Animated by Bob Price, the 2D short matches the rich narrative and themes of darkness and light that suffuse the singer/songwriter’s entire ‘Gameblood’ album.
To support last month’s release of his new album, Gameblood, Irish singer/songwriter Lee Rogers has dropped an animated music video, Silent Song, along with a behind-the-scenes breakdown of the short’s production.
Hailing from Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, Rogers spent his formative years growing up under the dark cloud of troubles. He drew musical inspiration from Bill Withers, Marc Cohen, Tom Waits, and other classic voices reaching him from outside the tensions in his homeland… his voice and sound pull from the “vast well of timeless Americana, all the while underpinned by the authentic writings of his life and its surroundings.”
Rogers happily returned to performing and recording in 2020 after his label, Zenith Cafe, was finally free to resume in the aftermath of the infamous HBOS Reading banking scandal. Gameblood was years in the making, an introspective, often painful journey.
“Gameblood to me was a visit to those hard places, those places that most people put to the back of their psyche and build a wall around,” Rogers shares. “Love, death, addiction, and lots of ghosts and spirits moving around holding it all together.”
An award-winning tattoo artist and herpetologist who’s spent most of his life with a collection of snakes and reptiles (he’s especially keen on big pythons and cobras), Rogers brought on animator Bob Price to produce the music video. Price, who runs Neep Pictures out of Boom! Studios, is based nearby in Bangor, Northern Ireland (just outside of Belfast).
Take a few minutes and enjoy Silent Song:
Price spent three months producing the video, from initial contact with Rogers to release. Working solo on the short during the pandemic lockdown, the animator “was grateful not just to be busy at a time when so many people were losing jobs, but to be working on such an enjoyable project.”
According to Price, “It’s hard to shoot a music video during lockdown. Luckily, like most independent animators, I don't socialize or leave the house much anyway. So, animation seemed like a good solution.”
Noting that he wanted to match the rich narrative and journey Rogers had created in the song, the animator shares, “I played with themes of darkness and light from a personal perspective: one person's heaven can be someone else's hell. Angels and demons don't always appear as expected. The road to redemption is a hard path to walk. Animation has always enjoyed playing with dark themes and stretching reality until it snaps. One of the best examples of this was Cab Calloway’s spooky but fun journey to the underworld as he performed St James Infirmary in the 1933 Betty Boop version of Sleeping Beauty. And our Silent Song film is a strong hat tip to that performance and to the Rubber Hose style animation of the 1930’s."
Price animated the video in Adobe After Effects, using character rigs created with DUIK Bassel by RX Laboratory and RubberHose by Battleaxe. All the artwork was created in Procreate.
Go behind-the-scenes to see how the music video was produced:
With over 20 years spent creating TV and interactive content, Price has directed numerous animation and motion graphics projects for Irish, UK, and International broadcasters. He’s also created corporate content for global brands including Google, Microsoft, Mojang, Crayola, and Bosch.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.