Interview Reviews

Play It Again: Video Premiere – Marguerito “Honored By The Sign At The Cinema”

By: Sara Waber

My coworker, Martin, introduced me to Marguerito a couple weeks ago. They have that Vampire Weekend All American Rejects kinda vibe. The kind of music that feels like your inner thoughts are being converted into a musical charge.

According to their ABOUT on their website “Marguerito got its name from an imagined barista/college dropout/lothario character whose perspective inspired [their] debut album “I’m Having an Affair” (2011).” That definitley describes the angsty heart broken voice of lead singer/songwriter Jake Fertig. Check out their video and our discussion below.

Play Too Much: Hey Jake! Lets get down to business. Why did you choose this song to make a video for?

Jack Fertig: We chose Honored because of the story. Before the video existed the song told a story that in some parts could be kind of oblique – or at least not as concrete as the images we had when we thought of the song (the “chair” and “trash” lines, for example). So we wanted to make a video that would make the song as direct as possible – make the abstractions concrete, rather than most videos I’ve seen which do the reverse. With the resources (time and people) it took to do the video the way we wanted to, we also felt that Honored best synthesizes the idea of the album as a whole: which is that the suffocation I and we experienced growing up in the suburbs is a projection of inner faithlessness and isolation – and our families both become the object of that frustration and the best chance for getting through it.
PTM: That’s definitely what I loved about the video, the straightforwardness. But because each shot was so matter of fact, it didn’t make it bland or boring to watch. It was like being faced with the blunt reality of day to day life. Where was this video filmed?

JF: It was filmed in Wayne, NJ, where all four of us in the band grew up. We shot it in 2 days with our DP Andrew Daugherty. It was crazy — every video has its ambitious production “thing” and for us it was the amount of locations – I think we had 12. So we were constantly driving and on the move to get each separate scene. We literally shuttled in Theresa and James (the actors in the car) from New York just to kiss in our high-school parking lot. So the days consisted of traveling to about 6 places — PATH train, our local coffee shop Greenberry’s, a local farm we shot at guerrilla style, my parents’ home, my neighbors’ home, with different actors each time. We’d arrive at a place and the actors would be like, okay, “what are we doing?” Then we’d find the shot and move on.

PTM: That’s nuts! I was so curious about how long it took to film and I can’t believe you got all of those locations and scenes done in 2 days! Bravo! It really is like a beautiful indie film. How did you come up with the video concept?

JF: I originally got the idea for the song when I was in a state similar to the Marguerito character in the video and looked up at that movie marquee and saw those exact words and thought, “what a waste.” I just thought the visual was emblematic of something so sad, being wished a happy birthday on a movie marquee. The song built from there, my character being a composite of the experiences of myself, my friends, and the local barista that inspired the Marguerito character, and the video concept grew out of the song’s lyrics. There was actually one day after recording last summer where Kevin (our bassist) and I were taking a recording break and passing around a hockey puck in his driveway, and the idea struck for the video — instantaneously we went through each scene and fleshed out the visuals we had imagined and potential locations — some parts are obvious and literal, like the “GameStop” section, the others were about defining visuals for more abstract lyrics. For the wonderball, for example, we always had the image of the chocolate candy being opened by the Michelle character, but Nestle stopped making them years ago. I spent weeks trying to track one down and couldn’t. Finally, we got Laurie’s Candies in Wayne to hand-make one.

PTM: Yo for real props on your ambition with this video. I feel like so many indie artists don’t take advantage of what a really well produced, well thought out video can do for them. It’s inspiring to hear how much effort went into this artist endeavor. What was the hardest part and most fun part to film?

JF: The hardest part to film was the scene in my family’s kitchen where my character pulls out his mother’s chair. It was tense and painful enacting that when we were shooting that late at night — it felt so personal. That’s my actual mom and she’s a private person (at least in comparison to my compulsion to overshare in my music and film stuff), but she’s very courageous and supportive as well. We often have this process where I suggest an idea to my parents and they’re immediately resistant, then over time they become dedicated to the idea (despite their warranted apprehension). It’s kind of a through-the-fire thing but it’s really amazing to be able to share it with them. The most fun part was probably the Dunkin Donuts confrontation. That’s me and Mike and Chris (our drummer and guitarist). It was really truly run and gun, we had to get that in five minutes, and everyone else in the store couldn’t see the camera, they thought it was a real thing. Lucky for us those kinds of confrontations are not really that uncommon in our local D&D. We shared a donut after while the sun set.
Honored by the Sign at the CinemaArt

PTM: Haha thats awesome. Thank you so much for debuting this video on Play Too Much. I see great things in Marguerito’s future. Who do you want to shout out for helping make this video possible?

JF: There’s this term “critical mass” that I think of with projects like these, where the work and dedication that comes together far exceeds the capital needed to contract it: every actor and location owner went out of their way to participate, depending on the others to come through as well and make this thing worth our while. So my parents and my friend Dave who played our family, Sheryl and Barry Sarin, my friends who really went out on a limb play the dramatic scenes of married couple, James and Theresa who exposed themselves in the same way, Chris’ girlfriend Meghan and our friend Jared who helped out on crew on a moment’s notice to make the dolly happen, my friend Cyrus who went out of his way to aid with VFX and Andrew, who really came up with the idea for the last minute of the video on his own and did a fantastic job. I especially want to shout out Rachel Reiner (Michelle) and her sister Jessica for dedicating the weekend to run around New Jersey and make this video. Rachel was the inspiration for Michelle and she delivered an amazing performance as well — we really lucked out.
Lastly I want to thank you guys for taking an interest and sharing this — it means a ton to be able to share the collective work of all of these people with a larger audience.
You Got It
For more Marguerito check out their website. Their album You Got It comes out May 15

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