The Melismatics “Digging Deep”

The MelismaticsArtist:
Justin Staggs
Add Date:
December 22, 2009


Hello friends, it’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo, here to direct your attention to a terrific new song and its crisply-shot accompanying clip. Here at HIP, we’re proud of where we’re from, and we appreciate artists who maintain a similar connection to their home bases no matter how successful they become. Both The Melismatics and video director Justin Staggs are world-class talents, and the work they do can be (and generally is!) appreciated wherever they go. The Melismatics have reached a national audience with their infectious recordings — much-loved albums, singles, and EPs that feature an irresistible hybrid of power-pop, garage punk, radio-ready alternative rock, and gutter disco. Their songs have been featured on Laguna Beach and The Hills; they’ve scored indie movies and performed on festival stages. Staggs has shot clips for some of the country’s most popular punk bands, including Against Me!, Strike Anywhere, The Soviettes, and NOFX. But Staggs and The Melismatics are all loyal Minneapolis residents first — the band is a favorite on the Twin Cities club circuit — and that shared frame of reference makes them an easy fit. Together, they’ve made a video that highlights the best characteristics of both the director and the musicians.

Not that the winning qualities of Melismatics are obscured — they’re front and center in everything the band does. Frontman and principal songwriter Ryan Smith leads with his catchy riffs, his instantly-memorable melodies, and his acrobatic voice. “Digging Deep”, the latest single from the multifaceted, ambitious The Acid Test, is a soaring midtempo rocker with a stinging guitar solo that echoes the song’s gorgeous singalong chorus. It’s a song about self-examination, and Smith sings it with uncommon commitment; by the end of the track, he’s roaring as ferociously as the band, aflame with passion. It’s easy to see why John Fields wanted to work with the group — they’re every bit as compelling and tuneful as the other groups who the successful producer has recorded (Jimmy Eat World, Rooney, Switchfoot).

Ryan Smith is a natural for video; he’s got a commanding camera presence and a striking sense of fashion. Singer-guitarist Kathie “Pony” Hixon-Smith, drummer Ron Caron, and bassist Mark Wade are sharp-looking, too — especially under the stagelights. There’s plenty of performance footage in the “Digging Deep” clip, but as we’ve come to expect from the imaginative Justin Staggs, there’s a twist: the band rocks in front of a range of crystalline mountains. It’s a fantastic scene — like something out of a particularly psychedelic children’s book — and it fits the tone of the rest of the video. Smith begins the clip in a plush pink chair in a slightly stuffy-looking home — but by the time he reaches the second verse, the walls behind him begin to swing. He’s at the center of a rotating panorama, and the backdrop keeps scrolling by. Some of the antique picture frames behind him contain moving images: footage of the Melismatics in action. As the tilt-a-whirl travels in its dizzy arc, we see that his band is on a sofa right next to him, sipping tea, reading books, and looking, bemused, at their passionate singer.

It is a huge pleasure to bring you another fantastic Justin Staggs-directed video and we are psyched to be working with Ryan Smith and The Melismatics to do so. If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779 or e-mail us at You can also visit to find out more about The Melismatics.

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