Some of the best-sounding music was born via anger and dissatisfaction, something which applies aptly to Godeater. The Glasgow, Scotland quintet is ready to share this distaste with you via the recent release of their brand new album, Vespera. The follow-up to 2019’s All Flesh is Grass sees the band taking a more ambitious, aggressive approach to their craft with their recent single “Backwash,” the final installment in their new music video trilogy.
Each video has something profound to say, with “Backwash” building on the themes present in their previous video for “God Complex.” The latter video took a laser-focused aim at those who hold power and influence in the UK, while “Backwash” builds off of these themes.
For our latest Behind The Video interview, we spoke with Godeater guitarist Ross Beagan for a conversation about music videos, including the concept behind the memorable “God Complex” clip and his favourite video of all time.
Do you prefer writing a video around the theme of a song or just going to a warehouse and banging out a live performance?
Ross Beagan: “Live performance in a video has its place, but we really like tapping into the themes of the songs in videos when we can. We’ve done a couple of live performance videos and some hybrid approaches before, but our recent videos for ‘The Hatchet,’ ‘God Complex,’ and ‘Backwash’ have been narrative-driven and heavily guided by the themes of the lyrics and overall concept of our new album Vespera!”
What is your favourite childhood music video, and have you any secret nods to it in your catalogue?
“I didn’t have Sky or access to MTV when I was young, so I wasn’t really able to see music videos unless they came as a bonus when you put a CD into a computer. I remember watching Limp Bizkit’s from Significant Other and The Offspring’s from Americana, though! I don’t think there any secret nods in terms of the videos, but I was obsessed with a Bleeding Through poster set I got from an issue of Kerrang when I was younger, and it heavily influenced the art direction for Vespera, so that’s a nod I guess!”
How important are music videos in terms of increased exposure?
“Music videos are a great way of introducing people to a band and helping to engage fans even further. On the surface, videos are great for showing what a band looks like, showcasing what their performance energy is like and giving a sense of what the band is about. Incorporating more thematic, conceptual, narrative, and cinematic elements into videos can help develop and highlight lyrical ideas and draw people in even further to the band and their material.”
How important a role does social media play in sharing videos and increasing exposure?
“It’s crucial, it’s make or break. Short of playing live and being featured in press, social media is one of the primary mediums for a band to share their music/videos/content, while growing and interacting with their audience.
“Simply making and releasing a video isn’t enough anymore. You need to use social media channels to alert people that the video has been released, tell people where they can watch it, prompt interaction, encourage sharing, and ultimately increase exposure. It’s a long process to grow an audience, especially an active and engaged one, but social media is one of the primary components for this.”
Is YouTube (or ‘online-only’ platforms) a good enough platform by itself to justify creating a music video?
“Yes, but even that has started changing now. Music videos are still important, but video content is now such a huge part of social media that the video almost has to be deconstructed in order to make it worthwhile. You need to create trailers to hype people up, different clips to appeal to and engage different people, behind-the-scenes footage to involve people, memes or even stream live to actively engage with people about your content.
“YouTube/YouTube Shorts, TikTok and even platforms like Twitch are all inherently video-based, so it’s a no-brainer to still create music videos even if the way of delivering them is changing!”
Is a well-made DIY video just as good or beneficial as a professionally-made/directed video?
“A killer video is a killer video, regardless of how it was made or who was involved. There’s nothing to say DIY can’t be professional and still hit a high standard of quality. DIY can potentially give you more room to think outside the box and experiment while also giving you more control of the overall project.”
Who was part of the crew who worked on this video, and how did you put together the team?
“We worked as part of a really small team on our latest videos! Calum McMillan directed and produced the videos for the ‘The Hatchet,’ ‘God Complex,’ and ‘Backwash.’ We’d worked with Calum a couple of times before; he’d shot some live performance footage for us, and we had worked together on the videos for ‘You Are No Exception’ and ‘A Pale Shadow’ back in 2020, so it seemed like a good match to work together again on the videos for Vespera.
“We worked on the concepts internally as a band with our manager before workshopping them with Calum to figure out what was possible, to devise storyboards and lay the foundations for shooting the videos.
“Calum then made arrangements with our actor, Jon Tamburini, and make-up artist, Nikki Docherty, to bring them on board for the project. Jon has a lot of experience with short films and adverts and was excited by the prospect of trying his hand at music videos and Nikki has worked on plenty of music videos before, including recent work from other Scottish bands, including Bleed From Within and Saor!
“Myself and our guitarist Andy were on hand for the shoots to make sure everything ran smoothly and to help out if required. We also ended up shooting quite a lot of behind-the-scenes images and video clips!
Help us to understand the video’s concept in more detail and how it ties into the lyrics.
“The video for ‘God Complex’ is part of an overarching concept, featured in all three of our recent singles. In the video, our character buys an orb which brings them a great sense of calm and relief. The orb starts to become dirty, covered in a thick dark liquid. Our character attempts to clean the orb, but becomes increasingly distraught because it cannot be cleaned. Our character then buries the orb in attempt to hide it and rid himself of its unbearable burden.
“Conceptually, this boils down to the idea that you can put your head in the sand and run away all you want, but there will still be difficult situations to experience, uncomfortable truths to face, difficult conversations to have, and difficult decisions to make.
“This concept is heavily derived from the lyrics of Vespera. On the surface, the album offers a savage critique of our socio-political environment, but it ultimately offers an intimate insight into how we consider our place in this environment, how we can challenge it and how we can move forward as individuals.”
What are some of your favourite music videos ever, and why?
“Limp Bizkit’s ‘Nookie.’ I can take or leave the parts with Fred Durst walking down the street, but the sections with the band playing in the courtyard were so exciting to me when I was younger. The band is so into the performance, and the crowd is absolutely living for it. I don’t think I’d ever really seen anything like it before that, so I was hooked!
“The Black Dahlia Murder’s ‘What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse.’ It’s a pretty standard live/tour video with some funny stuff thrown in, but it captured the band so perfectly. It completely challenged the death metal stereotype, made the band seem relatable, and made everything just seem so energetic and FUN. At the end of the day, playing in a band and being on tour should be a fun and borderline ridiculous experience, and this video sparked that interest in me! It gets bonus points because the graveyard scenes were filmed near Glasgow too!”
High-quality lyric video, live video, cinematic music video… what’s your preferred format and why?
“Personally, I like live and cinematic videos. I can’t really decide which I prefer, but I enjoy watching both, and I do like the idea of bands experimenting and blending multiple styles of video together. I like live video because I think it can really capture the essence and excitement of a band in the live environment, but I also appreciate more cinematic stylings and the room that gives you to play with ideas visually and thematically.
“I will say that I’m not a huge fan of full lyric videos because I often find them too digitized, but I think incorporating snippets of lyrics into a video can be really cool. We did it on one of our older videos for the song ‘You Are No Exception,’ and it turned out really well!”