A MODERN PRODUCTION WITH A REMINISCENT FEEL
by Sharon Rondeau and Jimmy Copens
(Jun. 28, 2012) — Several days ago, The Post & Email was contacted by the producer of a video with original music composed by a team of artists. The song can be downloaded from Broadjam.com and was produced outside of Nashville, TN.
The following is our interview with Jimmy Copens, one of the songwriters for “I Want My Country Back.”
Who wrote the music? Were the musicians in the video a group before, or was this their first time together?
I wrote the music for I Want My Country Back on a MacBook Pro using Logic Studio. With the exception of some drum samples and another guitar track from Sam Cooper, I played everything else. Sam and I produced and mixed this song, intentionally giving it a loose feel, not fine tuned by Nashville standards. We intentionally wanted it to sound more like something that came out of someone’s garage studio rather than something from a big studio down on Music Row. It is as much an art form as it is music. Sam and I both happen to be big fans of 70’s music where a lot of it was released with something left in the mix that would otherwise be tweaked or edited out digitally today.
The songwriters are Jimmy Copens, Phillip Austin Mikula, James Reed and Sam Cooper.
How long did it take to put together the video? Have you produced others in the past, or is this your first?
I used to produce commercials for radio and television, so I’m pretty familiar with the process. It was a good friend of mine, Rick Stewart, who introduced me to Robert Brightup. At the time, I had no idea Robert was only 17 years old and still in high school. He was as professional as anyone I’ve ever worked with and I was impressed by his business acumen and his approach to the project right from the start. He told me he really liked this song, and wanted to make his first music video, and asked if I could help him produce it. Of course I said yes, having no idea what might come from it.
The raw elements for the music video only took a few days to film. Robert knew some folks with a farm just north of Nashville and asked them if we could film there. After we had their permission, Robert asked if I wanted to ride out to the farm with him to see the place before we started filming, but I said, let’s just start filming when we get there, who knows what we’ll get. By the time we walked out into one of the fields to film by an old building with a tractor, the donkeys came over to us, and basically hung around the entire time. A week later we went out to the farm again and filmed more footage with me and my girlfriend Annalisa. I’m pretty rough around the edges and I knew she would soften some of the other footage I was putting into the video. I knew going into this that I wanted to keep a rural, country, farm feel underneath it all.
Around this time, I was also on the phone with another friend of mine, Craig Stevens, who lives outside Denver, and he said he’d shot some footage of the Occupy Wall Street movement there and wanted to know if we were interested in using it. Craig mailed the pictures and footage to Robert, and we wound up incorporating quite a bit of it into the video.
The edit was really where most of our time was spent and for anyone who’s been through the process, it can be grueling. It took about a week for us to review the footage, make notes to the storyboard, and compile all the “commercial use” images and footage. We are so grateful to the people who uploaded and granted commercial use of their work on the internet; we couldn’t have done it without them.
Do you plan on making others with the same theme?
That’s hard to say right now. We’re so busy promoting this video, we haven’t had time to think about another one, although Robert’s business is taking off. The YouTube views have nearly tripled overnight and people seem to be grabbing on to this message, so you never know what might happen. Sam and I are writing another song based around the same theme as well, so its definitely a possibility.
We knew we had to release this project independently because so much of country music today isn’t ready to address police brutality and widespread meth use–it’s outside their comfort zone. Besides Shooter Jennings’ “Summer of Rage
,” we’re not aware of anyone else in country music speaking out about these issues. I grew up listening to Waylon Jennings and other outlaw country artists, so for me the theme of this song was right up my alley.
What do you believe is the most important thing people should take away after watching the video?
I believe mankind shares a single common bond, and that is our desire to be free. Freedom is so important, because without freedom, you can’t be an entrepreneur like Robert, you can’t be an artist, a store owner, or anything else for that matter.
When the TSA or Homeland Security, the people who swear oaths to serve and protect us, whose salaries we pay, start putting their hands in our pants, grope our women and children, set up roving, unlawful, suspicion-less checkpoints and treat us like criminals, its clear the system is out of control and needs to be put back in check. City after city claims to be bankrupt or running out of money, but there’s no shortage of new weapons and spy technology being aimed at us.
People who say to me, I Want My Country Back, are fed up with both Democrats and Republicans. This isn’t a racial issue like the mainstream media makes it out to be. We’re all in this together. This nation was founded upon the principle of freedom. In a free Republic, 99% of the people can’t tell 1% how to live. When I hear people say the government is taking away their rights, or they’re losing their rights, I explain to them that I have a different perspective on the issue of rights. Government is our servant. Who is the government to grant us anything? We grant them privileges. Our rights come from God, they’re inherent, we’re born with them, and they can’t ever be taken away from us unless we give our consent.