By KRISTOF G.
To celebrate the Halloween launch of the rerecorded THE RAGING WRATH OF THE EASTER BUNNY DEMO (read our review here), the new record from Mr. Bungle (the mighty Mike Patton’s first band), RUE MORGUE reached out to the influential group’s guitarist Trey Spruance, the album’s visual artist Eric Livingston and their “Eracist” video director Derrick Scocchera, for a trio of Sinister Seven interviews. Here is part two of those three…
Derrick Scocchera likes to wear a bunch of different hats. He co-founded Fantoma Films (1998-2014), a San Francisco-based production company and DVD label, which put out special-edition discs of movies by Alejandro Jodorowsky, Kenneth Anger and Fritz Lang, among others, in partnership with Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope. In addition to being a storyboard artist, he does sculptures and has been painting since 2009 (“to stay sane in between film projects”); his often colorful art lies somewhere between lowbrow and pop surrealism. Scocchera has done portraits of weirdos (a TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 trio), demons (LEGEND’s Darkness, EVIL DEAD II’s Ed) and some of the genre’s coolest misfits, like David Lynch and Edgar Allan Poe.
Scocchera is also a filmmaker; to him, “filmmaking brings everything together [writing, photography, art, music, acting, research]; there’s nothing that isn’t useful to bring to the moviemaking process.” Back in 2008, he directed the 25-minute A PERFECT PLACE (2008), starring Mark Boone Junior (John Carpenter’s VAMPIRES, Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN II) and Bill Moseley (TCM2’s Chop-Top, Zombie’s Firefly trilogy), with music by none other that Patton (who went on to score CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE and 1922, among others). And he helmed Mr. Bungle’s latest video, for the song “Eracist” (seen at the end of this article), shot this past summer and starring this poor metalhead (who may have once been abducted and molested by aliens), his trusty guardian TV set and a body mod freak (probably his pill-popping single mom).
RUE MORGUE chatted with the artist about how Patton ended up composing a score for him, and to learn more on the production of a music video in this COVID-19 era (and to find out what’s really going on in “Eracist”).
When did you first hear Patton’s work, and what kind of artist is he to you?
I’ve known Mike for over 20 years. My first exposure to him was the self-titled Mr. Bungle album, which seemed to be made specifically for me in its mishmash of genres and general insanity. Of course, he’s credited as Vlad Drac, so it took me a while to figure out exactly who he was. I see Mike as a blue-collar artist in a lot of ways. He’s infinitely curious and incredibly talented, but more than anything, he’s about putting in the long hours and doing the work. He never rests and is never satisfied, which is essential to growth as an artist. I think we both share that disease.
Was is hard to get him to score A PERFECT PLACE?
I knew he was interested in scoring films, and we were fans of a lot of the same composers and had talked about movie music quite a bit over the years. A PERFECT PLACE seemed to be the ideal project for him to jump into that. The approach was to have an original score with a strong melody, but then design it to sound like source music, as if it’s coming from a car radio, an old lady’s Victrola, etc. If you need someone who can give you an aria in Italian, a 1920s romantic crooner track and a moody score with elements of jazz and horror soundtracks, who the hell else could you possibly go to?
How did you get involved as director of “Eracist”?
Mike contacted me and said they needed a video for the lead track off Mr. Bungle’s first new album in 20 years. There was no money and no time, but it needed to be amazing, a grand slam. I also had to find a way to pull it off during a global pandemic, a heat wave and barely breathable air caused by the fires raging all over California. Of course, I agreed.
What was the initial brief?
That this was a newly recorded song from an old-school version of Bungle when they were a noisy thrash band. Mike gave me a list of ideas and the lyrics, and told me to go on a proverbial “killing spree.” That was all I needed to hear.
How much creative freedom did you have, and how involved was the band in the process?
I put together a visual treatment for the whole band. Once we agreed on the basic concepts, and that was signed off on by everyone in the band and over at Ipecac Recordings, I was off and running. I was left completely alone, though I was in regular contact with Mike throughout the process–bouncing ideas back and forth and checking in on progress, since the timeline to complete it was so tight. The first cut I handed in is the one everyone has seen. They didn’t ask for a single change.
What were you trying to express with your video’s images?
The concept was to intercut imagery of whitewashed, idealized 1950s Americana with the stark reality of a world that didn’t fulfill any of that promise, but has become paranoid, divisive and incapable of progress. Instead of dealing with it, we put our energy into covering up who we are, what we are and what we’ve done. It’s more of a surreal and personal approach than anything overtly political–how people are treated as if they don’t matter and are just erased.
Could you sum up its “plot” in a sentence?
Putting perfume on a pig.
Scocchera recently completed shooting and editing his latest movie, IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING, aiming to screen it at festivals in 2021. For more information about Mr. Bungle’s upcoming Halloween streamed concert, click here.