High Frequency Media Will Make Your Band Look Awesome
Milwaukee music is looking a lot prettier these days thanks to Jon Salimes and Anthony Lopez, aka High Frequency Media. The two have been spending the last few months filming bands of any stripe in Milwaukee, and the results have been nothing short of striking. Before Fan-Belt and High Frequency teamed up to document Tuesday night’s Monotonix show at the Bayview VFW, I sent Jon and Anthony some questions in order to introduce these polite and talented young men to Milwaukee internet-land.
JON: For me it was about practice, something different. We’d been doing a lot of weddings and promo videos to make money and buy equipment. There’s not a lot of room for creativity and fun in that stuff. So it turned into a thing to do to break the monotony as well as to keep learning and trying new things.
ANTHONY: Jon and I met in film school and pretty much bonded over what a frustrating experience it was. Through film school we helped each other out with our student films and personal projects. After film school a year went by and we hadn’t done much of anything as far as film or video. One day we just decided to start up a production company as a way to make money and force ourselves to start shooting again. We started off doing weddings and promotional videos, boring stuff like that. After almost a year of that kind of work we wanted to get back to making fun videos and live shows just made sense at the time. We could go out, enjoy some great music and end up with a fun document of the experience. I’m originally from Texas and had never taken the opportunity to discover what Milwaukee music has to offer and I soon fell in love with a lot of the bands we’ve been shooting.
Who have some of your favorite local subjects been so far, and why?
J: Trent Fox & The Tenants and The Hussy stand out in particular. Their live shows are a lot of fun. The venues these bands play at tend to be more intimate and that helps make the videos what they are too. My favorite nights have been at places like The Vault, Y-Not III and especially John Hawks Pub; which is a place that doesn’t seem at all accustomed to hosting shows.
A: Plexi 3. They’re an amazing band and put on a great live show. The three of them are in some other great bands: The Zygoteens, The Magic Words, The Flips, Eva Grub and more. Juniper Tar was another band that we were surprised by. We jumped into the local garage/punk scene and were mainly focusing on that when I got in touch with Ryan from Juniper Tar about doing some videos for WMSE, the radio station he works at. He introduced us to his band and invited us to shoot an acoustic version of “Black Pain Tea” in the basement of Club Garibaldi. The music was so good and different from what we had been focusing on and it gave us an opportunity to mix things up.
Your films always seem to have a very distinct, stark coloration to them. Any tricks or secrets you’re willing to share regarding how you guys achieve the vivid look of your films?
J: A lot of experimenting. I usually don’t know what I want a video to look like until I stumble onto something that feels right. I’m really not satisfied just churning out video after video, there has to be something unique about the process each time or else I’ll quickly get bored.
A: I think we still have a lot to learn, from shooting to editing and sound production. We let the overall experience of the shoot guide us through the editing and color correction of each video. We usually don’t know what to expect going into a shoot, so we never really have a preconceived idea of how the video will end up.
Do you have a wish list for local bands you haven’t covered yet?
J: Definitely Bored Games and Crappy Dracula. Our schedules never seem to match up. Also, Steven from Terminated Television has been really supportive, so we’d love to shoot those guys if they ever make it down our way.
A: I’d really love to shoot Eva Grub and The Elephant Walk as well as Bored Games and The Sugar Stems. The list could go on and on, we’re discovering great new bands all the time.
No need to name names, but have there been any nightmarish adventures in local filming yet?
A: We were invited by a local radio station recently to shoot a solo performance of a national band. The event itself was kind of awkward and the performer didn’t seem too into it. Despite that, we came out of it with a pretty cool video that we were proud of. Instead of simply letting the video be what it was–a fun document of the event–the radio station made a list of demands that would have basically turned the video into free advertisement for them. Suffice to say that we quickly deleted all of the footage and moved on. We make these videos for fun and we’d like it to stay that way. There’s not really room for business in this kind of stuff; we leave that for the contracted jobs.
Keep checking Fan-Belt for video from Tuesday’s Monotonix/Call Me Lightning show, as well as all sorts of great stuff that Fan-Belt and HFM will be doing together in the future! We’re excited to be working with these guys, and I think y’all will be thrilled with the results.