LOS ANGELES — Aerosol Jezus’ new Cozey music video represents the culmination of two years of work. The project was conceived and executed by Mitchell Abraham, a Notre Dame graduate who makes both music and visual content. Abraham partnered with fellow alum Zachary Ostapchenko to begin work on Cozey back in September of 2020, using the lockdown of the COVID pandemic to intensely focus on the project’s production.
The video follows the journey of a space traveller, who seeks out alluring crystals on a diverse collection of planets. Each world is home to its own unique landscape – rainforest, desert, volcanic, frozen – as well as crystal treasures. The light-emitting crystals represent the traveller’s source of addiction, but his never-ending pursuit of the treasures leads to his own demise, as he ultimately becomes trapped in a spider’s web that he can’t escape.
Abraham says his passion to create this visual short became an addiction of his own, with him spending weeks on end, working long hours in isolation to advance its development.
Cozey is part of a concept album that Abraham says will feature 11 pop-structured songs that are enhanced with lots of sound design and audio manipulation. "Cozey" was first released as a single, followed by “Limbo.” The music video for
Cozey debuted on May 22nd, and was shot using a combination of Blackmagic Design’s Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, a pocket cube and a drone for aerial footage.
Abraham says the concept for the video came from his brother, Robert Abraham, who suggested the idea of being lured by a floating crystal.
“It became the diamond, which is the insignia for the band…and he gets spun up in a spider web. Just that imagery, with the song — because it's all about seduction and one’s willingness to be seduced, and how that leads you to places where you can kind of find yourself trapped. I was like, ‘I love it!’”
According to Abraham, the initial plan was to shoot the project over a three-week period, travelling to any locations within reach by car of his home in LA. The first shoot — the rain forest location in Washington — left the team pretty grizzled, and sent them back to their drawing board, where they revised their outline to add additional planetary environments.
“Everything that people talk about — I mean, it's wet…and we were hauling [gear] sometimes miles into the jungle. We needed to be super mobile, and that's what I had,” he says of the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, “but it was perfect because I'd rigged out that camera before for this other project. It worked perfectly. If you don't have the crew, you have to make it work.”
Other shoot locations included the Imperial Sand Dunes, Chocolate Mountains and Shelter Cove in California, as well as Loveland Pass in Colorado. Each presented their own challenge, and Abraham, who also served as the on-screen talent, was tasked with getting his costume on and off to review shots in-between takes.
Abraham handled the edit, color grade and most of the visual effects himself, using a Mac running Blackmagic Design’s Revolve V.16 at the time, with continued updates. He shot pickup shots of for the pool and spider’s web sequences in his backyard, while cutting the imagery to the five-minute track. Work continued through late 2021, with him learning Fusion in order to create many of the visual effects.
“The first shot I did was the first spaceship shot, with sun behind me,” he recalls. “I knew nothing about [Fusion], but once I wrapped my brain around it, I wanted to do as much as I could.”’
Ultimately, there were only a handful of shots that he couldn’t complete on his own, mostly involving tricky tracking sequences. He called on Sherif and Karim Higazy at Thermonuclear to lend their expertise.
“I learned a tremendous amount,” he says of the experience, admitting that there were times he held his breath, hoping his old Mac wouldn’t crash under the stress. With Cozey now online and available for the world to see, Abraham hopes the project will lead to bigger collaborations in the future.
“If I can show how willing I am to throw myself in there — go out, sweat and pass out from not being able to breath (in the costume), I can prove [I’m] committed.”
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