Near the end of 2016, Scott Uhl, the man behind Spiral Cell, brought us his first full release with The Maze in the Tree Rings, a highly conceptual album blending the lines of progressive rock with contemporary video game soundtracks that had us questioning artificial intelligence versus reality. Now at the crest of 2018, he’s released the premiere video for the first song of from that record, aptly known as “Prologue.”
I won’t go into too much detail, but my first impressions of the video were that it was either: A) a post apocalyptic world with someone visiting from another planet perhaps to gain knowledge of Earth's demise, or B) someone surfacing from a sci-fi bunker after some cataclysmic world event. Either way, it’s mysterious, thrilling, and seems to fit well with the actual music.
I got a moment to catch up with Scott via a phone interview, and though he admits the video fits nicely into his conceptual creation for The Maze in the Tree Rings, he also wasn’t about to spoil my own interpretations of his music and the video. Spiral Cell is highly conceptual through and through, and though Scott admits he has a vision for what the story of the video is, he stands true on the ideal that “art is in the eye of the beholder,” which means he wants us to have the freedom to take from what he creates instead of telling us what Spiral Cell is fully about.
What Scott was willing to tell us about Spiral Cell and the video for “Prologue” without spoiling any surprises were some behind-the-scenes details:
First and foremost, the same people involved in the recording of the music are featured in the video. Scott’s wife Danielle, who is featured singing on some tracks of his last record, was the makeup designer and a body double; the “woman” creature is Mackenzie Beyer, who was the voice of “the guide” on several tracks; and of course, Scott himself is the hazmat suit-wearing, flashlight-wielding explorer.
Scott also shared that though the video was filmed on three different locations on three different nights, each night of filming, observers called the police to the film scene due to the creepy nature of him walking around with a flashlight and hazmat suit and because the fog machines used were mistaken for fires. Yet, he said in each situation the police allowed them to continue their production and wished him well in its completion.
One of my favorite behind-the-scene hints came up when I asked Scott about how he was structuring “Prologue” into the storyline of the The Maze in the Tree Rings concept. The end of the video seems open-ended, as if it could be a finality or just the beginning, and “Prologue” in name and as the first song on the album begs the question: Is it the actual beginning, or is he telling a story in reverse Tarantino-fashion? Scott of course was enigmatic about all of it, but informed me that “Prologue” is not necessarily the beginning nor end of the story. “There are some subtle hints in the actual song that allude to where in the story ‘Prologue’ actually falls,” Scott told me, but he wants to leave it up to the listener to decide. Challenge accepted!
Spiral Cell may also have more for us on the horizon. “Though I wish I could make a video for every song, that’s not likely within my budget, but there will be more,” Scott said. He’s already planning a live performance video for one of the songs, but does not have a date set for its release.
Keep up with Scott and Spiral Cell on Facebook.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.