Lumineers visit Ramsey NJ, shoot new video for ‘Brightside’ album
Three Ramsey High School graduates traveled a long, winding road before meeting in November to shoot a music video in their alma mater.
The result – The Lumineers “AM radio“- takes viewers through the halls and walls of the 85-year-old building to the sound of a song from the band’s fourth album, Brightside, due out in January.
“It’s a story of love and friendship,” said creative director Nick Bell (class of 2001), who suggested the location and oversaw the production.
Lumineers singer / guitarist Wesley Schultz (class of 2001) and drummer Jeremiah Fraites (class of 2004) have been performing together since 2005, when a “happy accident” brought them together at a mutual friend’s house.
âJer used to hang out with my younger brother Samuel, and sometimes he came with the family with us,â Schultz said in a phone interview from Denver last week. “But in high school, three years old are worlds apart, so when this friend suggested we get together to jam, I wasn’t so sure.”
The two clicked and have written and performed ever since. They started with cafes in Allendale and Ridgewood and eventually opened for U2 and Tom Petty between tours promoting their own work.
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âYou take any location that will allow you to play and sometimes your family and friends are the bulk of the audience,â Schultz said. “The only way to do that is to tour a lot. You have to get out.”
Their debut album won Lumineers Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best American Album in 2013.
But five months after a two-year tour to promote their 2019 album, III, the duo were shut down by COVID last March. Fraites was also in the process of moving to his wife’s hometown in Italy, but the two kept in touch and found their separation inspired a new direction in their music.
âThis time it was bare bones,â Fraites said. “Wes just had these [shoddy] very low-fi iPhone recordings that left a lot more to the imagination than previous processes, and it was exciting. It took me 20 years to play like I’m a teenager again. ”
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Bell hung on to the duo after seeing one of their first performances, offering to do their graphics for free until the Lumineers could afford to hire him as creative director.
âI took their cover photo,â Bell said in a telephone interview. “When they were arrested they said ‘you are our guy’.”
So Schultz and Fraites agreed when Bell suggested filming at Ramsey High School for three days in November, although they had to come from Denver, Italy and the Bronx for the shoot.
âI remember losing a ring on the hill in front of the high school during a snowball fight,â Schultz said. âIt took me three hours to find it. “
Principal Michael Thumm was Bell’s high school guidance counselor and was thrilled with the proposal.
âNick was a student who only wanted to focus on art,â Thumm said. “All of his notebooks, from algebra to social studies, were filled with sketches that made little reference to the disciplines for which they were intended.”
Bell said Thumm’s response to their requests was “whatever you want,” and they enlisted the help of students and staff as extras and assistants. Student Mike Peters served both.
âBeing able to get up close to the camera and watch how each one was doing their specific job was very instructive,â said Peters. “For my scene as an extra, we shot for about an hour or two, although they ended up only using a few seconds.”
Mike said the experience “reassured me that cinematography is what I want to do in the future.”
Schultz said they are still working on a return to touring, depending on how the pandemic progresses over the winter.
âBut wherever we go, being from New Jersey is a badge of honor,â Schultz said.
Marsha Stoltz is a local reporter for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
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