When Sam Owens launched his solo project, Sam Evian, he called upon Adam Heathcott and Sara Padgett Heathcott for creative direction. The two released Enter Ghost by Owens's band Celestial Shore on their label Hometapes in 2014—the same year the two relocated from Portland to Durham—but this would be a new sort of collaboration.
Instead of putting out the future Sam Evian LP (that'll be Saddle Creek's job), the Heathcotts have undertaken Owens's visual aesthetics for the album cycle as a part of their multimedia arm Endless Endless. Their latest effort is the gorgeous new video for Sam Evian's "Sleep Easy," the first single from the forthcoming Premium.
For the video, Sara and Adam recruited their pal Kym Register and her motorcycle for an afternoon in late May. At The Pinhook, the three discussed their work with Owens on the video and what made it so special. You can watch the dreamy short below, too.
How did you get to know Sam? Adam Heathcott:Initially, I met him through Shil (Patel) from Team Clermont. He came to Friend Island at South by Southwest 2013. Shil knows my taste because we’ve worked with him forever, and he was like, “You’ll love Sam’s band.” Sam was really nice. I got home, put on the record, and was like, “Yep, I love this, this is awesome,” and called her (Sara) and was like, “I’m going to go ahead and start talking to this artist, because we should do their stuff.”
Sara Padgett Heathcott: It was a long build-up. It was a classic Hometapes love affair sitch. That carried over from Portland to Durham. Enter Ghost was happening, it was one of the projects that made the move with us. All the while, we’d been talking to Sam about other things he was working on. But suddenly, Sam Evian appeared. Sam Evian appeared fully formed for us. He sent us the full record. It was still being put together a bit, and he’d been talking to Saddle Creek. He had a manager he had been working with, and he wanted to work with us as creative direction, basically, in the capacity that we were strongest with him for Celestial Shore. Sam’s also from New Bern, which is notable.
AH: That was the thing, he was really excited when we moved to North Carolina, because he comes down quite a bit. His family is still down here. I guess when Sam met Kym the first time was when Celestial Shore played the Pinhook, and his parents came.
You’ve been doing Hometapes for a while, but when did Endless Endless get going? SPH: We gave it a name in 2015. Just recently.
AH: We’ve been making stuff for twenty-one, twenty-two years. We were around film people at SCAD when we were in Savannah, and all of our friends did that. I did sound design and worked in that building doing IT, and we did documentaries instead of term papers in school.
SPH: Motion documentation has been synonymous with still documentation for us. We were also shooting videos for Hometapes bands on our own, out of creative vision or out of budget needs, forever. I think a lot of people were able to see our work in print, and our work in event planning and all of that, and put it together. And we had a few people that trusted us from the beginning, and asked us, “What if we made a video?” That was Pallbearer, and that was Sylvan Esso.
AH: Day job-wise, I’ve been on commercial sets since I was a little kid. It’s what my dad did, and then I did it for a bit. The last place I worked in Portland was a lot more hands-on. When you’re in a big agency, you tell people what to do, but you don’t actually get to do a lot of it, which is frustrating. I don’t always like sharing some of that load. So yeah, getting more and more into that. We started getting hyped on doing that stuff more in Portland. We did a Trans-Am video for Thrill Jockey, and started a Pallbearer video.
SPH: We did the Matthew E. White videos as well.
AH: Yeah, the Matthew E. White videos were in collaboration with the company I was working at at the time. They came out here for Hopscotch, and we filmed two videos. It’s been ramping up, but then when I stopped working there, and we moved out here, we were like, “Let’s give it a name, and it be more than just the videos, but kind of our creative output.”
SPH: We’d done so much that was outside of the label roster. It was always funny. We would say, “By Hometapes,” and people would say, “But that’s the label!” It was a decision to just help us with the outside public. But really, I love it. It felt great to give it a name.
How did this video start to happen? SPH: Do you remember me asking you?
Kym Register: Yeah, outside of Moogfest at Motorco, or something. My part was just “get on the bike and show up,” and then Adam and Sara were just like, “Just ride your motorcycle.”
SPH: We’ve been hanging out with Kym a lot, because we live here and she makes us feel better than almost anybody. We’ve been talking about Loamlands’ creative direction in the same capacity we’re working with Sam. So we’ve been thinking a lot about Kym and her whole world, how she exists, how she looks. Thinking about photographing her, thinking about portraying her giant identity into the world through music formats and video formats, things like that. A lot of knowing Kym is just being around her and being with her. I’ve been trying to get on her motorcycle forever.
KR: I’ve been trying to get you on my motorcycle forever. But now, it’s not going to happen.
SPH: The next best thing was Sam. We were shooting his press photos and stuff in New York, and he got on this motorcycle in this shot, and that ended up being the seven-inch cover for Sam Evian. Motorcycles became an instant theme of something. We didn’t really go into it that way. But when he got to North Carolina, he was like, “Do you guys know anybody with a motorcycle?” And we’re like, “Yep.” Everything converges, and it’s awesome. The Durham vibe is that you’re able to hang out with your friends and make the coolest looking thing, if you’ve got a little bit of time and trust.
AH: It’s kind of why we moved here.
KR: I was like, “Okay, you guys want to do it on Tuesday?” I had to leave an hour after we were done to go to Portland.
SPH: And then we were like, “Where are we gonna go? Roxboro. It’s close enough.” We’re still learning the roads.
AH: It’s one of the few places we sort of know our way around.
SPH: We knew we could drive up next to her in the jeep and shoot out of it. It was a very fast consideration of safety and rules.
KR: Safety first. Safety third, really.
AH: I was about to say—I’m safety first, Sara’s probably safety second. The reality is, you need someone as a driver that can be aggressive in a certain way. And Sara is a road dog, so she’s the right person for that. I kind of like hanging out of the window, so that works. And while I’m safety guy, I also was not telling Sara about the stunts, because she’s watching the road.
SPH: I had no idea Kym was stunting so hard. I caught a glimpse of it. I caught a little bit of it and instantly started sweatin’.
KR: Adam was warning me where cops were. Adam was like, “Just ride your bike, just ride your bike.” And I was like, “Just ride my bike. Okay, well, I’ll do what I normally do,” because I like to tool around a little bit with my bike. It’s fun. Otherwise I get a little bit bored.
SPH: It was a great reward when I went into the edit. I had no idea.
AH: No, she hadn’t seen any of it. She was like, “Dude! Dude!”
SPH: We dumped all of the footage, and scanning through it, I’m like, “Holy shit.” When you’re just two people, it’s hard to hold back on info, so that was kind of sweet. And I was able to build a narrative out of it, I guess.
So this all came together just a month ago? AH: The whole thing in, like, seventy-two hours. Ninety-six?
SH: And we planned it in a day or two. We came up with the idea to do it probably the day before we saw Kym, asked Kym, and then Tuesday was just the day. It was all rainy during Moogfest. That was going to be the best weather day, and then she was leaving. So it was our last chance. I edited that Friday night.
KR: I literally spoke to Sam for about five minutes before he got on the back of my motorcycle. Then it was just like, “I guess this is how we’re going to get to know each other. Cool.” By second ten or something, he was putting his arms around me. It just felt so right. It felt so natural. I was like, “Yeah, do whatever you want!” He asked me one time, and then I was just like, “You are the most gentle human, you can literally do whatever you want, and don’t ever tell anyone that.”
AH: That video was nice, because it was like, “Let’s just set up a really slack hang and capture it,” and that breezy feeling. The whole record is that nice feeling. So doing this video first was really cool. We’re going to be doing some more stuff with him. The photographs for the seven-inch are really stylized and very studio, and this is very natural and raw, which I liked. Adding Kym in the mix seemed like the right thing. To me, Sam Evian’s not the guy that would ever drive. I think that’s cool.
SHP: Which is kind of a modern thing. He’s sleeping in the last minute of it, which, to me, is a pretty intense commentary on everything. The whole world’s passing him by. He has this gatekeeper showing him the most beautiful thing, and he can’t stay awake.
AH: It’s cool when music can reflect life in that way, and I think he’s open to that. He’s not a jock. He’s not some rock ‘n’ roll hero with a cool leather vest shreddin’ a solo with his foot up on the monitor. That’s not Sam. Sam is someone that’s very thoughtful and very unique in the way that he sees things and expresses himself.
SPH: And really open to being the platform on which people can ask questions. That’s been the coolest part of working with him. He really wants to tear up the very world that he’s entering, which is great. That’s all that we want to do. What’s cool about the video—even people that know how we did it though that it was Sam riding the motorcycle to start. That instant where he just cruises into the frame, and you realize it’s him, that’s the money shot.
AH: And you don’t really find out who is driving until pretty far into it, which I like as well. And it’s Kym—local badass, Kym Register.
SPH: We did not plant the turtle.
AH: The turtle was real. We sent them out to do the sleep shot. They rolled back in and were like, “We found a turtle in the road! We saved a turtle!” They were super excited about it.
KR: We were driving around and saw a turtle, and Sam was like, “Oh,” and I just heard the sadness. I was like, “Yeah, dude, we’ll go save it.”