The Claudettes’ Johnny Iguana had a feeling his sister-in-law Kate Stone, a Brooklyn-based graphic artist, could do something special with one of the band’s songs.
And her stop-motion animation video for “Taco Night Material,” premiering exclusively below, shows his instinct was spot-on.
The fast-paced clip, which Stone created using photographic cut-outs and a diorama-style set, is an energetic, nonstop visual feast of images, including a singing stove, a birthday cake, taco bowls, skeletons, insects, dead tree trunks growing through the floor and scores of other effects. “It was entirely made by hand, with no digital manipulation,” Stone tells Billboard. “It took about eight hours to animate every 30 seconds of the video — a time-consuming but very rewarding process, and we’re all very excited about the results.”
It’s not just art for art’s sake, either. The video interprets the song’s story, inspired by a friend of Iguana’s whose marriage lasted just a few months. “I hadn’t seen him in that whole time, so invited him over for a drink in my basement and asked him what happened,” Iguana recalls. “He didn’t want to talk about it, but his answer was ‘I realized I wasn’t exactly taco night material’ — meaning the whole domestic husband and wifey thing was not for him.” But Iguana twisted that inspiration into a psychobilly murder ballad about marital resentment that turns fatal.
“The song is the confession of a woman who finds herself trapped in an oppressively dull marriage,” Stone explains. “Facing a future of agonizingly domestic ‘taco-night Tuesdays,’ she chooses murder over a life of never-ending wifey responsibilities. It’s a Women’s Empowerment anthem…” The clip also includes some imagery drawn from 16th-century Vanitas paintings, “but here the still lifes are not still at all,” she notes.
The video serves as a bridge between the Claudettes’ latest album, Dance Scandal At The Gymnasium!, and its next project, which the group has just started recording with producer Tedd Hutt (Flogging Molly, the Gaslight Anthem, Old Crow Medicine Show) in Chicago. “We made 18 demos to send to him, and he asked me from the beginning if I was up for real discussion about each and every song,” Iguana says. “He has a lot of strong feelings about composition and arrangement — and that’s what we want. All I know is that all his records that I can find sound really good and cohesive, so I’m really excited to see what he can do with us.”