When Montreal’s The Box had their Rockfest For Mental Health concert, scheduled for August 20th in L’Epiphane QC cancelled due to the on-going COVID-19 epidemic, event organizers asked band lead vocalist, Jean-Marc Pisapia, if he could do something to help this organization promote themselves on their website.
Pisapia immediately thought about re-recording one of the band’s classic tracks; “L’Affaire Dumoutier” which tells the story of a murder suspect who is found not guilty by reason of insanity.
“I knew we had to do something but I didn’t know what to do, I knew we had to keep it simple,” explained Pisapia from his Mont Tremblant residence. “I knew L’Affaire Dumoutier” made a lot of sense because of the song’s mental health subject matter so guitarist Francois Bruneau and I decided the two of us would do an “Unplugged” version of that song.”
But realizing he would need to cut a companion video for the mental health charity, Pisapia was at odds what to do. His final decision not only created a “home video” release of L’Affaire Dumoutier” but the resounding on-line success of that clip also sparked the band to record a second “home video” for their classic “Closer Together” hit.
“I drove out to Francois’ house, I had no idea what we were going to do, but I noticed that the back of his house is located right by Lake Shaughnessy, it was that time of day, the sun was going down, it was that “Golden Hour” between 6 p.m and 7 p.m. so I said why don’t we just take your boat out to the middle of the lake and shoot the video.”
So with Francois’ wife; Marie-Claude pointing her hand-held camera, Pisapia and Bruneau, lip-synched to the track while rowing their boat around the lake. Once Pisapia received the resulting footage, he edited the shoot into a video, positioned it on his Facebook page and by the next day, had racked up over 10,000 hits.
“Some people said they got seasick watching it,” joked Pisapia. “But within the month of September, we had received more than 53,000 hits resulting in our drummer Martin (Lapierre) phoning to say we should do another video for “Closer Together”
So Pisapia recorded another “Unplugged” version of the song with group members Bruneau, Lapierre, bassist Dan Volj, keyboardist Guillaume Jodoin and vocalist Isabelle Lemay and all the members, bar Jodoin, gathered around a campfire at the back of Pisapia’s residence with Marie-Claude helming another home video of the band lip-synching to the song while ad-libbing some zany choreography.
“It was just us improvising, everyone, being the crazy bastards we usually are,” laughed Pisapia. “We did about five or six takes, then I spent countless hours extracting every single bit that was interesting to come up with the final video.”
The “Closer Together” video had already connected with 5,000 hits in just three days and serves the purpose of keeping The Box in contact with their fan base while they wait out an epidemic that is currently paralyzing the world’s music industry.
“We had a lot of concert bookings in 2020 that have now been re-scheduled for 2021 but what else can we do?” mused Pisapia. “Isabelle, Martin and Guillaume, in particular, do not want to play anywhere in 2020 due to pre-existing conditions and young families so we just have to wait things out and play it by ear.”
The Box is scheduled to play major venue and theatre dates in April in Barrie, Pembroke, Niagara Falls Ontario and Collingwood and are still scheduled to perform July 1st at the 2021 Canada Day event In Brantford. Pisapia also hopes that the Rockfest For Mental Health concert can be rescheduled for August of next year.