With the long-awaited opening of Bradford’s Sunbridge Wells tunnels now imminent, Bradford indie rock band Kascarade are feeling the anticipation even more than most.
So inspired were they by the project, that they literally went underground, into the tunnels to film the video for their latest single The Start of It All.
The four minute video was shot deep down in the labyrinth beneath the city centre. The historic tunnels, leading from Aldermanbury to Ivegate – Bradford’s oldest street – are due to re-open to the public as a quirky underground bar, market and art hub, which is expected to be a massive attraction for the city.
Despite Sunbridge Wells’ historic links with the music scene, the Kascarade production is believed to be the first-ever rock video made of a band performing within the tunnels. In the 1960s, they housed a nightclub, played by Jimi Hendrix and The Pretty Things, while the Beatles played the top deck of the building at an after-hours gig.
The Start of It All is the title track on Kascarade’s recently-released debut album which also features songs from the band’s first five years.
Maf Milnes, founding member and lead vocalist with the five-piece band, said: “The tunnels have been closed since the ’60s and it is said that the Beatles played there after a gig at the Odeon (Gaumont).
“The talk on the street is that Sunbridge Wells could now open in just a few weeks’ time. We hope it will draw parallels with the band’s recently re-released first album as well as the ongoing rebirth of Bradford city centre. We felt it would be the perfect setting for our video with its own story linking past and future.
“The video also features scenes from a derelict mill, a now lost regeneration project which serves as a visual reminder that, for each success in life, there are also failures to overcome.
“Shooting down there was great fun. It’s an incredibly atmospheric environment which we all hope will prove to be a big visitor attraction for our city. We will definitely be doing something really special to celebrate around the launch – so all I can say is ‘watch this space’.”
Filming in an relatively dark underground location, with its as-yet unopened shops and bars, was not without its own special challenges, said videographer Ian Hudson, of P13 Digital Media.
We hope it will draw parallels with the band’s recently re-released first album as well as the ongoing rebirth of Bradford city centre.Maf Milnes
He explained: “Work was still in progress within the tunnels and we were keen to capture that. So ladders, work lights and building materials were effectively part of our set. With this in mind, we used just two video lights to cast a shadow from the staircase onto the walls.
“The light within Sunbridge Wells is fairly warm and welcoming so, to emphasise that the video was filmed towards the evening, it was coloured with a colder blue look. Purely for aesthetics we used a smoke machine to create a light smoke that swirled around and drifted away quickly, given the size of the tunnels – so keeping a check on smoke levels was a task in itself.
“The video was filmed on a custom lens, using vintage Russian glass, which was then rebuilt as a modern cinema lens by a British company called Motion Six. On top of that, a modern anamorphic adapter was added, to provide a lens flare similar to that often seen in cinema. So the lens, like Sunbridge Wells itself, was an amalgamation of old and new.
“When recording a performance-style video, it’s important to ensure the performance on the video syncs with the final mastered version of the song that people will buy. Adrenalin created while performing can cause a slight increase in tempo, so a studio-recorded version of the track was played in the background to keep everything in sync.
“The final video features a few cut scenes with computerised effects of the derelict mill with light writing of the type often photographed by urban explorers. These serve as a reminder that some of our heritage, unlike Sunbridge Wells, isn’t so fortunate as to be brought back into use.”
Kascarade’s sound draws on their wide range of influences from 1960s to 1990s rock and pop genres. The album itself is described as “an uplifting and atmospheric collection of songs” that have been crafted and self-produced in the band’s very own studio, based in the industrial surroundings of the former Try Mills wool mill on Preston Street, Bradford.
It speaks of new beginnings, hopes and dreams, fond reminisces into the past, while driving its way into a future led lovingly on by catchy synth hooks and melodic guitar riffs with “kick-down-the-door” drum loops that lead you on a path of aspiration and inspiration from a melting pot of influences.
The track name now has added poignancy for lead singer Maf, who recently welcomed into the world a new baby daughter – and another reason to celebrate The Start of it All.
Kascarade play at The Underground, Duke Street, Bradford, on Saturday December 10. Doors 8pm, admission free. www.kascarade.com