Atlas / Battles / Tim Saccenti / 2007
The “Atlas” video was part of a long campaign we had for the album. I had photographed the press shots and got along with the band. They had decided to call the album Mirrored; on my own, I had been working with two-way mirrors, so there was some luck and synchronicity there. We actually built a miniature mirror box and photographed the “Atlas” single artwork in it first, which I used to flesh out the idea. It was sort of a test for the album cover and video, which would be the band’s equipment in this large mirrored box. Dave Konopka, the bassist, is a great designer, so he and I collaborated on the look and feel of things. It was again an organic process. We had the luxury of time to work it out which is rare. They were very involved in the shoot production as far as the set, with Dave’s brother production designing and the band themselves actually putting it together. My thought was that it was influenced by the loops and mathematical approach to their music, as well as their emphasis on performance. They actually are playing live; everything’s plugged in and during the edit, we made sure that each note in the track that was seen on screen was being played correctly. It was a complex production. ➡︎
I think it’s a testament to the song that it holds up so well. It’s a bit out of time. When I heard the song, which was about 4 hours after it was recorded, a lightbulb went off and I became obsessed with it. It has a magical place in the time between indie/dance/electronic/psychedelia that was unique to that period. So that was the first part that went right! I think the key was that it didn’t try to be something it wasn’t. It’s really a simple performance video with a twist, where we didn’t interfere too much with ego driven concept or effects.
The expectations were also a bit different then, it wasn’t long ago but conceptually it was still early in the Youtube days, so there wasn’t as much pressure to make something completely viral that would make the band famous. That lack of pressure created a space that allowed the piece to become what it was. After this time period the demands were much more ambitious in scope… also fun but difficult to create a minimalist piece like this. But the raw connection to seeing a band perform, it’s so compelling, and they are an amazing live band and they were playing live in the cube. It was incredibly loud! After this period many of the acts we worked with were less visceral with their playing so we had to design concepts that were more atmospheric around them. A very different approach, which I also love. ➡︎