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Fly Golden Eagle: 'Stepping Stone'

The members of Fly Golden Eagle, in a scene from their new video for the song "Stepping Stone." (Courtesy of the artist)

Making music in a band is always and experiment. The players throw different elements into the enzymatic mix, let it all bubble together, and come up with a new compound every time. Recording these interactions for something as self-promotional as a music video can feel intrusive, like freezing something volatile. But a creative team can have fun with this awkward encounter.

Fly Golden Eagle is one of Nashville's most dynamic young rock bands. Joshua Shoemaker is one of the town's most sought-after filmmakers. Their latest collaboration puts a scientific spin on the video-making process – Shoemaker actually appears among the crew wearing pseudo-Hazmat suits as singer-songwriter Ben Trimble and the rest of the band impassively smash through the bluesy, brawling "Stepping Stone," from Fly Golden Eagle's new album Quartz Bijou.

Shoemaker thought of the suits before America's current wave of virus-panic took hold; the video's commentary on today's news is coincidental. "We wanted to pull the curtain back on this video and use the production as part of the aesthetic, but for all the crew to remain as anonymous as possible," Shoemaker explained in an email. "The idea was that we were exposing a bigger picture- a band performing a song with a crew producing a video because of the necessity for media and how that can overlap or hinder artistic expression. I think it's most explicit in the shot where we see me pushing the dolly in front of the vocal shot as Ben sings, 'Me and my friends do whatever the f-- we gotta do to get paid.' It was important for Ben to look in the camera and address the viewer the whole time. We could have made this a 'music video,' but it was also important to us to do it live and make it as real as possible. This is all one take. No cut-ins. This is what was happening in the room."

The video's frame draws the viewer in and also creates a subtle mood of alienation. At its heart, however, is Fly Golden Eagle's dynamic interplay – and awe-inspiring fashion sense. "Fly Golden Eagle is such an amazing band to work with because they're so in tune with their image and style," Shoemaker said. "Ben is so hands-on with everything they put out, so working with him is even more so a collaboration than normal." Call it better living through psychedelia – this experiment paid off.

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