For their new single, titled Smithereens, three-piece alternative rock band Shimmergloom has released a music video reminiscent of ‘90s anime and arcade animation.
In the video, the Perth-based musicians perform their signature style of powerful vocals as a surreal love story plays out. The aesthetic used in the video is fitting and is reflective of the band’s dynamic live performances – something that they’ve become known for.
Nic Owen of Drum Magazine describe one of their shows: “Final act of the evening Shimmergloom definitely had the most experience under their belt.
“The three-piece held together driving progressive-meet-indie melodic rock with strong vocals and again the dual vocalist thing going on. The band wove impressive melodies behind tight and clever instrumentation that really bounced well off each other.
“Hopefully we’ll see a lot more of the band; it was a great way to end the night.”
On top of receiving stunning reviews, Shimmergloom has performed at festivals like WAM, Radiothon, and Shipwrecked alongside artists such as Kingswood, Abbe May, Andy Bull, Thundamentals, and The Delta Riggs.
We spoke with Aaron Welch of Red Bird Creative, the studio behind the music video, as well as Shimmergloom’s own Matt Harskamp, to learn more.
Please tell us more about the creative process behind the song.
“It all starts with the story. Even a song can tell a story so in working with Scott initially I first wanted to
understand what Smithereens was about. Then we started sketching the TV male as the main
character and some scenes, and sourcing reference for inspiration and style.
“Building on the sketches we then created a storyboard. As a series of drawings, we are able to show
both Scott and the band how we visualise the video. From there, a sharing of ideas and feedback
builds on the story as well as how to create the artwork. An animatic then allowed us to get a sense
of timing. It’s simply having the song playing over the storyboard.
“Early animation allowed us to test some techniques and how to build the scenes. Sometimes what
seems like a great idea doesn’t translate on the screen. Creating the animation was a collaborative
process as the art and animation had equal influence.
“Initially we discounted using the supplied footage because it didn’t work within the story nor the art
style. But the arcade scene did make that possible so with the right effect and composition the
footage did help to tell the story.
“This was a collaborative process between Red Bird Creative, Shimmergloom, and Doghouse Records
right to the end. Matt wanted an effect applied to his footage in the brimstone scene which lead to
the Zordon effect and Scott thought thunder would add more weight.
“So with those final edits we had a final cut!”
What were the challenges you encountered?
“Scott came to us with a rudimentary idea for the video. So the first challenge was to how to respect
this idea while starting from a clean slate. Fortunately, soon as we saw the first sketch of the TV male
we knew we were in the right direction. Creating the storyboard and scene artwork flowed
“How to animate the characters did provide some challenges. Took some designs and different
effects to overcome. One particular hurdle was how to make the girl’s dress flap without breaking the
overall style of the video.
“Some technical challenges included when to animate and when not to. For example in the
storyboard, the blue mountains would slide across the screen to get to the TV male. But the motion
wasn’t smooth so we just used cuts. That way the artwork still was prominent.
“How to incorporate the footage was the single biggest challenge. Simply the quality wasn’t high
enough and the green screen backgrounds were poorly lit. Only in the midst of production could we
see a means to use it. Even then it was trial and error to get the right effect for arcade scene.
“Creating good looking fire was a close second. We tried different techniques which weren’t really
working. With the detail in the brimstone scene, the challenge was to find the right look. Eventually, a
video breaking down the steps showed the way.
“When Matt wanted an effect applied to his footage in the brimstone scene, that was more of a fun
challenge. In that, we came across a video about how to apply the Zordon effect. A new Power
Rangers movie was coming out and soon as we saw the trailer, and saw Zordon, we had our look.
“Essentially it was a month of planning with the sketches and storyboard. Two months in creating the
artwork and animation including the effects. And a few weeks with some final edits. All in all a three-month
What inspired the music video?
“When considered fighting and gaming, the original 1987 Double Dragon arcade game came to
mind. Mainly for arcade scene where the band could be within a fighting game. Although we did
move away from that it still provided ideas for a rough but colourful art style. The basic movements
in the game’s characters was our starting point for the animation.”
Where does the name Shimmergloom emanate from and tell us about how the band formed?
“Shimmergloom is a character from the Dragonlance fiction series by writer R.A.Salvatore. It’s an undead dragon kept alive by magic which basically consists of bones and scraps of skin.
“The band got together to play a fundraiser for a local yacht club and we needed a name. We put a bunch of names forward and ended up going with Shimmergloom. Incidentally, the word Shimmergloom relates well to the light and shade that exists in our songs.”
What Aussie bands were you listening to when you were developing your songwriting chops?
“In the early days, we listened to Aussie bands like Spy Vs Spy, Hoodoo Gurus, INXS, The Clouds, Superjesus, You Am I, Tumbleweed, Screamfeeder, Magic Dirt, and many more.”
Where did the idea to animate the track Smithereens come from?
“The idea to animate the track came from our manager Scott Williamson. We had wanted to do an animated video for a while, but hadn’t had an opportunity until our manager brought the work of a young artist to our attention.
“The ideas from the young artist were expanded and built upon with Red Bird Creative to create the Smithereens video.”