When Ben Runyan and Jarrett Zerrer set out to make a video for their maddeningly, purely, confusingly happy single “Real Good,” they wanted to create what they call a “love letter to Philly.”
Because they’re from here, this involved driving around the Northeast and asking packs of burly guys waiting for takeout sandwiches to flip them off for the video’s opening sequence.
“It wasn’t tough to get people to give us the middle finger — it was almost as if they were waiting to give it to somebody,” recalls Zerrer. “Nine times out of 10, they were so quick to oblige.”
After attending both Springfield High and Temple University together, Runyan and Zerrer formed electropop duo City Rain in 2010. Their latest EP, “I’m Gone,” was released in the fall, but it wasn’t until January’s lone snow day that they set out with director Sarah Fry, an adjunct photo professor at Temple, to shoot “Real Good.” With plenty of under-the-El dancing, some Phanatic tail action, backyard blunts and parking lot seagulls, it’s a fitting tribute to not only the bouncy, gritty optimism of the song, but to a city where there’s always an empty liquor bottle lying around for anyone in need of a makeshift microphone.
“Anybody that’s from Philadelphia, there’s a love-hate relationship,” says Runyan. “It can be a really dark place — you have your Edgar Allan Poes — and it can also be a wonderful place: There’s the ever-cheesy story of Rocky and breaking through. Times get rough, but the concept of a good here is a very real good.”
Most of the video is shot in the Northeast. South Philly will want to put on earmuffs for Runyan’s
“We specifically went to the Northeast, because I think the Northeast is the most true Philadelphia. When the Phillies won the World Series the images I remember are of people celebrating on Cottman Ave., not on Broad Street.”