You Say Party has a knack for getting pop culture references into its music videos. Past works have given visual nods to both “Twin Peaks” and “Little Red Riding Hood,” and the four-piece’s latest pays homage to Japanese animator and Studio Ghibli co-founder, Hayao Miyazaki.
The Vancouver band’s video for “Underside” is shot by filmmaker Jeremy Rubier and takes place almost entirely on Yakushima Island, which was Miyazaki’s inspiration for the film “Princess Mononoke.” The island, known for having one of the oldest living forests in the world, was a conscious choice of setting by Rubier, who wanted his film to encapsulate the whimsical and adventurous qualities of Studio Ghibli.
The video starts off with a young boy walking through Tokyo’s urban grit and follows him as he makes a pilgrimage across Yakushima, passing waterfalls and landmarks along the way that may look familiar to Ghibli fans.
“One of the places he walks along is actually the road to Laputa,” Rubier says, referencing the 1986 Ghibli film “Castle in the Sky.” He adds that the narrative is “inspired by ‘Spirited Away,’ ” in which a young girl travels to fantastical places.
More specifically, the You Say Party video is “the story of a child leaving the city to become a monk,” Rubier says.
He recalls that the band was able to offer up a small budget and when the idea struck him he realized he’d need a crew and a kid. Luckily for him, the two came via one family. The helicopter shots you see are the work of Slovakian director of photography Peter Majtan, whom Rubier met up with after seeing drone footage Matjan shot of a volcano on Facebook. As it turns out, he also had a 5-year-old son who wanted to play the main character, so for nine days Rubier and the family traveled around Kyushu filming.
The result is like a touching live-action Miyazaki short, complemented with drone shots of mountainous vistas that lend themselves nicely to the chilled-out, soul-searching quality of the song. Studio Ghibli fans and prospective child monks, please enjoy.