Nature Loves Courage takes the bounds of genre and blurs the lines, creating sounds with instrumentation and electronic elements. After years spent solo, bassist Jacob Bergman and drummer Garrett Smith join McKenna as LA-based Nature Loves Courage, the electronic art-rock group bending entire genres to their will. Out summer ’22, their self-titled debut confronts the absurdities of the digital age, proposing a brave return to humanity’s fabled roots atop McKenna’s multifaceted sound.
Their latest single “Dark Horse” and the accompanying video is going to be what makes their mark. It’s mysterious and aids in the story of the song. The red lighting with the horse imagery and the band coming in and out of frame helps create this space that’s unknown and intriguing.
We got a chance to speak with McKenna Rowe, the band’s front woman, about the video for “Dark Horse”:
Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way?
This song was inspired by friends of mine exploring the polyamory scene and their stories about their experiences. The arrangement and feel to this song is dark and mysterious, as if it could serve as the soundtrack in a movie with a scene with a swingers’ club or party. For the video, we chose not to literally depict such a scene, due to the complexity of hiring so many extras, and with the goal of not being quite so literal. Instead, we decided to allow some more room for interpretation on the part of the viewer, depicting the band going into a “dream state” or “surreal dimension” when the song kicks off.
What was the inspiration behind this video?
The biggest influences behind the video concept are David Lynch and graphic novels. I have always loved how David Lynch depicts different dimensions of existence or timelines his characters move through. In nods to Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive, our video shows the discovery of a mysterious object that then “sucks” you into dream-like dimension, where the band appears to be trapped, eventually “spinning out of control” until the “escape” at the end…although we don’t really know if the ending is a return to “normalcy” or a teleportation into yet another strange dimension. The blacked out background and intense red color on subjects are also influenced a lot by Lynch’s choice of cinematography and lighting, and how we framed my face in many shots was influenced by how you might see a story depicted in comic book panels.
What was the process of making this video?
A big thank you to director Alyssa of Holy Smoke Photography (and assistant Claire!), who was able to take some tricky abstract ideas and translate into the finished product! She and I met before the shoot to discuss concepts…I made it clear that creating a mood was more important to me than telling a literal story with start-middle-end. Alyssa put together a shot list which is extremely helpful for a band to have…we had a good idea of how the day would go and what to expect. We used Peerspace (shout out!) to rent out a stage in Boyle Heights that had the blackout capability we needed to be able to achieve the surreal, red look to everything. Another thing we did was shoot some of the video performing the song at 150% speed, so that when it was slowed down to match the normal speed of the song, our motions themselves would seem more surreal. Alyssa also sometimes used a prism in front of the camera lens to create interesting transitions/effects. We went through about 3 revisions of edits to the video until we reached our final. I think it turned out very well considering the limited time, budget and resources and the fact that this was our first time making a music video. Personally, I learned a lot from the experience… have lots of ideas for the next video and how to set up shots so that I photograph best.