Behind The Scenes

Midas Whale Interview – Funny Rascals

“It all started when Vita Brevis was a 17 year old girl who had come from some money, and us a simple country boy.” – Midas Whale

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Jon Peter Lewis, and Ryan Hayes walked through our studio doors one day to showcase their musical talent. They were complete strangers to us and they did exactly what they planned, sitting on two apple boxes the duo proved they could play music. It was live, raw, and it was a monday.

Two talents from atypical beginnings, John was raised in Lincoln Nebraska and Ryan in Brigham City Utah. Collaborating since 2009 the duo found their way through success on the television show “The Voice” and also on the opera stage with the production of “Deep Love”. Their intentions for visiting us were unique, they had created a kickstarter campaign but needed a video to help fund the duo’s first album “Sugar House”. The idea for a live recording of “Howling at the Moon” was unique, but to maintain the style of a music video was another idea in itself. We searched for unique locations that matched the tone of the music, eventually landing us in the Guthrie Artist Co-Op in downtown Salt Lake City.

Howling at the Moon was filmed inside Randall Lake’s atmospheric studio which pays homages to a bohemian past. We kept Randall Lakes candles lit as background texture and to light the musicians we placed four 100 watt Mini-Mole’s with focal spots attached. The control of the focal spots allowed for the candles to still be visible, yet maintaining directional light to the subjects. The space was limited so a kessler slider was introduced, it did its part for the shoot, we do not suggest it’s use for rigs over 20bs. We broke the slider. There were three Red Epics shooting during the live recording, one tracking during the take with a Red Prime 25mm, another catching details of the artists with a 70-200mm canon zoom, the last camera was coverage with a Red Pro 17-50mm. The live sound was captured by Jon Lewis with a pair of Blue Woodpeckers and a Blue Kiwi running through a UA 6176.

The Randall Lake studio created a unique look for the project, one that would be almost impossible to re-create. The sounds and the textures we captured were well complimented by the musicians. The creation of the video led to the funding and release of the Midas Whale’s first album “Sugar house”.

It’s been just over a year since the music video was released, and they succeeded in their kickstarter. We caught them over the phone to ask a few questions…looking back.

Q. What inspired the decision for a live recording for a music video?

A. Making a video wasn’t a difficult choice. In today’s media landscape having a great video is equally as important for a band as is the music.

Q. Did you like the sound & atmosphere created in Randall Lakes Guthrie Art Space?

A. Randall Lake’s studio is an incredible space. It would be hard to re-create the details that decades of creation have done to that space. Every inch was jam-packed with little gems that Randall had created. It had this timeless feel to it that was what we were looking for in “Howling at the Moon”

Q. Favorite Simon & Garfunkel song?

A. That’s tough. How about The Sound of Silence for Mondays, Homeward Bound for Tuesdays, The Boxer for Wednesdays, Mrs Robinson for Thursdays, 59th Street Bridge for Fridays, Cecilia for Saturdays and Bridge Over Troubled Water for Sundays.

Q. Did you know Google Docs spell checks Garfunkel?

A. What a tragedy

Q. What keeps the Midas Whale duo going or not going?

A. We love creating music, having fun and making people happy. We’ll be doing that till the day they put the last nail in the coffin.

Q. How did you find your way into the Vita Brevis Films hearts/cameras?

A. Ohh that’s quite a story. It started when Vita Brevis was a 17 year old girl who had come from some money, and us a simple country boy. We spent the whole summer together but Vita Brevis was forced to move and go to college (even though she was willing to give it all up for us). Her parents didn’t want us together. We wrote her 365 letters, one for each day of the year, but, strangely, she never got them. Years went by. So we restored the house where us and Vita Brevis had had all our good times. It was a labor of love. Apparently we had done such a good job with the restoration that the local newspaper came to interview us and display the house on the front page. Oddly enough, Vita Brevis saw us in the newspaper and ditched some soldier named Lon (What kind of name is Lon anyway?) she had married to come back to us. It was true love.

Q. What has progressed since the release of the video and the kickstarter success?

A. We successfully funded the kickstarter campaign and recorded and album. It’s called Sugar House and it’s now available on iTunes and many other online vendors.

Q. What creation are you two working on next?

A. We always have a lot of projects we’re working on, but the biggest right now is a rock opera called Deep Love: A Ghostly Folk Opera. You can visit the Deep Love Opera site for more info.

Technical Spec:
Red Epic
Red Prime 25mm
Red Pro Zoom 17-50mm
Canon 70-200mm


Behind the Scenes Interview with Midas Whale 1
Behind the Scenes Interview with Midas Whale 2
Behind the Scenes Interview with Midas Whale 3
Behind the Scenes Interview with Midas Whale 4
Behind the Scenes Interview with Midas Whale 5

Lay Eyes On More:
  • Director Skylar Nielsen
  • Production Vita Brevis Films
  • Camera Operator Lance Clayton
  • Camera Operator Josh Fletcher
  • Editor Catura Jenson
  • Staring Midas Whale
  • Head Pontificator Stephen Lupsha
  • Special Thanks Randall Lake & Pedal Steel
801.860.8522 |


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