A curious video popped up in the last 24 hours: a personal trainer enthusiastically preaching the virtues of working out while on tour. His trainees? Justin Vernon and the rest of the Bon Iver gang. At first it seems like you’re watching a fake infomercial, but as it continues the footage feels genuine, or at least goes on way to long without a punchline. Turns out “Bon Iver workout DVD” is indeed a thing. A little bit of digging reveals that the forthcoming DVD was directed by Dan Huiting, who helmed the official Bon Iver videos for “Calgary” and the deluxe version of “Holocene,” beautifully shot pieces that accompany two of Bon Iver’s more revered songs from Bon Iver.
Hive phoned up Huiting, who talked to us about filming the DVD, how the workouts are structured and when the video will hit shelves.
What exactly is this workout video?
It’s a legit workout DVD. Straight up, for real. [It's] 45, 50 minutes. Literally, you can work out to it and have music from all the bands we like: Bon Iver, S. Carey, Megafaun, We are the Willows and a couple others that escape me. It’s like a workout mixtape. You can workout to cool music instead of something stupid.
You don’t really think of music like this as being optimal to workout to.
If you’re an indie rock kid and you put that music on while you’re running on the treadmill, this is an actual circuit. There’s a weight circuit, a body circuit and an ab circuit. Each are about 15 minutes. So basically, it’s three parts and there are three or four songs on each part. It’s in Justin’s yard, where he grew up, and it’s them doing these three circuit exercises. There’s a dictionary where one person demonstrates a particular move that they’re doing. It’s legit. You can turn off the commentary if you just want to listen to the music.
One of the most interesting parts of the trailer is the band working out backstage. Are there a lot of scenes like that, or are they more instructional?
It’s a workout video. I’m in the middle of a feature film about Bon Iver – a feature-length documentary. So, I follow him pretty much everywhere. I pulled the footage from that because we needed to make a little promo thing.
Do you get weird looks for doing lunges backstage ?
Nobody’s there. It’s just them, maybe a staff person. For the most part, people are into these guys taking being healthy so seriously. Obviously, I can see how people will think this is a big joke; Hipster Runoff made a joke about it. And technically, it’s different than what you expect. But the dudes are dead serious about their health. Excercise is informing all of his other stuff, including his music. I toured with them for a month this summer and it’s not like a heavy party situation. Their catering is healthy food, their rider is healthy food. They put an effort into keeping in shape on the road, unlike myself.
Is there a routine they set forth? Excercise and working out usually has an order to it.
It seems like each day they’d pick one of the circuits. They’d do one one day, one the other day. That’s what all that footage is … of them doing that.
Is there a time table for release?
Couldn’t tell you, man. I’m imagining … fuck if I know. Soon-ish. How’s that sound? It’s done, it’s color corrected, so I guess when they get back from tour. Month or two, maybe?