New York, NY — We Didn’t Know, a creative collaboration between Red Car Creative Director Chris Bialkowski and the band RIDDLE to create a “music film,” has just been released online. It’s the first track for the band’s debut album, Notes From The Whiskey, scheduled to be released later this year.
The band, which consists of singer/songwriter RIDDLE (who in another life is Todd Riddle, Executive Creative Director of Fallon Worldwide in Minneapolis) and composer/instrumentalist Gib (a principal at music production company Verite Music), collaborated with Bialkowski and his Red Car team for the past year to create this whimsical and heartfelt story, told through dreamy animation set against the live-action backdrop of the urban landscape of New York.
“There was a time when a band was a singer, a guitar player, a drummer and a bass player, but we wanted to stretch the idea of what a band actually is and collaborate with artists, filmmakers, designers and storytellers to create a new kind of musical experience,” says Riddle. “We wonder whether Notes From The Whiskey is actually a new art form — by having a fictional story take place in real space, with real content.”
The album will be a complete rock opera telling the story of a fictional musician in Los Angeles. Just on the cusp of making it big in the 1980s, lead singer Riddle suffers a nervous breakdown and disappears. He suddenly resurfaces in 2012 and, struck by how dramatically the music industry has changed and how the advent of digital music has destroyed the concept album, he sets out to reclaim his career by launching his own new concept album.
Though Notes From The Whiskey, is mostly hard-driving rock and roll, We Didn’t Know is a decidedly quieter track. The tragic story of a love unrealized is told metaphorically through the impossible romance of a cat and a dog — whose relationship is doomed from the start.
“Projects that conceptually stretch the boundaries of conventional media are always immensely fun to work on,” says Red Car’s Bialkowski. “Collaborating with Riddle was easily one of the most fun projects we’ve worked on in a while. Having an excuse to run around the city and shove the camera into the gritty nooks and crannies of Manhattan at ground-level felt like playtime for our artists here at Red Car.”
“It was a great collaboration,” says the band’s Gib. “We worked closely with Chris, deciding how the characters would look, how they’d move, how the animated story would progress, and how to convey the mood we were trying to capture on film.”
An experiment in lo-fi production, the video was shot almost entirely with the ‘prosumer’ Panasonic GF2 camera and an arsenal of vintage Nikon lenses. Hand-drawn illustrations were then scanned, animated, and composited in After Effects with DufDuf’s Duik tools for IK.