Premiere: NEW EViL - "King of the River" Video
With their apocalyptic-sounding instrumentation, impressive face paint skills and ability to transform an on-stage set into a high-energy, haunting and mystical story (definite Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes here), NEW EViL are by no means lacking in the imagination department -- and neither is the subject of their new video for "King of the River," out on PLAG Records: a young boy who drowned in the LA River next to singer Sophia Anita Reyes' home last year.
The original track, with it's twangy, lurking guitar building up into powerful, screeching chants of "I'm the king of the river!," tells the story of the young boy's death from his perspective -- or at least, how Reyes and bandmates Ian Bishop, Patrick Nagy and Nate Cohn imagine it. Meanwhile, the video for "King of the River" offers a new perspective, one which merges the live world with the world of the dead.
Catch the premiere of the "King of the River" video below, and read on for the full story behind this beautiful tribute to the lost child.
PLAG MAG: The track is about a young boy being found dead in the LA River by your house. What was that emotion like for you, with him being so young and it happening so close to home? Have you written from a place like that before?
Sophia Anita Reyes (NEW EViL): I think writing from the perspective of somebody who is deceased is definitely a reoccurring theme with NEW EViL. We wrote a song called "Beetlejuice," and it’s written from the perspective of a ghost. I think that this song ["King of the River"] was definitely the first song that I wrote where it’s from a non-fictional deceased person’s perspective.
And such a young person at that...do you know anything about how he died?
I honestly tried to not read up too much about it because I didn’t want to be super morbid. I’m not really a morbid person. I mean, my dad’s a cop, so I grew up and we never watched CSI or you know those mystery detective who-done-it shows, we just never watched those kinds of things in my house. We never looked as death as something that would be entertaining.
So, "King of the River" isn't just a retelling of facts about what happened to this little boy, it's an imagined story about who he was and how his death made you and your band feel. You've mentioned in earlier interviews that the lyrics of the song are written from the perspective of the little boy - who's point of view is the video from?
The video is from both of our point of views, because were in the same place. The song is just him, but in the video I’m kind of invading his world, his space that he created. He’s not upset about it — it’s not an angry, dark, scary video where he’s a ghost or anything. He’s very open and intrigued by me being in his world. The video is just us kind of going full circle, the song’s just about him, and then we close it with me going into his world that I created, and then combining our worlds and having him be okay with it.
I love the scene of you two walking off together holding hands. What were some other key moments or symbols in the video?
The most important part of the video is the mask that he wears and the crown. That was an image, an idea that I’ve had since all of this happened, since we found out about him. The mask is a burlap sack that we molded and painted to look like a skeleton that’s not scary or creepy or grotesque, it looks very playful.My favorite movie is Return to Oz, it’s a dark fantasy, and the scarecrow in that movie, his mask is very playful and it’s made with a burlap sack, so that was my main influence. And with the crown, it was very important to have a cheap fake party crown because he’s a little kid and he doesn’t have a lot of resources, so I feel like if he were to be playing king, he would have just borrowed a friend’s crown or just went to go buy a cheap one. In his own imagination the crown would be more elaborate.
And, of course, there's the little paper boat with the toy skeleton wearing a crown. And little green army toys!
He was a kid, so it just makes sense for him to be playing with toys, kind of like when kids are little and they make these little battle scenes and they make their toys fight each other and the toys dont always match, its always like a dinosaur and a random army guy. We kind of just wanted to put the point across that he was a kid.
Catch NEW EViL perform "King of the River" and more at the Satellite on January 29.