Old Dominion on Filming Above the Fog

Late last year, a couple weeks before the Charlie Fire and then the Woolsey Fire homed in on Malibu, Old Dominion chose the picturesque bluffs of the Pacific Coast city for the setting of their “Make It Sweet” video.

And in the latest issue of ACM Tempo magazine, the band’s frontman Matthew Ramsey talked about the September video shoot, how much it meant to the band, and how the fog was more friend than foe that day.

“That day was actually one of the best days that we’ve ever had as a band,” Ramsey said. “It was just so beautiful. We had all this fog that came in and was basically ruining the video shoot.

“Shaun Silva, the director, was texting his wife like, ’I’m screwed.’ You literally could not see 10 feet in front of you for most of the day, and then by the time we got to that shot on the bluff, it had receded and actually turned out better than we could’ve ever planned.” (Just like the song says, they literally made a little lemonade when lemons was all they got.)

At one point during the shoot, Silva sent Ramsey down to stand on the edge of a cliff and sing, he said, which isn’t what he was used to.

“Usually when you do a video, you do kind of a play back and you lip sync,” he said, “but it was too far away to have that. He said, ’Take your guitar down there, stand there and sing.’

“I was singing that song, and it was so beautiful and so emotional for me. I literally started crying while I was singing the song looking out at this beautiful view and thinking about where our music is taking us.” When Ramsey is singing, Open sky, glimpse of heaven, take the top off the CJ-7, let that surfside Santa Ana wind mess up your hair, and let that windshield frame the ocean, you can almost feel that fog at his feet and see those tears in his eyes.

The guys who make up the reigning ACM vocal group of the year — Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Whit Sellers, Geoff Sprung and Brad Tursi — wrote the song with Shane McAnally.

Rosen shared his perspective on the video, too, saying that he likes how it shows the band’s lighter side. “We take our music and we take our career seriously, but in the end, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re just five goofballs that are regular guys that have been lucky enough to make it,” he said. “So, anytime we can show a lighter side I think we enjoy doing that.”

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Old Dominion’s next tour stop is Friday (Jan. 18) outside of Chicago.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.