Cults - "Go Outside" Video

Granted, it was a stretch to include last year’s blog hit “Go Outside” as a contender for the song of the summer 2K11. (And yet it placed second with 29% of the vote!) Chalk it up to a general lack of blockbuster indie jams this summer, but also give credit to “Go Outside” for spinning its retro-pop style into a track with enduring appeal. Or at least, an enduring promo cycle: Here, many moons after the underlying track’s first appearance in this space (Cruel Summer 2010), is the official music video for “Go Outside.” It’s focused on Jim Jones and his infamous religious cult Peoples Temple (obvs) and is directed by Isaiah Seret, who provides a full statement of intent, which you can read after peeping the official clip below:

(via Boing Boing)

To tell the story of Cults’ hauntingly beautiful track, “Go Outside”, I was inspired to bring the band inside the world of Jim Jones’ famous religious cult, Peoples Temple, and the eventual tragedy in Jonestown. Fortunately, when exploring the feasibility of this video I became acquainted with Fielding M. McGehee III, an expert on Peoples Temple history and the primary researcher for the Jonestown Archive. It is thanks to him and his encouragement that I was able to take on this project and through his support gained access to over two and half hours of home videos showing Peoples Temple in Jonestown. For this music video we didn’t want to put a spin on the footage or the peoples lives—instead we wanted to re-tell and humanize their story. In order to achieve this we used a combination of stock footage, visual effects and other tricks to embed the band into the historical footage. This was achieved through my collaboration with my visual effects supervisor Bill Gillman and my cinematographer Matthew Lloyd. Lastly, I am moved to say when we completed the video we were able to preview it for some of the survivors of the Jonestown Massacre, who expressed their appreciation of our focus on the lives of the People’s Temple members as opposed to exploiting the graphic images of the final tragedy.

In History and Memory,
Isaiah

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Comments (11)
  1. Cults is amazing, everything they put out there is different and interesting, including this video

  2. I rarely comment on here but i have to on this.
    I like Cults and that song a lot but this is too much. While the execution of this video is great, it is still in very bad taste to use that tragedy to sell a major label pop song.

  3. I don’t exactly think this is in bad taste. At the end of the day, the song is good but it was still an odd choice to use this event for their music video

  4. Disappointing video. It’s an interesting idea (and yeah, we get it, your band’s name is Cults — a flimsy premise for a video concept), and well-executed…but this is the wrong song for it. We have known this song for over a year now, and we’ve had times to internalize the meaning of the song. It’s a straight-forward story about an unsatisfying relationship. Great — love it.

    But if you’re going to do a video with the Jonestown tragedy as the backdrop, your song had damn well be about misplaced faith, or gullibility, or false hope, or death, or religion. Jonestown is simply too dark and horrific to be used like Weezer used Arnold’s Drive-Thru for “Buddy Holly.” DO NOT WANT the Hoosiers’ video for “Made to Measure” to be set in Buchenwald, y’knowwhuddimean?

  5. Even though some of you may be disappointed in this video or song, their album is still pretty solid overall. Walk At Night is probably one of my album favs. I’m pretty excited because they’re touring with Foster the People in September, love them BOTH!

  6. I am on a campaign to bring Cults to Milwaukee. There is a case of the beast in it for them if they do.

    If you are looking for more indie music, check out my new album, “You might not be ready but your kids are going to love it.” We sound as if Bruno Mars went on a three day bender with Charlie Sheen and recorded a dozen songs with Passion Pit, MGMT, and One Republic before passing out in a Hard Rock Hotel bathroom. You can listen to the entire album for free here:

    http://www.myspace.com/repertoire/music/albums/you-might-not-be-ready-but-your-kids-are-going-to-love-it-17594565

  7. “Oh, great,” he said, “another manufactured, male-female indie-pop duo. It’s so easy for two people, especially a girl and guy, to get attention these days.” His tone denoted a weariness brought on by his own attempts to gain media attention. Rejection had tempered his artistic vision time and time again, in unforeseeable ways, and he saw each new one-hit-wonder come along like a proud sheep to the slaughter. Whether or not they lasted and persevered artistically, he hated the factory farming of bands and the way it watered down the good ones, bringing different species of music listeners, some weak, some sickly, to the watering hole without proper invitation. She glanced at him quickly as he continued his lament, her eyes returning to the road as they tore down Sunset Blvd. “Try forming a band because you’re forced to because nobody will listen to two people live before you record a million-track single in your bedroom. When’s this whole afro-pop gimmick gonna go away, anyways?” She tried to comfort him, knowing that his experience in the music world had made him bitter, volatile: in a word, exciting. She enjoyed music with substance but couldn’t deny the right of indie-pop to exist on the outskirts, coming and going under different monikers, in different bands each year, like a transient fallen angel that possesses the soul of fame-hungry bands ready to sell their souls. It had always existed, the demon of pop, but who has ever banished it back to hell? No, only slight derision and casual acknowledgment could diminish its power. She broke the spell. “Well, it’s kitschy music!” He laughed. “Honestly,” he said, “I never thought I’d hear kitschy and music together in the same sentence. They do not belong together.” Their eyes, happy and twinkling with the demon behind them, returned to the road as they sped along.

  8. i really enjoyed the video. I didn’t expect what I was seeing at all…. the song beautifully accompanies the shots from the jonestown massacre. It’s ominous…. yet gorgeous. It’s haunting… yet engaging. Eerie… yet elegant. It’s got the perfect amount of contrast to make it a work of art.

  9. Even the gathering hall in Jonestown prophetically had a sign that read:
    “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” -George Santayana
    I think the reverse of this quote is an attitude that history sacred and should be avoided unless in the form of a text book. Personally there are valid lessons to be learned from Jonestown and while this video mostly shows them as happy middle class folks (go figure) the reality is they gave their mind over to someone and then got trapped in his system. That still happens today.

  10. I think the video manages to be sensitive, yet engaging to the viewer. Rather than being exploitative, it sheds light on the subject and is open to an interpretation. The band was respectful and made an extremely interesting video, that complements the song (and overall tone of the album) nicely.

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