Harry and Bess // Ferraby Lionheart

You might be surprised to see The Office’s Rainn Wilson within the folky landscape of Ferraby Lionheart’s “Harry and Bess,” but he is no stranger to Silverlake’s indie-music scene. Lionheart explained to the Arcade that the two have been close friends for years. “He’s a real music lover,” said Ferraby, “It was a breeze, he’s a professional funny man.” We got a chance to talk details with Ferraby and the directors.

Born into a family that sounds like something straight out of a Wes Anderson movie, it’s no wonder where Ferraby Lionheart gets his inspiration. “My grandmother was a professional gambler and music manager,” says Ferraby. “She named me after the Baha’i author John Ferraby. We left Los Angeles when I was 3 and ended up in Nashville after living in Mexico for a couple years. In Tennessee, my uncle had a recording studio where he made country records, but my folks weren’t in the music biz. My father sold computer parts. When I was 15 or so I started trying to sing and write songs.” Ferraby goes on to explain that the name Lionheart came from a one-handed drummer that his former roommate had befriended (naturally!) named Lionheart. Ask Ferraby what inspires him, and he responds with something that sounds closer to words from the Fonz than from a man of the 21st century: “I go through spells of listening to very little music because my ears need a break. Most ladies I drive around with in cars always want the radio on. I enjoy watching movies a lot. Whenever I decide to flip on some music I get inspired pretty easily. It can come from anywhere.” Ferraby has a certain old-school cool that is impossible to deny.

Directed by The Focus Creeps, (who also gave us The Morning Benders’ video for “Promises”) the video for “Harry and Bess” is stunning. Focus Creeps managed to capture the witty chemistry between Ferraby and Rainn Wilson.  Ben Chappel and Aaron Brown make up Focus Creeps’ two-man operation. We talked to the duo about the music video industry, where it has been and where they think its going: “It’s good and not as good [right now.] It’s fun because you can mess with the rules, see what’s allowed and what’s not, what the public’s tolerance is. Unfortunately, what’s ‘not allowed,’ the public never gets to see, but it’s getting more lenient on the Internet, which changes what videos can be. The bad side is, videos have become more dependent on a gag.  It’s harder to just make a meaningless video for the sake of beauty these days, like they did in the 90s.”

Ferraby also added his two cents, saying, “It used to bum me out that music video TV doesn’t exist anymore; I grew up with that stuff. But dang, we’re in modern times and it’s all available to us all the time on our little hand computers. The fidelity isn’t so good, but the possibilities for small and independent musicians is tremendous, so I’d say it’s a neat time.” When asked about the day of the shoot, Ferraby reflected like an older man fondly remembering the past, “I had a great time,” he said “making movies is terrific fun.”

—Annick Mayer