Theory of Obscurity: a film about The Residents tells the story of the renegade sound and video collective known as The Residents. A story that spans 40 years and is clouded in mystery. Many details surrounding the group are secret, including the identities of its members. They always perform wearing masks and costumes, which is part of their magic.
Fortunately for us, The Residents have a management company, The Cryptic Corporation, that will help us tell the story by allowing our crew unprecedented access to the groups vast archives and 40th anniversary tour.
Through fly on the wall observations and candid interviews, this film tells the story of a group that has always played by its own set of rules. We traveled with The Residents around the US and Europe during their 40th anniversary tour as they staged their elaborate productions, shooting more than 20 performances and also capturing rare behind the scenes moments that show what it truly takes to put a dynamic show together on your own, and on a tight budget.
We also interviewed musicians they inspired from well-known bands like Devo, Primus, Ween, Talking Heads, and Pinback along with fans who adore them, music critics who are confounded by them, and music industry insiders who have helped them explore new technology like CD-Roms, laserdiscs and digital downloads. Our goal is to tell a well-rounded tale that is satisfying for audiences who already know part of The Residents story and people who are new to their world.
At its heart, this story is about perseverance and chasing your dream. The Residents never caved to convention. They never compromised. Their art is their own and we want to shine a light on what they’ve done, and what they’re continuing to do on their current albums and tours, while also showing the difficulties they’ve faced along the way.
We want audiences to experience what it’s like to be part of the unpredictable world of The Residents while also respecting the mysteries that have defined the group throughout its life. It will be a fun ride full of humor and irony, but also heart and inspiration…rough around the edges at times and full of creativity. The Residents are truly original…there’s nothing like them anywhere in the world.
In our culture today everything is a download, a ringtone, or a reality show singing contest. It’s all very easy and very forgettable. The Residents have never made music for the masses; in fact many of their most recognizable compositions are satires of popular culture. They’ve followed their muse for decades and thousands of fans have hung on for the ride. Along the way they’ve also inspired many people to be weird, take chances and find their own voice.
Hopefully our film will do the same by introducing The Residents to a whole new generation.