Until We Die Thumbanil

Dizzy Bats release “Until We Die” music video

A disco ball, hair swinging, and a whole lot of rocking out!

A year after the EP release of “Until We Die”, Dizzy Bats is back with a music video for its title track.

Last May, Kollaboration New York caught up with Dizzy Bats frontman, Connor Frost, and bassist, Dave Ma, right before the EP release party and filled us in on the birth of their band, its ups and downs, and ultimately what influences and drives them to perform.

Their newest music video, directed and produced by Michael Chiu of JustKiddingFilms, explores just that: the progression of a band navigating through rehearsal frustrations and finding the motivation to get through practice before hitting the stage.

Kollaboration New York spoke with Michael and Connor about how they came up with the idea for the video together, their frequent collaborations, and what’s in store for the future. Oh, and zombies.

It’s been a year since Kollaboration New York last spoke with you. How have you been? Does Dizzy Bats have any shows or tours coming up this summer?

Connor: All is well here! Weird that that was over a year ago now. Summer plans are somewhat up in the air, but we’re definitely going on tour with our friends MORI in mid-June for nine days.

Since this is your first time speaking with Kollaboration New York, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Michael: Hey everyone, my name is Michael and I’m an aspiring filmmaker! By day I work for a popular YouTube Channel named JustKiddingFilms. I help out with management, operations and business development. By night, I work on different passion projects like my videos!

What made you want to get into filmmaking and what is your favorite thing about it?

Michael: In my senior year of high school, I took a film elective class. I knew it would involve lots of movie watching, but I didn’t know what else we’d learn then our teacher split us into small groups and told us to make our own films. We didn’t really know what we were doing, but the experience left a very long lasting impression on me, and eventually drove me to pursuing filmmaking. Favorite thing about it? That’s hard to say. But I really enjoy the process of seeing what you can do with a story and a camera!

(Courtesy of Michael Chiu)

I know you live in Los Angeles! That’s definitely different from over here in New York. How is it living out in the West Coast and what do you like about it?

Michael: I like living on the West Coast a lot. Like most people probably mention, the weather out here is great. One thing about living on the West Coast is being so close to Hollywood and a large film industry. With so many people pursuing similar dreams and goals, this is a great place to meet like-minded people and even possible future collaborators.

Speaking of collaborators, this isn’t the first time you two have worked together before on a music video. I know–Michael–you previously produced and directed “Girls” and “Panic Attacks” back in 2014 and 2015 for Dizzy Bats. How did you two initially meet each other, and what’s it like collaborating with each other?

Connor: We met in the winter of 2010 in Beijing; we did the same study abroad program. I can’t speak for Michael, but this collaboration has been a lot of fun for me, and I feel like we’ve both learned a ton over the years. We’re also very honest with each other which makes things move a lot faster and more efficiently, even if it seems brutal and direct at times.

Michael: While [in Beijing], we sometimes hung out in a group, but I can’t say I knew him very well. I knew he was pretty serious about his music though, as he would often perform in local bars on weekends. When the semester endedlike most of the people in our programwe went our separate ways. A few years later, we reconnected on Facebook. I saw a post from Connor saying he was coming to California for a tour, and was also looking to work with someone local on a music video. I saw a previous music video he had done for “Please Stall” and I was looking to add more work to my portfolio so I decided to give this a shot. And we’ve become frequent collaborators ever since. Over the years, working together has been a good learning process. We have learned that it’s okay to be very honest in our thoughts toward the other’s ideas, and while one of us might leave the brainstorm sessions a little peeved or annoyed, both of us understand we are just trying to make the project better! And that is something I definitely appreciate.

You and your bandmates flew all the way to California to join Michael for this video shoot. What’s your favorite thing to do there when you’re not working?

Connor: Not sure about the others, but I love being near the beach during sunset, trite as that may sound. I have a few friends out there as well, and it’s always really great to see them.

Last time we spoke, you told us about the different themes explored in this EP. Can you refresh our memory on what the meaning behind the track “Until We Die” is?

Connor: I wrote it so long ago now, which is crazy! It’s all about growing up and seeing your friends start to settle down in relationships, careers, etc. Back in 2013, I made the decision to prioritize this band, which has been amazing, but hasn’t always been smooth sailing.

Behind the scenes of the “Until We Die” music video with Dizzy Bats (Credit: Marisa Nagata & Loryn Taranish)

Can you tell us about the idea behind the music video and what inspired it? How did you two work together to get the vision you both wanted for it?

Connor: The treatment for the video went through so many different transformations. At first, we were looking for something a little more focused on a storyline as opposed to performance. I think I REALLY wanted zombies in the video, which Michael wasn’t super into. Then we changed the idea a bit, while still maintaining aspects of our original storyline and concept, but shifting more towards the performance. Finally, we decided on this concept of “the development and career of a band” portrayed through rehearsal and stage shots.

Michael: I was listening to Connor’s most recent EP one day when I realized the title of one of the songs was “Until We Die.” Then I thought ”die”…“death”…how cool would it be to show the ideas of the song through “zombies”? One of the song’s themes is about pursuing one’s dreams versus the onset of increased responsibility and adulthood, so we could show Connor and a bunch of his friends and bandmates trying to fight off zombies before ultimately falling victim to the zombies of “adult life.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized this could become a logistical challenge. Even though I had moved on, Connor asked me multiple times if we could still incorporate some of the zombie elements into the new ideas we came up with. I did think about it, but ultimately I don’t think we could have done zombies justice given the resources we were working with. After a few more brainstorm sessions, we decided to focus on the concept of performance. This eventually turned into the current video that showcases a band’s transition from practice room to the big stage.

Along with just releasing your new music video, you’ve also been recording a new EP. What can we expect from that and how is it different from the last one? 

Connor: We’re all really excited about this forthcoming EP. You can expect three tunes, all of which are relatively different from each other in terms of style and vibe. Lyrically, these tunes are much darker, touching on themes of depression, politics, and racial identity, and no longer about past romantic misadventures.

Frost promoting t-shirts benefitting The Trevor Project

It looks like a lot has happened both in the world and with Dizzy Bats since we last spoke. At the beginning of the year, you started donating all profits from merchandise to ACLU and recently, you had t-shirts made to benefit The Trevor Project. Can you tell me about your decision to become more active in giving back to the community?

Connor: I feel very blessed that our music can influence people, especially young people, in a positive way. When you have the tools and means at your disposal, I think it’s important to help lift each other up, whether it’s emotionally, financially, or otherwise. It’s crucial to stay engaged, outraged, and active.

Do you have any other projects you’re currently working on that you want to share and let people know about?

Michael: This isn’t exactly film-related, but right now I’m trying to start a business with a few of my friends. We’re going to teach people how to make videos through a series of online courses.

Do you two have plans on working together on another music video in the future?

Connor: Again, I can’t speak for Michael, but I would obviously love to work with him again. I’m always thinking of concepts for future videos, and I’m sure the same goes for Michael, but as of now we don’t have anything set in stone.

Michael: Recently, Connor sent me over a few demos of tracks he is currently recording and he told me to start thinking of “weird” concepts. I hope this means another collaboration in the future.

From left to right: Dave Ma, Stephen Ranellone, Connor Frost (Credit: Marisa Nagata & Loryn Taranish)

Anything else you want people reading to know?

Connor: Thanks to you, Saleah, for your support over the years! It really means a lot. Shoutout to Jersey City.

Michael: Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the video!