It is five in the morning and still dark outside. Your eyes flutter and
open heavily. You see a disembodied blue glow pulsating on the ceiling.
You have no idea where you are, but you know you are alone. The only
sound you hear is the hiss of a nearby radiator, but in the movie
version of your life this moment would be punctuated by the music of
Home Video are Collin Ruffino and David Gross, transplants from the misunderstood landscape of New Orleans, before The Great Deluge, now living in the brooding brownstones of Brooklyn, New York. Here they revel in a self-created world of references to Edward Gorey, Massive Attack, The Brothers Quay, Smashing Pumpkins, and a dusting of Chopin, references that they have been collecting for nearly ten years.
They connected in high school art class in 1997. Under the instruction of an eccentric painter, who claimed to have been raised in a Louisiana chateau where servants peeled grapes for him to eat, they spent hours drawing still lives of twisted vegetables and rendering the chiaroscuro of adolescent self portraits. Outside of art class, they made a short narrative video starring David, and directed by Collin, a collaborative set up that continues still and perhaps an influence for their band name.
At the time, Collin wore all black, listened to Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins, and was in a band called The Great and Secret Show. David, a classical pianist in training and the son of two classical musicians, had been sheltered from the Top 40, or anything composed after 1900. It wasn’t until Collin played him a cassette tape of The Great and Secret Show that David realized pop music had the potential to be as emotionally impacting as classical. Collin continued pulling him into the 20th century, introducing him to albums like Mezzanine, Dummy, and OK Computer. David started playing keyboards for the band.
College scattered the members of the Great and Secret Show, David in Boston studying music and philosophy, Collin in New York studying film, but they remained in touch and created music together during summer breaks. Once the distraction of higher education was out of the way, they reconvened with New York as home and soon discovered a new sound as their latest incarnation, Home Video.
The first Home Video song came to them in the dead of winter, the blizzard of 2003. As the piling snow erased the landscape outside his window, David huddled over the warm vibrations of an analog synthesizer creating the simple loop that first inspired their minimalist sound. The fear and anxiety of New York’s atmosphere at the time had eaten its way onto the pages of Collin’s tattered notebooks and became his confessional style of lyrics. Underlined by a thumping, bass-rich beat, the pairing of the two worked well and the song evolved into “Melon,” the first Home Video song created and the closing track on the album. Inspired by their new philosophy, other songs quickly followed and the band sent out demos.
Originally discovered by Warp Records, the label released Home Video’s first two EPs in 2004, both packaged in sleeves illustrated by Collin’s dark, Gorey-esque drawings. That You Might, a 10” single, immediately picked up considerable attention in Britain from BBC Radio 1 and the NME, while the five song Citizen EP earned the band a feature in Rolling Stone.
As electronic-rock producers and performers, they record everything themselves, then adapt it live into a full on rock show with live drums and hypnotic visual projections. After sharing a bill in London, at the start of Home Video’s 2004 European tour, Blonde Redhead were so impressed that they invited the band to support them for three weeks of shows in North America. They have also opened for such diverse acts as Pinback, Colder, Radio 4, and His Name is Alive.
Surrounded by the trend-infested-quick-high of the New York music scene, Home Video are slow-burning pop that will invade your dreams and memories. The full-length debut album, No Certain Night or Morning, was released October 3rd, 2006 on Defend Music.