VIDEO PREMIERE: Pittston metal band Black River’s Edge takes down brutal ‘2020’
The last time NEPA Scene talked to Black River’s Edge, the Pittston hard rock/metal band was making their live debut at Diane’s Deli & Internet Cafe in 2015. A lot has changed since then, including the closing of their hometown venue, but 2020 has made everything seem like a cakewalk in comparison.
From the dark shores of the Susquehanna River, the group has unloaded this year’s frustrations in their brutally poignant new single “2020,” ripping the candy coating off the grittier side of life with their heavy combination of in-your-face lyrics and merciless arrangements.
Vocalist Clay Hawk’s no-nonsense review of modern life seemed to lined up with the perspective of the art collective I founded, Camp Rattler, so we were tasked with reliving this year from hell and putting it out of its misery in a music video that is premiering today exclusively on NEPA Scene.
While on hiatus for COVID-19, we took a call from the band’s liaison/production assistant Greg Shaffer with regards to writing and directing a piece for these local dark metal juggernauts. I was familiar with vocalist Clay Hawk and his deep sound. We had received the track prior to a masked meeting with Clay and his lovely wife, Holly. They both shared their strong thoughts, personal stories, and utter dismay in the wild and destructive nature of this perfect storm that has been 2020. The piece that we put together for their battering ram of a song simply depicts the jittery and troubled manner in which information has been shotgun served to us. It’s wild.
“The Almost Anything Alley building on Main Street in Pittston was perfect for this music video. Not often you just walk into a building and it’s ready to go as is. With all the old memorabilia and machinery, it lined up with our storyline amazingly,” director of photography Jared Sokirka of Video Ninja Productions recalled.
“The Camp Rattler crew usually finds the best spots, but they outdid themselves on this one. It’s got so much to offer yet; I can’t wait to shoot something else there.”
“Working with Black River’s Edge is always a great experience. I’ve had the privilege of working with them on live shows in the past, but helping them make the leap to the online format really shows what a creative powerhouse these guys are. The focus and professionalism that they bring to the table is top notch, and it is always amazing watching an artist meld their sonic concept with the visual interpretation of the Camp Rattler team,” Shaffer added.
“Due to the seamless execution of our pre-production planning, this project was especially notable as being one the hassle-free shoots I’ve ever been a part of. To be able to put together a project of this scale in a one day, on site, the filming was impressive to see, to say the least.”
We have a lot of fun doing this stuff. Being masked and social distancing while making videos is new and difficult, but we made the best of it with an impressive team of collaborators like KRS, Jared, and Meg, as well as the Almost Anything Alley folks. Afterward, we chatted with Hawk and hoped for a better 2021.
Camp Rattler’s 5 Questions in 5 Minutes
with Clay Hawk, lead singer and songwriter writer of Black River’s Edge
1. What is your favorite childhood cartoon?
“Scooby-Doo,” for sure. I still watch it today, and I also love the new Scooby movies.
2. What was 16-year-old Clay Hawk jamming?
Oof. At 16, I was probably listening to Ted Nugent, AC/DC, Metallica, Deep Purple, Van Halen, and pretty much whatever was playing on the radio a lot. I was spending most of my time in a big rig already at 16, so pretty much anything popular and playing on the air in the ’80s.
3. What is your “guilty pleasure” genre of music?
I don’t really have a specific guilty genre, but most people don’t know that I enjoy listening to the artist formerly known as Prince.
4. What was the best part of 2020 and the worst portion of 2020?
Worst part of 2020 is definitely the lives lost to COVID-19, and watching our nation grow more and more divided at a time we really needed to pull together. Best part of 2020 right now is that it’s almost over.
5. Besides being metal as fuck, what is your next favorite pastime?
Pretty much the mountain man life – Hunting, fishing, target practice, four-wheeling, sometimes blowing shit up.
James Callahan is a 30-year veteran of the music industry, having held positions of A&R, tour management, art/marketing director, creative director, and venue owner. He currently creates visual content with a diverse art collective called Camp Rattler.