parks Randa relayed to Vanyaland the inside scoop on the clip, which took about two months to shoot and edit.

“I have always really respected music videos as a legitimate filmmaking art form,” Randa says via email. “I cried once watching Johnny Cash’s video for ‘Hurt’, it’s so emotionally poignant. There are some filmmakers out there like Nabil and James Lees who are pushing the envelope and blurring the line between music video and short film, and it’s really a shame that they’re widely unappreciated. Also, Foo Fighters video for ‘Everlong’ is a true masterpiece — nothing can touch it for me. When Air Traffic Controller reached out to me to direct ‘The House’, I was drawn to the childhood nostalgia in the lyrics. So when I came up with the concept I thought what better way to tap into that than by shooting the entire thing around my hometown and high school with my brother producing it? The band was really a perfect blend of hands on/hands off, helping to wrangle fans to the shoot while also trusting my vision and allowing me to run with my ideas. I tend to obsess over my concepts until I manage to bring them to life, and they allowed me to accomplish that.”

Randa is pleased with the result, and he should be — “The House” video looks like something commissioned by a major label with a massive budget. If, you know, those things still existed. There’s definitely a ’90s-MTV-heydey type of vibe to it.

“The amount of work that goes into making a music video is brutal, frankly,” he adds. “Budgets are small, if not nonexistent, so hiring and paying a crew is rarely an option. Because of that I tend to work with friends, which is the ultimate double edged sword. I always joke (though it’s not a joke) that the success and failures of all of my films are due to the involvement of my friends. One minute they’re selflessly lending a hand on set, and the next they’re blind drunk falling into bonfires. A necessary evil, but in truth I’m really thankful for them.”

While the full video will be screening tomorrow night at the Middle East, watch a preview clip below, with show details on the flyer post-jump…




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