by Andrew Norman
Django Greenblatt-Seay has produced 26 Love Drunk videos in about 10 months, and every one of them is his favorite. Until he shoots the next one.
It's that excitement and passion that makes his work so infectious, and that makes people want to work with him. Django moves and works much too fast to sit back and reflect on what he's done. He's constantly pushing, planning, organizing, practicing, shooting, editing.
If you know Django, you know he's a gear geek made of equal parts heart and energy. He's smart, well organized and assesses situations quickly. (I feel like I'm writing him a LinkedIn recommendation.) The dude works a 9-5 doing communications for Omaha Public Power District, and when he gets off, he gets to work. He plays in two very active bands — his own Down With the Ship, and Midwest Dilemma. And he competes in an organized basketball league in the winter and an old-man's hardball baseball league in the summer.
And he directs, shoots and edits live, one-take music videos that have created a lot of excitement and drawn deserving attention to Nebraska musicians — including some of the state's very best bands. I've helped him shoot a handful of these videos, and I guarantee I've learned much more about producing a high-quality product than I've offered him dynamite shots. But Django's OK with that. He enjoys teaching others. And it's clear that he simply loves being around other creative people.
He's certainly not doing it for the money. He not only shoots the bands for free, but he often drives from Omaha to Lincoln or elsewhere to do it. Or he'll buy food for everyone at the shoot. They're incredibly compelling promotional tools for bands — many of whom didn't even have a decent press release — and even for the small-businesses that serve as locations.
People are noticing. Two of his videos — with It's True (Omaha) and The Kickback (Chicago) — have more than 2,000 views on Vimeo. And four others have been seen more than 1,000 times. And with a slick new website — LoveDrunkStudio.com — those videos will continue to expose fans to great music in and from Nebraska.
Hear Nebraska has been fortunate to work with Django and Love Drunk since before we even launched our website. Django shot four promo videos (1, 2, 3, 4) for our launch, in fact. And we're thrilled everytime we're able to present another band's video, and it warms our heart when we see Hear Nebraska's logo as the song closes. Thanks, Django.
He's helped a lot of artists and venues in a relatively short time. But now Django needs our help. He and a small crew (including myself, my wife Angie and Ingrained's Andrew Roger) are hitting the road April 28 to shoot 15 bands in 15 days from Kansas City to Providence, and back to Chicago. It's a spin-off the traditional band tour — instead of playing a show each night and driving the next day, we'll roll into town at night, crash on floors and couches, shoot a band during the day and drive to the next destination that night. Along the way, we'll be spreading the word about our state's talented creative class and music scene.
To raise money for the trip, Django lined up nine bands to play benefit shows this week.
• Manny Coon, Husbands, South of Lincoln, Shaun Sparks & the Wounded Animals and The Machete Archive play Duffy's Wednesday, April 13 at 9 p.m. The show costs $7 for 18-20 and $5 for 21+. RSVP here
• The Photo Atlas, The Answer Team, Masses and Ketchup & Mustard Gas play O'Leaver's Saturday, April 16. That show costs $5 and starts at 9 p.m. RSVP here
If you've enjoyed what Love Drunk has produced so far, come out and show your support. You'll be rewarded not only by an excellent concert at whichever show you attend, but you'll have 15 brand new videos with national artists coming your way as a direct result. You'll be able to find them here.
I asked some band members who have been featured in Love Drunk videos to retun the love. In order of earliest to latest video, here's what they had to say:
Honey & Darling | “Summer of Love” at Love Drunk Studio
"Honey & Darling did an acoustic video in the early days of Love Drunk. We wanted very badly to have the full band for the video, but something came up and our beloved Robert couldn't make it. Luckily, we were still able to come up with a performance for "Summer of Love" that was fun to shoot. We brought donuts and fruit punch for Django, and Django had homemade chocolate chip cookies for us. It was pretty great.
Although our video was one of the early ones, Django's talent is obvious in the footage, and his work constantly improves. We always look forward to watching these performances from artists in our musical community and can't wait to see what's next for Love Drunk and Hear Nebraska."
— Matt Carroll
The Machete Archive | “III” and “IV” at Love Drunk Studio
"When The Machete Archive did its Love Drunk session with Django, I had slept the way there and awoke in a part of Omaha that I had never been to before. I had never been to Django's house or spent any time with him outside of a bar playing a show. Our afternoon was filled with "snakes from dildos" fried chicken veggie plates and Jenga. Ryan and Ian seemed to enjoy the information Django knew of recording — I believe it really lit a fire under Ian's ass as far as video recording goes, and Ryan has always been into the recording aspect of music since I've known him. I don't believe many people saw the videos that we did with Love Drunk, which wasn't why we were there. It was a learning experience, and an awesome afternoon helping each other propel our creative natures, which is Django's M.O most the time anyways — a great time."
— Saber Blazek
"We did one of the first Love Drunk videos, I believe, and it was a fun experience. Django is a magician and any opportunity to have more online media available is always a good thing, unless you look bad, which I doubt he would even post. We set up every member in a different room of Django's house and played two of our songs. I spent most of our down time dunking on Django's basketball hoop, because I have a ridiculous vertical. Django was wearing white tennis shoes, slightly soiled, probably Adidas. We ate chips together. They tasted good."
— Ian Francis
Powerful Science | “Embrace the Bomb” and “Rebel Clones” at Love Drunk Studio
"Django is the swellest of the swell. For our shoot, we hung out, drank 40s (not Django, of course!), made it rain dollar bills and came away with two awesomely colorful, great sounding videos! Then, on top of that, Django let us play a show at his house for some of his friends. Just to cap the evening off perfectly, we nearly (accidentally) burnt his house to the ground. Django's response: not to scream or yell, but to take us out to breakfast ... on him!"
— Peter, Josh and John
The Kickback | “Sting's Teacher Years” on Sandy's rooftop in downtown Lincoln
"Shooting our video with Django is still something the band talks about to this day. It was hot as hell and we had to lug all of our gear up a bunch of stairs. And though we were playing later that night across the street at Duffy’s, and nobody saw fit to bring a change of clothes, so we just sort of had to go dry out in-between. We didn’t know many of the guys Django had with him and nobody in the group was really sure what was going to happen. It was easily of the best days we’ve had.
"Django sat at a booth and mixed and edited our video while we were playing at Duffy's and it was basically done by the time we left. My most vivid memory of that night is watching Django chug through video and Andy by his side, feverishly working to meet his paper's deadline, but both of them wanting to show support by being at the show. There is very little from that day that I don’t remember fondly. Please sign us up for another."
— Billy Yost
Manny Coon | “St. Borromeo” at Manny Coon's apartment
"When I was preparing to release my first album this past October, Django was kind enough to stop by my apartment and include me in his Love Drunk project. The end result was a well edited video of a song I had recently finished. I found it especially appropriate that the old couch and old formica table were the background. So many tunes were written in those seats. Every video Django puts out just gets better and better. Keep up the good work, my friend!"
— Manny Coon
Shaun Sparks and the Wounded Animals | “3.2 Beers” at Cambell's Nursery
"I gained access to a remote part of the Campbell's Nursery Christmas tree farm. We set up in front of the barn you can see from the Hwy that is East O, just outside of Lincoln. It was insanely windy and we rolled chunks of tree up against everything to keep it steady. Despite the relentless straight wind, everything mic'd up sounded great. One of my favorite parts of the video is before the song starts, and after the song ends the sound of the wind on the mics.
That night, the Allendales were playing at the Zoo Bar with Voodoo Method, so they rolled out from Omaha early to be our audience in the shoot, along with our ladies. We almost kept the second take, but then the late afternoon/evening sun broke through and made the video much more colorful, so we went once more to take advantage of that. Our CD release was days away, so Django had it ready for us the next evening.
The video was a more effective means of promotion than the album itself, so I'm grateful to Django for shooting us and I am stoked to be a part of the fundraiser."
— Shaun Sparks
Conduits | “Limbs and Leaves” at Daniel Muller's art gallery in Benson
"The Love Drunk video that Conduits did with Django was really one of the first pieces of recorded music that we put out there. Now that we're playing out of town, a bunch of people have come up to the merch booth and told us that they watched that video before coming to see us play. Also, as we were setting up, we discovered that we left a synth at the venue we played at the night before, and luckily it was just down the street, so we grabbed it before someone stole it. Thanks Django!
— J.J. Idt
Rent Money Big | “The Elevator Shaft at Bay 198 Skatepark
"Rent Money Big had a reunion show planned on NYE this past year. We've been broken up for a long time (since '07, I think). We were playing and recording music before the internet turned into this mass blob of communication (MySpace was at the end of our career). So we never really uploaded to YouTube or anything like that. Maybe we were just lazy. For me anyway ... it became clear that Django was a master at his craft the day I helped him with The Kickback's session. Django is solid gold in a human being. I don't know how he makes low-budget and one-day-turn-around seem like $20,000 Hollywood music videos. The work he does on video/audio seems like pure wizardry!"
— Tim Scahill
"I went to the shoot with the rest of the band and we set up in the skate park at the mall. Normally, people would wait for us to set up, but this time we were waiting for the video guys to set up around us. Drew wouldn't stop talking or playing guitar, which made it hard for the guys to set up and check the microphones and record the intro dialogue. We played the song, rocked it the fuck out, and left. Later, when I watched the video, I realized I was featured in probably 60 percent of the shots. I guess I'm just photogenic that way."
— Will Holmes
South of Lincoln | “Man Pt. 1” on a horse-drawn carriage in Omaha's Old Market
"We filmed the video for South of Lincoln on one of the Old Market horse-drawn carriage rides in Omaha. It was an experience, the three of us cramming into the carriage, Django and his assistant sitting across from me, our knees bumping, the two of them struggling to get multiple shots without falling out of the carriage. We got lots of odd looks from people as we rode through the Old Market, me with my guitar, singing out, Django and co. with their cameras, twisting around to get the perfect shots. I was glad that no one yelled “Free Bird” or anything, though right towards the end of the video, the listener can almost hear someone shouting, 'Look! That guy has a guitar and there are guys taking pictures of him! What is going on?!'
"I’ve since received a lot of positive response from people I don’t know or know only in passing. I’ve also heard from a lot of people who haven’t seen me play for three or four years saying that they can tell I’ve improved. It was a positive experience on multiple levels."
— Max Holmquist
Thunderstandable | “Trafffic is Louder than This” at the Black Market/The Public in Lincoln
"Thunderstandable had reunited for a NYE show at Duffy's after calling it quits five years prior. Django graciously offered to do a video to help promote the show and we were really excited by the idea. During the video shoot at the Black Market, I recall lots of laughing between the four of us. Also, a pint of Wild Turkey, a six pack of HighLife TallBoys and when that wasn't enough, an additional half pint of Wild Turkey. We ripped through three or four takes of the song, and loaded up our gear while coming up with new versions/parodies of lyrics to our songs.
"'I don't want you to get away from me before I get a chance to atomize,' became 'I don't want you to go to Burger King before I get a chance to order fries.'
"When we all woke up the next morning, we hoped that we weren't too annoying to the Love Drunk crew, and Black Market staff."
— Brendan McGinn