Exclusive: Zombie Talk with Chickenhawk!


You may recall we slipped you a little teaser (sounds kinda naughty, doesn't it?) for the gory zombie-massacre video for I Hate This, Do You Like It? from UK indie rockers Chickenhawk. Well, since the full-length video is out now, we thought we'd give you more than just the usual 'check out the new vid' spiel and bring you some tales of gut-munching mayhem from the chaps who were there for every blood-drenched moment... like drummer Matt Reid, who regaled us with an entertaining behind-the-scenes account of the hard-rocking undead apocalypse, in which he pounds the skins with his eyes torn out before chowing down on his band-mates.

Of course, you can also view the video at the end of the article... so what the hell are you waiting for?

FEARnet: So what convinced you to stage an undead apocalypse for your next video?

MATT: Well, it all kind of happened by accident... we never really set out to even make a video for this song. Danny [North] originally just wanted to shoot us for some press shots, but as time went on and we discussed ideas back and forth, he suddenly dropped us a message about doing a video. We had already done the video for NASA vs. ESA with Roach Productions and it all kind of slipped into place. The zombie theme was originally Danny's idea, as he's a massive zombie fan, and this being his directorial debut from his normal day job as a photographer [for NME], I suppose he wanted to do something that he would be excited about. We were all into the idea of it, though!

How did you go about recruiting the 200-plus zombie extras?

Jesus, this was a logistical nightmare... Roach had previous experience using specific websites to recruit new actors and students wanting to get themselves out there, but we all got involved trying to spread the word via websites like Facebook and MySpace, plus a lot of word of mouth was used. There are a lot of familiar faces in there, but actor or not, everyone totally submerged themselves each day in the scenes... as well as a lot of blood.

How complicated was the shoot itself?

Pretty damn complicated when it came down to pinning all the members down to shoot. Because we all still work, we had to fit it in between evenings and weekends. It also took a while to find the right locations for scenes like the football pitch and the bathroom scene. I think by the end of the entire shoot, Roach had over 20 hours of footage to condense into 5 minutes. I really don't envy them editing that lot!
There's some professional-looking gore on display... Who was in charge of makeup FX?

On one of the days, we had about 10 or 12 makeup artists involved at one time helping to zombie-up volunteers in different stages of decomposition. Some just had the odd bit of blood thrown at them with some coloring around the eyes and face, and then others (like myself) had to go through nearly 2 hours [of] makeup, with fake gouged-out eyes and facial tears. The main makeup artist running the show did an amazing job and had lots of fun doing it, though it was definitely the messiest one she'd done by far. A lot of the effects were trial and error too... she often tried several different versions of wounds and blood spurts & explosions to find the most believable on screen.

We've all heard the stories about how extras on George Romero's movies compete for the chance to eat raw liver and stuff on camera. Were your zombies that enthusiastic?

There was a scene were we faked a guy's chest being ripped open, exposing a fake beating heart surrounded in meat, and I believe one of the guys chewed down for a while. One guy was so into it, he was asking Danny questions like “What's my motivation?” to which Danny replied “Err... you're a zombie, mate.”
How did you first hook up with Danny?

He had a copy of our first self-titled album and got in touch with us, saying he really liked our band and wanted to do a photo-shoot with us. It all spiraled out of control from there.

I thought the NASA vs. ESA video accomplished a lot on a tiny budget... but this one seems way more ambitious. Was there more funding this time around?

Yeah, the NASA video was definitely on a much tighter budget, but for what was spent on that project, we achieved the 'tongue-in-cheek' effect we were after. The budget for the zombie one however was epic, and pretty much stretched as far as our resources and wages would take it... even Danny and Roach Productions chipped in cash for it as its everyone's 'baby.' A milestone in Chickenhawk, Danny North and Roach Productions' careers. Everyone wanted it to be the best, so we all put in what we could to achieve this. Hopefully you'll agree when you see it.
This video goes live the same week your new EP comes out, and that looks pretty ambitious too.

Yeah, we're all really excited, me especially, as this is the first material released since I joined last year as the new drummer. Previously Stick (our singer) was the drummer and vocalist! Its kind of a halfway stop in between albums, and shows the progression we've made since being a three-piece to a four-piece.

Is there a full-length album in the works?

The new album is nearly there, but probably won't see the light of day until early next year. It will push as many boundaries as possible, though.

What's your biggest fear?

My biggest fear would have to be me covered in suede. Not the band, the material. It scares the shit out of me. But then again... so does the band Suede.

Plus maybe children... scary little bleeders.

Now you know the story... and now for the gory!