Yellow Card
Photos courtesy of Razor & Tie

The most important video we have ever made

by Ryan Key

Making music videos in today’s music business can be a tricky thing. Budgets are tight, and I personally have grown tired of the “set up the band and film them playing” version. This past summer, leading up to the release of our newest LP, Lift a Sail, we were on the Vans Warped Tour traveling across the country. I spent some of my time on the tour hanging out at the Invisible Children tent, signing autographs, taking pictures, and trying to raise awareness and funding for their cause. Which leads me to how our new video for the song “One Bedroom” came to be.

Invisible Children is a non profit started by three documentary filmmakers who traveled to East Africa in 2003 in search of a story. What they found there was an ongoing war led by a vicious warlord named Joseph Kony. He calls his army the Lord’s Resistance Army or LRA. He builds his infantry by abducting young boys and brainwashing them, transforming them into lethal killing machines.

The original documentary films that were made to raise awareness of this conflict became very intertwined in the world of rock music that we are a part of. I remember attending a Fall Out Boy show in 2005 and seeing the film on the video screens before the show. Over the last few years I have become close friends with Alexander Collins, the Artist Relations Music Manager for IC. We have attempted to plan a trip to Uganda to visit the IC facilities there but scheduling conflicts have gotten in the way. But that leads me to the Warped Tour and how our video came to be.

Yellow Card FlierIC developed a method of dropping ‘defection fliers’ from the sky over enemy territory in an effort to help abductees return to safety and defect from the LRA. I believe they have dropped somewhere close to 1.5 million of these fliers. So as I was working with IC this summer, our manager called me one night and suggested an idea for a video. What if we followed one of these fliers to the ground and told the story of a young man finding his freedom and reconnecting with his family? I was immediately attracted to this idea. We have never really had the chance to lend our music to something so much bigger than ourselves, and since I have developed a friendship with Alex, I was excited to be a part of it. At this point we had not yet chosen a single from the record.

Yellow CardOne Bedroom” is a love song written for my wife, inspired by our time spent in Denver, CO last year. She is a professional snowboarder from Russia and suffered a tragic spinal cord injury while training in April 2013. After her initial hospitalization we had to move to Denver to start her rehabilitation. It was the beginning of a journey that we are still navigating today. The question was, “How do we connect the inspiration for this song with the inspiration for this video?”.

I really wanted this idea to work, so I made the suggestion of telling a love story in conjunction with the story of the LRA and Invisible Children’s effort to end the conflict. The idea of a young man and woman being separated when the young man is taken by the LRA, but finding each other again with the help of a defection flier. It came together perfectly. We were even able to create a flier with a message from the band, encouraging the soldiers to lay down their weapons and return home.

I think this is the most important video we have ever made. I think it is positive and inspiring, the way that my wife’s fight to recover has been positive and inspiring, creating a symmetry between two totally different ideas. We were told that our fliers will actually be dropped somewhere over Eastern Africa, and we are so looking forward to seeing someone returned home with one in their hands.

As a band we are constantly searching for ways to stay inspired and to inspire others. Working with Invisible Children on this project accomplished both. Also, for every 100,000 views the video receives online, our record label, Razor & Tie Records will donate $1,000 to Invisible Children. So all you have to do to help is watch.

Ryan Key

About Ryan Key

Ryan Key is the lead singer of the alternative-rock band Yellowcard. After two of the most eventful years of his life, including meeting and marrying his wife Alyona, a professional snowboarder, and seeing her suffer a spinal cord injury, Yellowcard's new record Lift a Sail is the kind of emotional cathartic album you would expect after such experiences. Please follow Yellowcard on Facebook and Twitter.

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