Photo by Christine Solomon
New Zealand rock outfit Black Smoke Trigger have shown a unique level of commitment to their craft. Recently debuting their first presentation of new music since their 2019 EP, Set It Off , the band debuted the raucous single "The Way Down" and with it, shared a visual that truly defied death for the sake of art and showmanship.
Aligning with the thematic emphasis of the track, the music video for "The Way Down" builds to the suspenseful crescendo that has the makings to become the stuff of hard rock lore. With the highest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere as the backdrop, Black Smoke Trigger perform nearly 650 feet in sky atop The Auckland Sky Tower.
Adding to the spectacle, the video culminates with a truly soaring solo that features guitarist Charlie Wallace flying off the edge of the Auckland Sky Tower, all the while shredding on his way down. The death-defying feat captured on film for for the sake of song is one that warrants some additional context direct from the band - like the fact that Wallace had to actually make the jump twice in order to get the footage needed for the cut.
Wallace further explained, "I've always liked the idea of making a music video for a song, a literal definition of the title. Like when we filmed a music video underwater for our track 'Caught In The Undertow'. So for 'The Way Down' I closed my eyes and thought... What's the highest place we could perform this song, then jump off to have a literal definition of 'The Way Down'? The Auckland Sky Tower here in New Zealand is the tallest free standing structure in the southern hemisphere - it had to be this building!"
Wallace shared, "When I pitched the idea to the band, no one else was too thrilled about the idea of jumping off a skyscraper. So, I ended up drawing the short straw for that one. Standing on the outside edge of the tower, 630 feet up, at night with a helicopter circling around us while filming – it was surreal. We had to do some serious engineering to set up the drum kit securely, and Baldrick was the mastermind behind it.
He built a custom platform and did all the welding to make sure everything stayed put. Then had to direct the stunt team on how to put the drum kit together standing on the outside platform at the top of the tower. It took a bit of convincing to let me play the guitar solo while falling 630ft from the outside edge of the building, and some custom metal clamps that attached to a harness so the guitar didn't fall away from me.
It was quite the experience jumping off such a tall building while playing a guitar solo, and to get the coverage we needed for the video, as soon as I jumped once, I had to run to the elevator and jump off again straight away. There was obviously quite a dangerous element to making this video a reality but the stunt team really did a great job, because none of us fell off unintentionally."
Wallace added, "Because we were doing something that had never been done before, and could be considered extreme, we came up with some ideas to add some humour to the video. You'll see Baldrick (Black Smoke Trigger vocalist) popping up as various characters throughout the storyline – that added a fun twist to the whole adventure.We managed to capture a lot of footage behind the scenes so we could share with you what went on.”
As a postscript to better frame the band's wildly ambitious music video, Black Smoke Trigger have shared a thoroughly entertaining behind-the-scenes look at the making of "The Way Down". Sourcing testimonials and outtake footage, the mini-doc provides the backstory from concept to execution of the insane stunt and depicts just how the band pulled off such a feat.