We’re born, we’re young (for a while), we’re old (for a while), and we die. It’s as simple as that. Actually, the “old” part of that roadmap tends to take up most of our time. And what do we tend to dwell on during that “old” part? The “young” part, of course. Go figure.
So it goes in the video for Soul Low‘s “Bad Set Of Moods,” a stealthy and bittersweet examination of the fleeting joys of youth, the dangers of nostalgia, and the time-honored ridiculousness of roller skating. Directed by Minneapolis-based filmmaker Jake Nokovic, the bulk of the video brings to life the song’s manic chipperness (sing it with us: la la la la, da da da da, da da da da-la da!), though a pair of bookends tap into an underlying bitterness. Plus, Soul Low singer Jake Balistreri strikes a serious pose on the rink:
“It’s obviously a really upbeat and catchy song, so I thought the video would feel weird if it didn’t match that energy at least partly,” Nokovic tells us. “But I didn’t want to make a fun, energetic, poppy, youthful video without at least some darkness.”
That darkness comes into play in the video’s framing device, which imagines an older Balistreri stumbling across a USB drive stuffed full of memories.
“I had recently digitized some old home movies, and thought that would be an interesting way to attack it,” Nokovic says. “Sometimes watching old videos or home movies can be such an overwhelming feeling that you just feel like crying. I wanted to take that concept and exaggerate it. So I took the home movie idea and set it in the future, so [Balistreri] finds a much forgotten USB drive instead. Then at that point, I could get away with making ‘that’ video and still tie it into a bigger concept. Just show how awesome and fun being a young person is, then take it all away.”
The video was shot in and around the Twin Cities, at the Como Town amusement park and the Wooddale Fun Zone skate rink. The latter location, while photogenic, led to a filmmaker’s worst nightmare.
“We finished up and everyone was going home while the rink was closing down for the day,” Nokovic remembers. “As we are loading the footage from the camera onto our hard drives, they just cut all the fucking power to half of the building, with our hard drives plugged in mid-download. I’ve heard horror stories of shit like that happening and it not being good. I didn’t breathe for about five minutes.”
Happily, the footage survived and the video is here for your enjoyment/contemplation. “Bad Set Of Moods” comes from Soul Low’s 2017 album Cheer Up, which is wonderful.