Fol Chen emerged last year with John Shade: Your Fortune's Made, a loosely conceptual album set in singer Sam Bing's mythologized Long Island, which his band rebuilt in Highland Park. The latest piece of the puzzle is a unique music video for "The Longer U Wait" directed by Chris Wilcha, aka the Emmy award winning director of the late, lamented This American Life series on Showtime.
Wilcha was in Bengal, India, directing a commercial and found himself with 4 rolls of leftover film, 2 hours of sunlight, and a handsome Indian actor, the "Johnny Depp of India," according to Wilcha. He called Bing and asked if he could have this Johnny Depp rigged to a fortune-telling robot sit in a supply truck and sing "The Longer U Wait" in Hindi. "He needed a structure to exist in. It was all opportunistic, having exactly two hours to make it. But the Hindi version obliterated the melody of the song," Wilcha tells us. "So we did a straight lip synch and he learned the song incredibly quickly, in 5 minutes!" The fortune-telling robot is popular in Mumbai and could possibly be an apparatus from Demolition Man
Wilcha put his cellphone in the actor's pocket so he could hear the song and dived into some long-shot magic. He adds, "Then there's a change in the song and you get in the person's head where it's all fractured." The shoot was almost as satisfying as seeing the Laker Girls dance in a pool for the first Fol Chen video he directed, "Cable TV."
Sam Bing says he and Wilcha met over "...mutual bad habits. That's not a drug reference. It's also not sex related." He appreciates that Wilcha thinks he suffers from "Discosis," a funky pop illness that dramatically improves as the infection deepens. About the song's origin, Bing explains, "I like to talk about the weather a lot. When you move out here you get nostalgic about weather." This version of the song appears on remix EP The Longer U Wait (free download here) sung by another L.A. artist named Simone White, who we'll remeet on a new Fol Chen album this June.
In the meantime, Fol Chen has released a few cover songs. They did Pink Floyd's "In The Flesh" for a MOJO compilation, and Prince's "The Beautiful Ones" for Spin's tribute album. Bing was especially excited about covering his favorite Purple Rain song. He cried watching Prince perform at the Superbowl.
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Chris Wilcha getting beat up on TV (wearing white shirt):
Or check this Chris Wilcha dedicated site.