Water Boys Strike Out – A Conversation with Pure Sport on their Latest Music Video 

Distinct with business professional attire and HR-demandant eroticism, Pure Sport LLC has increased their market share in the Las Vegas music market over the past four quarters. Pure Sport consists of Jared Scott (bass and vox), Justin Tejada (guitar), and Gage Walker (drums) with their fans making up the entirety of their company’s unpaid employees.

Recently, the punk band released their nationalist-critiquing music video for “Water Boy,” collaborating with Blake Gilmore as director and George Mentchoukov as cinematographer. Shortly after the release, Astr0mag was able to sit down with everyone involved in the making of “Water Boy” to discuss the ethos of Pure Sport, the beginnings of the music video, and the fluctuating landscape of music and visual media. 

So, I wanted to ask what Pure Sport is. Obviously, it’s a band, but I feel like it’s definitely a brand and an aesthetic. So, how would you describe Pure Sport in that manner?

Jared: Why are you looking at me? 

Gage: You’re the leader. The CEO. 

J: As an aesthetic? I just didn’t want to be wearing jeans and T-shirts on stage. That was the first thing. As a brand and a message, there is a kind of anti-corporate message, but a good part of it is just kind of making fun of the fact that bands are a business and bands are also a band. So why not combine the two?

Justin: It’s almost like part of the shtick that, you know, because you’re always trying to sell yourself to people. Yeah, it almost helps us in a way.

J: Yeah, feels less awkward cause we can be assholes about it.

I know you guys refer to yourself as the “CEOs” of Pure Sport LLC and even demean your fans, whom you call employees, by saying things like “Employees get no pay. Fuck you,” at shows. So, why the corporate element, and what really is the dynamic of the company and the employees?

G: A lot—a lot of touching.

J: That started out just as like, like a joke that if we’re the business owners, then we got to have employees. So instead of calling our fans “fans,” we just started calling them unpaid interns, employees, and they started running with it, that we were like “Oh, well, now I guess we got to keep it up.”

G: Yeah, face value. It looks like we’re just shitting on all our fans, and like, flipping everyone off, and “Fuck you, you’re not getting a raise,” and all that, but beneath all that, it’s truly all about the love and the positivity, and everyone supports us, and we love seeing everyone and saying “Fuck you,” and all that being mean is actually “Thank you for being here.”

J: Yeah, it’s a weird culture that, like, built off of us just joking at first, and then they played off of it and started showing up in like, their own custom-made unpaid intern shirts, and so we were like, “Oh, I guess we got to keep it rolling.”

G: The dynamic is because it’s like a corporate commentary. We’re pretending to be a company and no company, not many care about their employees, and we like to play off that, and we’re like, “We don’t care about you either,” but that’s the joke. We do care a lot. 

Does the kissing on stage go against Pure Sport HR rules?

JU: It’s actually company policy. We actually have our HR department hold the sign-up every show that says “kiss as a reminder.” Yeah, because we forget, you know.

J: Yeah, we’re a little air-headed.

JU: I think it’s part of the job description. If we don’t do it, we get in trouble. 

G: It’s a write-up. It’s an infraction.

So when I think of punk, I always think of more traditional notions of punk like Vivienne Westwood and Sex Pistols. You guys are going against the grain of that. So, do you think that your sense of punk is ever punker because it’s not what people traditionally think punk is? Like a metaphysical conception of punk?

JU: I think there’s a punk police. Like, straight up, you know, it’s “This is punk. This is not punk.” I think we don’t try to follow that too much. At least I don’t.

J: I think if anything, we’re kind of just trying to separate ourselves from that punk police. So there’s no real “punker than…”

JU: There tends to be a lot of rules, I guess. Yeah, we tend to not follow those rules. 

J: We kind of break those rules, and I think if people want to say that that’s even more punk than sure. I don’t really think that. Yeah, but the police will decide that. It’s just the mentality of the culture. Like, it’s an ingrained culture that’s built up.

G: Yeah, for a long time. There was an image associated with it, like you have to be alternative or whatever. Like, you have to look, I guess, scary for lack of a better word. The chains and, like, the leather jackets and all that and just looking scary and everything when punk is [actually] the ethos of not giving a fuck. Just doing your thing. 

J: Yeah, I mean, it kind of started to shift with bands like Descendants and stuff. They totally shifted away from the studs and leather and stuff like that, but it’s still just built into the community.

Would you say that Descendants are a main inspiration for Pure Sport or any other bands like that?

G: I would say they’re part of the DNA for sure. Yeah, but definitely the older-school punk bands. We talked about Misfits right before the band started, like old school.

J: The Clash, like there’s a bunch of stuff. We like to call ourselves a spunk band. Someone said it once, and we’re like, “Oh, yeah, that can kind of work,” and we worked it out that it’s like stoner punk. So, we have a lot of Queens of the Stone Age, like Kyuss, like, kind of like 90s stoner era, as well as the old punk. 

So, kind of moving on to the music video for “Waterboy,” what were the beginning concepts for the video?

George: I guess, the start of this music video was when I was helping Blake move out from Jared’s place. While removing this heavy-ass TV in the heat, he’s like, “Oh, I have this music video idea.” I’ve worked with Jared before in previous bands, so it was kind of like, cool to keep that, I guess creative relationship going. I think the logline of what the video was was just like, sports are gay.

JU: Baseball in particular. There’s a lot of things that baseball players do, to where it’s like, “Oh, yeah, like we’re macho. We’re cool. Like, yeah, have a good game,” and then slapping each other’s asses. 

GE: There was definitely that angle for a while where we wanted to lean into more of like, the weird double-edged sword of conservatism and sometimes homophobia of sports from their audience, and then what it seems like it from an outside viewer. The hypocrisy, really. So, for a while, we were trying to lean into that metaphor so much more, but I think as the idea went on, as the idea kept changing, I think we got simpler, and I think just turned more into just being a fun video for people to enjoy. 

Blake: ‘Cause when we first started, we were talking about a huge narrative story. Like all creatives, we always want to go as big as possible, and then there’s always that give and take between a music video team and the actual band where you meet in the middle about what everyone wants, and I think in this case, specifically, it dialed us down a lot, but it also got a lot more to the actual fun of the song. I think that’s difficult to have a conversation about, because we want to make a video that’s as intense and as cool as possible, and you guys want a video that’s as to the heart of the song and the meaning… that’s always a fun conversation to have, because it’s hard to get there a lot, because our initial idea was just so big and so crazy that it’s good to be tucked down in that way.

J: Yeah, but I think that push and pull is what makes it great because we could just go as basic as possible and not really care. So, you guys also getting crazy and having some more extravagant ideas kind of pushed us to be “Well, maybe not like that, but what about like this?” Like, kind of bouncing off of that is really fun.

For George and Blake, have you guys directed videos before this?

B: I’ve worked on a lot of music videos but as far as directing, I’ve only directed two other ones for Under and Three Legged Dukes with Jared. I just love being goofy…

B: We all have to be selfish, and though that’s the difficult relationship to have, like when you’re talking with smaller, like, local bands, and smaller filmmakers. “No, I want that. I really want that in the video,” and it’s like, “But that’s not the song.” It’s kind of like that sort of thing where it’s, it’s really hard to do that. So, finding the right people for that is, you know, obviously, like any relationship, it doesn’t always work, always.

GE: I think, to add to that, because even in the world of just purely film, when you’re working with writers and other directors and production designers, the most painful part of any project is just watching your baby get killed. In order to just make a successful piece, you have to be willing to see something change and become something you weren’t expecting. Right? What makes this video for me so awesome, compared to other stuff we’ve done, is that we’ve done some crazy, expensive, big, like nutty projects that take like a year, but this one, practically other than the six months of waiting, we shot this in like three weekdays. Yeah, and it’s probably one of my favorite projects I’ve made, but it’s almost like nothing we really wanted to do. It just formed into something that no one expected. Yeah, every artist, every musician, everybody, we’re all like a flavor, a different recipe for a smoothie. You don’t know what it tastes like until it’s all blended together. 

JU: And having that freedom in the moment too is nice. Yeah. It’s like “Oh, let’s try this. Let’s do that.” Instead of like, “No, we’re getting this shot.” 

J: I think the biggest eye-opening moment was when we first looked at how the shots were looking on the monitor and it was like, “This is not how I thought any of these were looking,” but it was also like, “Oh, now I’m ready to run with it.”

I know that Vegas doesn’t really have a reputation with music videos. I always think of B-film footage or show footage. Do you have videos that you like cinematically or just the direction that they take? 

B: Um, yeah, and I think I share a lot of them with Jared. We’ve watched “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys. Just the energy of that video is so fun, and I like just that sort of energy and action, and they’re goofy and silly in that video too, so that’s a good one. 

J: When you walk away enjoying the song more but also with a big smile on your face, and that’s the best thing I think you can get through the video. 

People are saying that we’re experiencing the downfall of music videos with shorter video formats online. Not really YouTube and more of Tiktok lately. How do you think that has affected how people appreciate music now?

J: If that is the case, and music videos are kind of disappearing and dying, then we have lost something, because I think that every art is either—I mean, like movies and stuff, the soundtrack is so heavily tied, and with bands, there’s also a heavily-tied visual with it… I think music videos help sell that visual. Where if you watch a music video, every time you listen to that song, you think of the video. So, you know, that disappears when you’ve lost the visual element.

GE: I think so long as people are creative and want to make stuff, they’re always gonna want to make something. I think, with short-form content, it does change some things in terms of like, I guess, attention spans, but at least for me, I make a lot of really short stuff. It’s not like it’s popping off on Tik Tok, but I feel like there’s still a thirst and there’s still a drive for one to see visuals in some way. I mean, I literally work with visuals all the time. I don’t think it’s the end of these videos or anything. I do think it’s changing. Like, there’s some aspects of, you know, having to placate to a new audience and a new format changes stuff, but you can still make, if at least, promotional stuff with videos, which I know it’s not the same, but at least for me, you can still feel the creative edge. 

B: Just recently, I went back and rewatched Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” and that’s just a short film. It’s like a twenty-minute video. The start of it is like ten minutes before the song starts. I think it is probably not accessible for a lot of the recent generations and stuff. No one wants to really watch a short film when they want to listen to their music. Yeah, especially for, like, a punk band, but that I think is probably not gone, but it’s certainly not as popular.

J: Sometimes the mold gets broken, because, like, Turnstile is a hardcore punk band and they put out four music videos into one and just put it out as a twenty-minute-long video, and that popped off, and people loved it, and it’s just… there’s no formula to it anymore. That’s what I’m noticing.

GE: Nowadays, at least, music videos need to be more creative than they’ve ever been. You no longer can have the ten-minute short. Things have changed, but at least the music videos that I find that I’m enjoying a lot lately are just creativity dials maxed at ten in their concept and execution. That’s what matters most, which is a good and a bad thing. When I hear that, I think of the Gorillaz and their shorts are still going on. Their whole—what’s the word—conceptual album? Their whole overarching story is still happening, fully animated, and people are still watching. Yeah, I don’t even know

I want to ask about the meaning of “Water Boy” and how it fits in with your vision. 

J: The actual song is kind of just, I mean, it’s goofy. It’s written to be goofy, but it is kind of just the overarching, making fun of how something that’s so American and so macho can also be so incredibly gay, and then also have a community of people who are super homophobic.  So that is weird hypocrisy and just kind of making fun of that. 

G: At its core, I would say it’s a rallying cry against homophobia and hateful people, but it’s from the perspective of the water boy, which is an alternative person.

J: Yeah, I think it’s just a goofy song that has, like, subtext of that. 

GE: We never put an actual water boy in the video and I just realized… Remember, we wanted to get that shot and we totally like—

J: Isn’t there that whole, like, Adam Sandler movie? Is that football? Well, we’re not sports people obviously.

JU: I think it’s, like, just very stereotypical of football, but I guess I guess any sport really? 

J: We don’t think too hard about lyrics. As you can tell, we just write silly shit.

How did you guys get the uniforms?

G: Yeah, they took a while. We always had baseball uniforms in mind, and we were like, trying to iron out the details, and we were thinking about it. We want baseball uniforms, and we played a show and two of our biggest fans showed up in baseball uniforms when we never even talked to them. Custom Pure Sport, and that’s how we found the site. 

JU: We were thinking about doing the baseball uniforms and saw that and it was mind-blowing. “Hey, where’d you get that? Just curious.”

J: It was this link on Amazon, and we were like “Yeah, we’ll be buying. Thanks.”

Do you guys have a favorite moment shot or even an easter-egg in the music video? 

G: Yeah, mine is when I’m on top of Justin and smashing him in the back with a baseball bat-

J: The fight shots. My favorite was just the chaos like fighting over the baseball and the one shot where the ball flies in and you dove for it, because whenever I watched some of those shots, I just think of how much it all hurt. Then, there’s one shot where you [Justin] hit a baseball with the guitar, and it looks like you’re just screaming for fun, but it was full-on shock through his arm. Pain. 

G: Basically dislocated. 

JU: Yeah, I over-extended both my arms the first day of the shoot. It was definitely a lot of fun. It took me like forty-five minutes to change my shirt. Sitting there, it was really bad to get it off.

B: Yeah, that was my favorite shot. That one is because it goes into the eagle. We didn’t really talk about what was also on top of just the faux masculinity of the sport. It’s also patriotism, because baseball is America’s sport. I think it’s always fun to make fun of patriotism. People have such reverence for that sort of stuff, and when you’re able to just kind of like, you know, be disrespectful, that’s the fun part. Yeah, we have this American flag in the background while Justin’s hitting the baseball with his guitar. On top of everything it’s fun.

J: And then a quick cut shot to us polishing baseballs. Yeah, I think it really is—especially being a younger person today—there’s not the patriotism towards America. You don’t feel that. Kind of shitting on like, I don’t know, such an American staple, it’s just fun.

G: That’s why the Eagle shot was the shot of the video almost. What it’s all about. 

GE: We had a plan to use stock footage in the thing for a super long time, and we originally just planned to use the same repeating American flag shot multiple times. In the middle of the edit, in the wee hours, I found an American Eagle shot and accidentally put it right before the shot of Jared saluting it, and then it just accidentally made me burst out laughing, and then I found the same shot of it flying away. So, I put it next to it, and I’m like, “Well, this is like a complete accident.”
J: It’s a miracle. 

JU: There’s one shot that’s a little more hidden now, but in the first edit, it was definitely featured. It’s almost better that it’s not featured. 

J: Oh my God. 

JU: We do the whole baseball thing, and then at the end of the day, we get together by the campfire and we’re having hot dogs and the whole thing, and then Jared and I decided to share a hot dog—

G: They Lady and Tramped a hot dog. 

JU: A microwaved hot dog. 

V: Oh, ew. Microwaved. 

JU: So, we tried to get it in the shot like seven times.

B: I didn’t talk, I purposely didn’t call cut for a while. You guys just kept gnawing. 

JU: That’s probably my favorite. It’s very Fight Club, but it’s probably for the best it’s cut. 

After discussing the “Water Boy” video, Pure Sport dived into their latest EP, Bigger Business and their hopes for fans’ reactions to their sophomore release. With many of the tracks already played at previous shows, these tracks have reached their final evolution from just unreleased demos to, finally, recorded fan favorites. 

Watch the all-American “Water Boy” music video here:

Article By Vlada Stark

Photos: George Mentchoukov

Pure SportInstagram | YouTube | Spotify | Apple Music


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