I was never actually a skateboarder as a kid -- I was too fatally clumsy for that to ever be a real option -- but I loved the idea of skateboarding and I was addicted to the Tony Hawk games. And, let me tell you what, if I have the dexterity and bad-ass board skills at 61 that are displayed by skateboarding legend Neal Unger in the video for The Moth & the Flame
's "Young & Unafraid," I will be a happy senior citizen.
We had the chance to chat with the L.A. alternative rockers about "Young & Unafraid"'s video as well as their music more generally. The track is a Cure-esque bit of synth rock with Brandon Robbins' vocals building up to a tumultuous swell as Neal Unger ollies/kick flips/grinds his way through a loft and a skate park (and takes harder bumps than a man his age should be able to handle). Even if you come for the bad-ass elderly skating, you'll stick around for the "Young & Unafraid"'s unforgettable hook and build.
Check out the video for the song and our chat with the band below.
Neal Unger is a relatively well-known name in the skateboarding community, a man with a remarkable sense of spirit and self-acknowledgement; how did getting to work with him come to be, and what was that experience like?
The Moth & The Flame: Rebecca Thomas, our director, originally had the idea. She saw something on Facebook with Neal. She contacted Neal and his agent and after they watched her movie (Electrick Children
) and listened to our song they agreed to do the video.
Working with Neal was inspiring. He is very philosophical and unpretentious. He laughed a lot and wasn't afraid to get really into the crazy dancing. He told us about his life, Grand Theft Auto, and gave sage advice. One suggestion was "...when your knees and joints are weak most people think you need to coddle them. But the best thing you can do is high impact activities." Neal definitely lives by those words. Its hard to get higher impact than skateboarding.
The single has a more invigorating and lively feel to it than the tracks off of your last album; will this be a trend we see in whatever project you have coming for us next?
The upcoming album definitely has more songs along the lines of "Young & Unafraid." And a lot of other songs as well! I'll stop there. Don't want to give away too much.
A 60-year-old man skateboarding is a powerful image when it comes to being young and afraid; where did the idea for the video as well as the single come from?
Rebecca Thomas our director early on had the idea of shooting some kind of skate video for the song. We all grew up skating so we were on board. We also wanted the video to be more than just skating. We wanted to capture the meaning of the song. When Rebecca told us about Neal we were all really pumped. The original idea we had was much more complex than what you see now. We filmed Multiple skaters, 70's style dancing girls, the band performing and skating and a lot of other madness. But once Rebecca started editing it became clear very quickly that this video needed to be all about Neal. Besides being an amazing skater he embodied the song. The music is about being willing to take risks, to make your own path, to follow your heart and not apologize to anyone for it. Its not about age. Its about determination and confidence. Its not about what others expect of you. Its about what you expect of yourself. To us Neal epitomizes what it means to be "Young & Unafraid."