sci-fi video journey
Warren musician Dustin Wray is traveling 20 years into the future to promote his upcoming album.
Wray stars in a science fiction-themed music video — complete with space-age costumes, props and visual effects — for the song “I Got You,” the lead single from his upcoming album “Don’t Ask Me.” He estimated the budget at close to $9,000 for the 7-minute clip, which is directed by Alex Thomas at Nexus Studios in Youngstown.
“I guess there was really no way to do what I wanted to do without putting that money in,” said Wray, whose full name is Dustin Wray Hockensmith. “This is kind of a big album for me, and I think it’s pretty awesome. I don’t know if I’ll ever top it.”
“I Got You” is one of four songs Wray recorded in Nashville with Boardman native Bill Warner and backed by Nashville session musicians who have worked with such stars as Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Luke Bryan and Tim McGraw.
Another track, “Back to Youngstown,” features lead guitar solos by Youngstown native Phil Keaggy of Glass Harp.
“I grew up listening to Keaggy’s music,” Wray said. “I’m sure he passes on a lot of things. I don’t know what prompted him to do this project, but he seemed really interested to do it and gave me some ideas on the song. … He was really taking an interest on how we could maximize him being on the song.”
He’s not sure yet when “Don’t Ask Me” will be released, but he knew “I Got You” would be the most ambitious video for the release. He wanted to get that one out first, and he wanted to release it on Monday, May 4 — an important day for sci-fi fans as the date the original “Star Wars” opened in 1977. It will be available on YouTube, and Wray is planning a Facebook watch party for the clip.
The song set in 2040 is about a man who dreams of being a cancer-curing scientist and interplanetary traveler but who sings his greatest dream already has come true because “I Got You.”
Actor and former Playboy model Lisa Neeld-Infante is cast as Wray’s love interest in the video and stepped in after the original actor had to be recast because she was unavailable for their primary shooting day.
The comic book fan said he was inspired by Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four and his favorite science fiction authors for the song and its video.
“I was thinking if I were to make a video out of this, shouldn’t I just follow the storyline of the song in the video itself,” Wray said. “The only problem is there’s a lot to do. How do you create a starship? How do you visualize a colony on Mars? Do I just go all out and do all that? I just decided to do Wray made many of the costumes and props and included a replica of the robot from “Lost in Space” created by Dan and Becky Lowery. Wray merged the music and science fiction worlds (and saved money) by using mixing boards as controls for the bridge of his starship.
“There were six soundboards and mixers on that bridge,” he said. “It looked pretty cool.”
For a section featuring Wray and his band performing on “Mars,” they used the Neil Armstrong First Flight Memorial on Parkman Road NW, Warren. The location was his second choice — a pair of sci-fi-looking futuro houses in southern Ohio were unavailable — but he was happy with the closer, and more affordable, option.
“It was very convenient and great that we could show off Warren,” he said.
Wray wanted the final product to look like a movie trailer that morphs into a music video, and he said he’s happy with the final cut.
“It’s pretty spot on, I think. I wrote the script and the storyboards and explained what I wanted to Alex, and he pretty much nailed it.”