By Anthony Chabala
Before I wax poetic about the Sleepy Hahas’ video for the song “I Hate My Body (And It Hates Me Too),” I have to get something off my chest: I fucking hate everything DIY. I hate the fact that movies and videos and music and books are now so easy to make that every Tom, Dick, and Harry is suddenly a Facebook legend. I can’t stand that technology has become so easy and affordable that a media study undergrad can rent a camera and put out something that could fool some sagging-pant punk teen into believing a real “name” director actually filmed it.
There is something extraordinarily important to be said about the financial sacrifice required to have a professional work on a project that is a representation of you and your brand. If you take yourself and your project seriously, then you put out the best possible product, for anything less is insulting to both the audience and your career. That being said, Buffalo’s best unsigned band, Sleepy Hahas, have pieced together what I consider to quite possibly be the greatest no/low-budget, DIY video I have ever seen.
Sleepy Hahas’ video of their song “I Hate My Body (And It Hates Me Too)” is simply brilliant. It combines kaleidoscope effects, live performance, and unwarranted sexual confidence in ways I found truly groundbreaking. The song is phenomenal, combining a mix of modern psych and garage rock into a seemingly recognizable Nirvana-like format that just hits the spot.
The video was filmed in one day by a friend of the band Shawn Lewis, who goes by the moniker “Lesionread.” Shot at the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Arts, the video took about five days to edit. Is the entire thing a piss take? Maybe. But it is so damn clever and so well done that it could easily inspire old and young bands alike to go out on a limb and try something different with a video. The enthusiasm and energy on display are contagious, and it’s refreshing to see a band come out with something devoid of the Warhol/Velvet Underground-influenced hazy, DIY cliché.
In the Sleepy Hahas you have four Buffalonians who take their craft seriously and have the gear and the chops to prove it. Singer/guitarist/songwriter Pat Butler’s ability to craft a tune reveals a deep understanding of rock history, and the band made the wise choice spend its money on the greatest gear possible and hiring Paul Hamann (of Black Keys fame) to mix and master its soon-to-be released debut album, Dull Days. That is the type of dedication I can get behind.
I seldom like anything at all, but I absolutely love this video, this song, and this band. Latching your wagon to the Sleepy Hahas’ star now is the equivalent of buying Apple stock while the company was being run out of Steve Jobs’ garage.