“Under Great White Northern Lights” directed by Emmett Malloy has just been nominated for Best Long Form Music Video at this year’s Grammys!
The White Stripes Under Great Northern Lights is a fabulous on-the-road documentary which presents this unique band’s visual and passionate attitude towards touring. This film, shot just before the release of their latest album Icky Thumb, tells about The White Stripes’ big Canadian tour, where, in addition to sold out concerts, they played free gigs in small and very odd places. It is this vast scale of gigs that makes this documentary a unique experience. A single club gig would not be enough to reveal this band’s true essence. The dedication and intensity of the duo is wild – whether the gig is played in YMCA kid camp or a stage built on a truck platform. The tears in Jack and Meg White’s eyes in the last scene of the film tell all about their dedication to their work.
The White Stripes Under Great White Northern Lights was directed by Emmett Malloy, who is best known for his music videos. The film magnificently echoes the black ‘n white ‘n red look of The White Stripes. Like The White Stripes’ music, Malloy’s film in all its crackly recklessness is a tightly controlled masterpiece.
My brother and I grew up in the middle of Los Angeles in a huge and entertaining family, definitely not a family in entertainment. Our family talent shows acted as our most formal film school training. We have lots of uncles, aunts and cousins and it has always felt that we were raised by wolves. For instance, we are not even the most well know “Malloy Brothers” (our cousins Chris, Keith and Dan Malloy are some of my and many others favorite surfers). I hope this new website can be a place to show off anything interesting that Brendan and I are up to. It could be a music video, a commercial, a short film on a friend, a trip with a cousin, my uncle Marty doing a blue darter, or a solo record from our grandma Rose. We aspire to update it regularly and hope that everyone gravitates to one member or another.
You can tell a lot about a person by listening to their answer phone message. The first time I call Emmett Malloy – film director, record company owner and Jack Johnson’s manager – he doesn’t pick up; I get his message. It’s Jeff Bridges. As the voice begins images of White Russians, bowling alleys and soiled rugs float into view. “Hey man, nobody calls me Lebowski. I’m The Dude…”
When I do reach Emmett and we start chatting, I manage to refrain from calling him The Dude – but within seconds it’s clear that’s just what he is. Not a carbon copy of the Cohen Brothers’ stoned creation or in the redundant usage of today’s vernacular, but instead the true embodiment of the word. Talkative yet relaxed. Humble but insightful. A creative man involved in many creative endeavours, all of them noteworthy in their own right. A dude if ever I knew one.
Make no mistake, Under Great White Northern Lights is not just a tour film or concert documentary—it’s a feature film about The White Stripes. Directed by Emmett Malloy, it follows the Detroit rock giants across a great green swath of land on their first-ever tour of Canada. Visually, the film is gorgeous—processed in black, bleached-out white, and, you guessed it, red. Malloy interweaves live footage with intimate backstage moments, interviews with Jack and Meg, and the band’s sub-Arctic adventures. Under Great White Northern Lights is a must for any serious fan of rock ‘n’ roll, and, to Emmet Malloy’s credit, an example for future music documentary filmmakers.
Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock’s stripped-down side project, Ugly Casanova, released one astounding album, Sharpen Your Teeth, in 2002. Eight years later, he’s teamed up with filmmaker Emmett Malloy to record 8 brand new Ugly Casanova songs. Along with “Hotcha Girls” from Sharpen Your Teeth, these 8 songs are featured in 180° South, Malloy’s environmental documentary for Woodshed Films, and appear on the soundtrack, which is available today on Brushfire Records. James Mercer (the Shins, Broken Bells) and Mason Jennings also appear on the soundtrack. Along with Brock, they were all flown to to the Patagonia region of South America by Malloy to inspire them for the soundtrack.
What do Lil Jon, Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, and RZA have in common? Well, aside from sharing the spotlight at the epicenter of music and film, they were all recruited to make cameo appearances in the new Vampire Weekend music video. The clip is for “Giving Up the Gun,” the second single off the indie rockers’ heavily lauded sophomore studio album, Contra, out now on XL Recordings.
At the helm of this upcoming clip are The Malloys over at HSI Productions. Emmett Malloy, one half of the directing duo, spoke to Anthem via phone about the video and its star-studded cast.
In the summer of 2007, the White Stripes embarked on an ambitious tenth-anniversary tour of every Canadian province and territory. Video director Emmett Malloy accompanied the garage-rock duo, and out of that experience came the documentary Under Great White Northern Lights, now out on DVD. Combining concert footage with intimate backstage moments, the film offers a glimpse into the mysteries of Jack and Meg White’s private, personal dynamics. Malloy, who has known the band since shooting their 2005 “My Doorbell” video, spoke to us about the story behind the film’s most emotional scene, and why he prefers not knowing all the White Stripes’ secrets.