Local band Through the Darkness wins award of excellence from Iowa Motion Picture Association
By BIONG BIONG and BRANDON HURLEY
Having recently been recognized by the Iowa Motion Picture Association for their music video Saving Silhouettes, Iowa band Through the Darkness is raising a bit of dust.
The band consists of Tyler Gathercoal, the drummer and manager, Kristopher Gathercoal, a lyricists, bass player, and artistic director, Andrew Gathercoal, a vocalist, Chaz Wessels, a guitarists and songwriter, Justin Saffell, a guitarist and graphic artist, and Cameron Stevens, a vocalist.
Having all grown up in Grand Junction, Iowa, except for Stevens, who is a cousin of Saffell, the group always had a bond growing up.
In recognition of the band’s music video, Saving Silhouettes, they were awarded the 31st Annual Iowa Motion Picture Award of Excellence from the Iowa Motion Picture Association. Tyler said the concept for the video came from a more expansive project the group is working on.
Tyler Gathercoal said he and Kristopher Gathercoal had come up with the idea of creating a fantasy-based album, and Saving Silhouettes is just one of the many worlds the band wishes to bring to life, and that it is just the beginning of an upcoming project dubbed, “The Worlds in the Winds.”
“When it comes down to, like, what we were thinking of, we wanted to just have a compilation of, uh, I would say stories,” Tyler Gathercoal said.
In the Saving Silhouettes video (which can be found at https://bit.ly/3yaMO2Q on Youtube), a young boy travels through a dense forest, seemingly on a journey to find treasure in a fantasy world he created. The band is also seen preforming in the forest. The production value is immense, with beautiful sights and sounds and even a few perfect splatters of CGI sprinkled throughout. The video is a magnificient seven minutes and 31 seconds in length. The video depicts the sprawling imagination of a young child, hoping to make a difference and creating adventures of their own. It opens with the child asking “if you live in a forest, does that mean you’re always alone?”
Though of course, the video proceeds to explain the answer to the question is a resounding no.
A majority of the scenes shot in the award-winning video were filmed at Squirrel Hollow park in Greene County, deep in the woods off the trail. The band also filmed shots at Clark Tower in Winterset as well as a property outside of Madrid. The musical performances seen in the video took place at Pound Pits in Grand Junction while the intro and outro were filmed in Grand Junction as well.
The young boy who stars in the video is Bentley Gathercoal.
The Saving Silhouettes video was directed by Kristopher Gathercoal and produced by Krisopther, Tyler Gathercoal and Tollef Sorenson. The piece was filmed and edited by Sorenson. The lyrics to the song were written by Tyler while Sorenson handled the award-winning special effects. The song itself is available on all streaming platforms. The video premiered to the public on May 22 of this year.
Kris originally began creating the story for the video back in 2018. By the spring of 2020 he had laid out the general storyline as well as how the music would impact the video. Most of that summer was spent scouting out locations while also filming. The entire filming process took six months, while the editing took even longer, lasting a full year. The length of it all didn’t both Sorenson and Kris, as they used the timeline to slow down and make the video as perfect as they envisioned.
Although, music was not always within the purview for all the members, adding that four of them had grown up with music, which includes Tyler, Andrew, Saffell and Wessels.
“My dad bought Kris and I a drum set when we were … 4 and 5, and drums have just been really a part of my life ever since,” Tyler Gathercoal said. “I was in the Bill Riley Talent Search when I was 7,9,10, and I won when I was 10 or 11.”
After winning in the younger division, Tyler Gathercoal went on to compete in the senior division when he was 22. He made it to the top 10.
Through the Darkness was not the first name for the band, however. Tyler Gathercoal said the name came about when the band, who had been going by a name which sounds strikingly similar to the reverse spelling of Nirvana, had a song titled “Through the Darkness.”
“Through the darkness, we find the light,” Tyler Gathercoal said. ”And so through all the bad things that happened, through all the challenges that we face, there’s always going to be some sort of ending, that like, we appreciate the battle we went through, and we overcame it as well.”
Tyler Gathercoal said when writing a song, the band takes time to put emphasis and meaning into it.
“We focus on melody a lot; we’re very melodic,” Tyler Gathercoal said. “When it comes down to why we write a song, it’s never just because, like, ‘We need to have a chorus here,’ it’s more so just like… the guitar tells a story, the vocals tell a story and the lyrics themselves tell a story.”
Most recently, Through the Darkness filmed a video for “Infinite Battleground” at several other locations in Greene County. They grabbed shots on top of the Sierra Theatre in Jefferson and filmed acting scenes at the 30 Yard Line in Grand Junction as well as Gravitate Coworking in Jefferson. The video won’t be released for viewing until February, though the band does plan to distribute two others prior to “Infinite Battleground’s” premiere.
“We’ve been working on this project for a long time,” Tyler Gathercoal said. “It’s beyond exciting to finally release some of what we’ve been up to.”