Five Finger Death Punch’s Zoltan Bathory Talks Co-Directing ‘House of the Rising Sun’ Clip
Five Finger Death Punch have filmed plenty of music videos and usually have a pretty entertaining take on their songs, but for their ‘House of the Rising Sun’ clip, the band went above and beyond, providing fans with a full-on short film, complete with an opening remix.
Guitarist Zoltan Bathory, who co-directed the clip, spoke with Loudwire about his involvement with the video, his disappointment at the lack of video outlets and his desire to do more directing in the future. Check out our chat with Five Finger Death Punch’s Zoltan Bathory below.
The ‘House of the Rising Sun’ video, I know you had a big hand in that. Can you talk about going full out with the scope of the video?
It’s an interesting thing about videos, there’s no MTV, there’s no place to put them. So people stop doing big videos. If you look at band videos lately, because what are you going to do with it, put it on YouTube? And that’s it, right? Since it doesn’t happen on a global form, or delivery system like MTV used to be, you had a video, then it was everywhere in the world.
Originally, what’s a video, just a visual tool to help the record company sell the record. Then it became it’s own thing, it became bigger than the song, it was a visual artistic expression and I love those times. I think the whole world loved those times, and I still to this day cannot f—ing understand what happened to MTV and why it went away and why there aren’t any channels that play music videos all day like it used to be? Would you watch it?
Absolutely, in a heartbeat.
I get asked this question from so many people, I talk to so many people in the world, I’m everywhere in the f—ing world, I talk to people all the time and this comes up sooner or later. It’s something I cannot put my head around. If people want ice cream, someone is going to make ice cream and sell it to them. It seems like the entire world wants MTV and MTV is not willing to give them what they want, why? It’s the most f—ing bizarre thing. Not because it went away, these artists, this form of artistic expression of music videos is a dying form. Nobody does cool videos, only pop and hip-hop bands do because they still spend the money because they have the money for it.
We are one of the bands that are fairly successful so we could actually afford to do these videos, but even for us, why? What for? It became a question mark. Imagine, and this is sad about the music industry, when the record label is telling the band, ‘Hey guys you need to do a music video’ and the band goes, ‘Nah, we don’t want to.’ Is it not crazy, how that changed around? So what we said was, ‘Look, we’ll do a video but if we do a video then we want to do a proper video. Otherwise we’re not going to make one. We don’t want to. We want a wide screen, big format, a long format, video. Not some stupid camera, we want the real deal.’ And that’s what we did. Like a mini-movie.
Remember when Michael Jackson made ‘Thriller’ and how cool that was? It was a little movie. That’s what we wanted to do. We’d been talking about it, how cool it would be to make some kind of a movie with the band. And this was the experiment for that.
Can you talk about the directing experience?
I co-directed it with Brian Neal, very good friend of mine. He has a bunch of shows on Discovery channel. We pulled all the favors from our friends. The people you see running around with the guns, I was actually telling those guys you need to loosen up and look less precise. Most of those guys are my friends, they’re all special forces, special ops, Navy Seals. The guys running around with the guns it really looked like a very well organized military unit, and this is actually what they are. It was funny to tell them, don’t tuck your elbow, you have to look like some desert dwelling, gun-swinging thug.
It was really fun, all the vehicles came from a company called Welder Up, Steve Darnell who has a show called on TV called ‘Welder Up Garage.’ He’s a car designer and he’s a friend of mine, he designs all these crazy cars. So I had access to those. He’s in the video, he’s one of the guys I’m playing with in the poker games. Then all the Mutiny Models, Steven Michael Hardy, who was with Model Mutiny’s Deadly Seven Girls. He’s a friend of mine. He’s another ex-special forces guys who was in the service and has a modeling agency. He did us a big favor, brought like 40 girls from his agency.
It was a cool thing, as a band, we always try to employ ex-military and give back as a token of our appreciation, and be supportive of those guys. That’s not the politics, but the guys. It was cool that we got to have all these fans, everyone was helping everyone. It looks like a million dollar video but a lot of these things were favors. I guess we accomplished what we wanted.
Tell me about that opening segment.
We got the song to be a soundtrack to this little movie thing. Instead of jumping around with guitars and pretend that we are playing the song, that format, nothing wrong with that. It’s just not what we wanted to do. We remixed our own song, sort of as the intro for the whole thing. The reason we did the remix, we wanted to make sure that when you hear it’s a remix, it’s seperate. It establishes the idea that it’s not about the song. It was about the visual part. If we put in the original song, then it may have confused people.
How was it taking a bigger role in the whole process?
I was always involved in the videos, the visuals of them, the cameras and where it goes, the team. This was the first one where I actually also was wearing the director’s hat, yelling at people, “Do this! Do that! Run! Jump! Raise the freaking camera!” But it was really fun and will do many of these, I really liked the process. I like that it’s another tool of imagination and expression and you can paint with a different set of brushes. It’s really exciting and I like it. I wouldn’t be surprised if at one point I do more. I will probably do some short movies or even getting full features at one point.
Awesome, the video came out great.
To tell you the truth, when you have these resources at your fingertips [it's great]. We had three helicopters, RED cameras — the really good ones, and a huge film crew. Everybody is there to make this project better. Everybody is there to add something to it. It’s a really cool environment and you’re on set, everyone’s goal is the same. The movie or the video has to be great. So whoever is acting is trying to do their best and the supporting crew is trying to make it look better. No one is there slacking. No one was there to just … yeah, that’s my job man. Everyone is excited — it’s such a high energy environment, such a rush.
I had the little radio for communication so I could talk to the camera guys, and the helicopter guys, “OK take another dip. I want to see a different angle.” It’s amazing. I was immediately addicted to this. Before the band became successful, I was really — my life of being a visual artist anyway. So I was doing 3D movies already, so it was easy for me. When you can connected it to the music, that’s great. I’m really interested in the whole process. It’s so much fun.
Our thanks to Five Finger Death Punch’s Zoltan Bathory for the interview. Check out the band’s ‘House of the Rising Sun’ video below. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Zoltan Bathory interview, in which he discusses FFDP’s upcoming tour with Volbeat.
Five Finger Death Punch, ‘House of the Rising Sun’