The Mountain Goats are releasing their new album Getting Into Knives on October 23rd. Knives follows other recent Mountain Goats releases like April’s Songs for Pierre Chuvin and 2019’s In League with Dragons, but it has been more than five years since we’ve had a Mountain Goats music video in our lives.
That changes today! Directed by Emmy-nominated David Hollander (Ray Donovan), the music video for “Get Famous” inventively uses custom-made Mountain Goats bobbleheads to tell a story that mirrors John Darnielle’s lyrics about the pitfalls of fame. A group made up of many of Hollywood’s finest crew members shot the video over the course of 4 days during COVID-19, mastering a unique shooting style to accommodate the proportions and “acting challenges” of using bobblehead figurines.
“I met John for tea in Chinatown before his show at East River Park last summer,” Hollander tells Rolling Stone. “He was bouncing out of his shoes with all sorts of ideas, in a really fecund period. Before I went to meet my son Nate for the show, he played me the demo for ‘Get Famous’ on the band’s bus. I love when things are contrapuntal, and this upbeat jaunty song with its middle finger up stuck with me. So when John called over the summer and asked if I’d do the video, it was an easy yes.”
Hollander goes on to explain, “We finally settled on a simple narrative, wrote the script for the video, and then learned a few days later that John and the guys were wisely not coming out to Los Angeles during the Southern California surge,” he said. “We already had a bobblehead that was up to no good in the original script and we came to the conclusion that the bobbleheads would take over completely. Like John, I was nervous about how to gives those weird novelty items human dynamics, but the minute we started to roll the film at 120 fps and then slowed those bop-alongs down to the music’s beats per minute…we all knew that we could depend on them to carry the narrative. Our community of filmmakers all got into the spirit of the project as well, and by the time we stared filming we had assembled an all-star crew. All of this to really say: we’re big Mountain Goats fans and we were thrilled by the prospect of creating a companionate piece to John’s brilliant song.”
John Darnielle adds, “I wasn’t sure if bobbleheads could really capture that level of giddy anxiety, but David’s visions play for keeps – the first time I saw the camera resolve on my bobblehead in a way that made it look like it had changed its expression, I almost fell out of my chair. Proud to have a video this left-field for our dark little song.”
The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle, Matt Douglas, Peter Hughes, and Jon Wurster recorded Getting Into Knives in a single week with local players at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, Tennessee. Cohabitation radiates throughout Getting Into Knives, with many tracks featuring seven or more musicians playing at once.