I think that’s part of it.” In addition to the video for “Small Plane,” their ongoing work together appears in the form of still portraits she’s still shooting, several of which, including ’s striking official press photo, find the famously taciturn artist doing something totally unexpected: smiling. Brevity and understatement have been hallmarks of Callahan’s 23-year career, both in conversation and song.He grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, in a house his parents — both of whom worked for the National Security Agency — rarely filled with music.At night, when the lights were out, he’d cuddle with a transistor radio in bed and “explore the world that way,” each station a link to other planets in the solar system, or so he thought.By his teens, he mostly turned the dial to WHFS, a progressive radio station that played reggae and hardcore punk, the latter a happening he’d seek out at local VFW halls.
He tried to “go the square route,” tried to “go to school and get a job,” even enrolling at the University of Maryland for a few semesters.“It’s kind of rare to meet someone that doesn’t bug you,” Callahan says.“But everyone liked her right away, just the way she is. I think she likes life, that she’s happy to be alive.“I like it when you make the plane dip a little bit, that looks cool,” Banks tells him as it glides across the frame. She only gets, ‘I Love Yo.’ That’s about it.” “That’s not it! “Keep going.” “Well,” Callahan says, reluctantly, “she decides, ‘Oh, I’m going to give the sign to him anyway, you know, because, I don’t know, that’s the only way I can express . But after two decades of writing and recording and offering creative direction of his own, “Small Plane” marks the first music video whose treatment he has written for someone else to film.
Callahan lets the plane bank toward the camera so we can see stars and stripes across its six-inch wingspan, has it shave a nearby mountain range before making a slow ascent toward her lens. She hops over to show him what they just shot, their foreheads touching for a moment, like magnets, as they watch. Like his early work in the ’90s and early 2000s under the now-defunct Smog alias, Callahan is not especially fond of any of his music videos. “You try to collaborate with someone or even just give yourself over completely . .” His voice trails off again, deeper now than it was then. I just never like anyone’s ideas.” “Let’s try this again,” says Banks, suggesting we return to the set.
Well known for his rich baritone voice and unique take on classic Americana, Bill Callahan has been a prolific artist over the years releasing 12 albums under the name Smog before shedding that to perform as Bill Callahan in 2007 and producing a further 5 albums.