The night I first watched the video for Grizzly Bear's song "The Knife" I vividly recall thinking that these gentlemen had most likely lost their minds. It was one of the most bizarrely fascinating videos I had ever seen, and I probably watched it 30 times. It was directed by Isaiah Saxon and Seah Hellfritsch of Encyclopedia Pictura . When I caught up with guitarist Daniel Rossen recently I asked him about the filmmakers, and how it all went down.
I was very skeptical of them when they first came around. The ideas that they had before that one were so much more insane. You have no idea. Fucking absurd. It was all this weird symbolism and a lot of really sexual stuff. Initially it was like Ed with a replica of himself on his back and out of the replica of himself is birthed this weird phantom beast that is some kind of monster version of himself. And he like makes out with the monster on the beach and the rest of us were like water nymphs screaming and swimming in circles. It was totally crazy.
And then we were like, “No we don’t want to do that. That’s too insane. I don’t really want to be a water nymph." So we said, “Hey can you tone it down?”, and he was like “Okay cool.” And the next idea was like we were feral children raised by some kind of primate in the forest an there was some kind of tree that we all lived around that was carved down into a phallic penis sort of symbol, and then one of us was forced to fellate the penile tree. It was insane. And I was like, “These guys are just crazy. We can’t do this.”
The desert idea was the most neutral one, where it was just weird and made no sense basically. And it actually turned out amazing. I mean they did it on such a small budget, which was amazing too. It was all green screen. It was so weird because as it ended up it almost looks like a really well done B-movie. Or like an instructional video. Something about it is so bizarre it’s creepy. Just the style of it. Something about the style of it is so bizarre that I can’t even really describe it. I love the way it turned out.
I don’t know if they are ever going to work with us again, b/c I think doing that video kind of launched them into a new realm. I think they're doing Bjork's next video. I’m really excited for them. Feature films are eventually what they want to do. They’re insane, but it could be great.