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PREMIERE: The Last Tycoon Releases New Music Video For “Happy Family”

The Last Tycoon releases new video for “Happy Family” off highly anticipated new album, Oppenheimer Blues

Musician and film producer John Gladwin’s film chops meet his passion for music for his latest project, The Last Tycoon. After accepting an assignment for a CBS sci-fil pilot near Albuquerque, Gladwin found inspiration in the history and local culture — especially as it pertains to the Atomic Age of the 1960s. Channeling the mysterious and mundane experiences of the people he met, Gladwin crafted the 11 songs on Oppenheimer Blues — as well as some incredible videos including “Happy Family”.

“The video is a homage to the silent movie era when a look and a title card could tell the story,” says Gladwin, “It starts as a comedic meet-cute between a couple, then their domestic bliss takes a darker turn. We restricted ourselves to camera movements that only could happen in that era of filmmaking. Like the record itself, it͛s a dark comedy with a happy little tune.”

“I’m not a huge fan of the power-ballad love song. Instead of a song saying exactly what it means, I͛m more interested when a song͛s real meaning is in the space between the lines. “Happy Family” is a love song on the surface, but you quickly see it͛s a duet between two people who are frustrated with each other. There͛s humor, anger and love all rolled into one here. Tolstoy said, ͞Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unique in its own way, and I tend to agree.”

We wanted to dig deeper into Gladwin’s passion for film, check out the q&a below.

Can you talk a little bit about how you got into film production?

I got into film production purely by happenstance. A few years ago I was coming off a Last Tycoon tour and a friend needed some temporary help on a Warner Brothers TV show. I said I wasn’t qualified but she said, “Do you know the alphabet?You’ll figure out the rest.”

That show led to others in film and TV. I collaborated on indie films and shorts as well, so it has grown organically. Spending time working behind the camera has informed my songwriting and record making process and vice versa.

What is your creative process like when creating a music video? Do you have a specific way you start creating each time or is it different with each video?

For me the creative process for videos isn’t that different from songwriting. I take ideas wherever I can find them. A video might start with a picture, a line from a song or just a mood. Sometimes the video is clearly sketched out and the story is defined before we shoot. Other times we find the video in the editing room.

With “Happy Family” we wanted to make a comedy with a clear narrative. I was deeply influenced by the silent movie era and love how those filmmakers used their technical limitations to tell a story. And often the broad comedy that they relied on is still funny today. “Happy Family” is a tongue in cheek song and having a strong female actress to carry the video was essential. Jill Albano was so great in the video because she can embody funny and menacing at the same time.

Favorite film? 

This week it’s a toss up between “Night of the Hunter” and “Badlands”

Favorite film maker?

Federico Fellini, John Ford and Terrence Malick (can’t just pick one…)

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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