- Wednesday, May. 25, 2016
Underdog Entertainment announced today that award-winning video director Daniel Azarian has collaborated with New York City roots-rock band Whisperado for the music video of their song, “Mass Extinction No. 6,” an angry lament for the massive die-off of animal and plant species caused by the spread of human populations and industries.
Lead singer Jon Sobel felt an urgency to release "Mass Extinction No. 6" in advance of the band's upcoming album. So he took a one-man version of Whisperado into the studio with Grammy-winning engineer Ted Young and cranked out an advance acoustic version of the environmentally-inspired song. Filmmaker Azarian had previously teamed with Whisperdo for the hit video "Teenage Popstar Girl."
"Mass Extinction No. 6" dramatizes the collapse of wildlife on our planet with our species' industrialization a major cause. The video tackles such issues as shark finning, elephant and rhino poaching, industrial greenhouse gas emissions, and the plight of several species on the brink of extinction, such as the vaquita dolphin and the mountain gorilla.
"Just after I wrote the song I played it for some old friends at a reunion gathering," says Sobel. "The response was so strong I felt the urge to put it out as soon as we could." So as the band worked up arrangements for its forthcoming album, he recorded the quick-and-dirty version featured in the video.
Azarian, an animal-welfare advocate and director of the acclaimed A Day in the Life of Lolita documentary about the orca famously confined at the Miami Seaquarium, was just the person for the job. His video of "Teenage Popstar Girl" was a satiric take on pop culture and our meaningless obsession with celebrity. "I love the jabs Whisperado takes with their lyrics," he says, "so when Jon shared the song and lyrics for 'Mass Extinction No. 6,' I jumped at the chance to direct the video."
A playful take seemed the right way to give the message the needed visual kick. "Taking a cue from the lo-fi sound of Whisperado's witty track, I wanted to create a complementary lo-fi video," Azarian says. "Intentionally unpolished stop-motion animation using real plastic animal toys were the subjects. My inspirations were the wildlife diorama science projects I'm sure most of us created in grade school. Armed with construction paper, corrugated cardboard and tin foil, I embarked on creating and animating replicas of the BP oil spill, torching a natural rain forest for conflict palm oil, and a robust octopus being enveloped by single-use plastic trash."
These effects depict the mass species extinction now underway. Such extinction events have occurred five times before, say scientists, the last one about 65 million years ago when a large asteroid struck the Earth, killing off the dinosaurs and allowing mammals to diversify and evolve.
"We're not a political band," explains Sobel. "But I don't see a new mass extinction caused by human activity as a political issue. It's about the fate of the planet as we know it. And if we can't sing about this stuff – and play with plastic animals while we're doing it – then we'll just get too cynical or depressed to do anything about it."
See a full set of “Mass Extinction No. 6” music video publicity stills here.
See the “Mass Extinction No. 6” music video below or here: https://youtu.be/oE-thfLQ9rM
Listen to “Mass Extinction No. 6” at ReverbNation
See the video for “Teenage Popstar Girl”
Azarian, an established director of video content, television commercials and branded entertainment has directed and produced national spots and video content for such brands as 3M's Scotch-Brite, Horizon Organic, The Anti-Violence Project, Silversteain Properties and Sony Music Entertainment. For more information on Azarian and his work, please visit danielazarian.com or follow him on Twitter at @danielazarian.
Underdog Entertainment (www.UnderdogEntertainment.com) is a New York-based production company active in producing video content, commercial spots, branded and traditional entertainment.