Danish quintet Virgin Suicide's new music video for "Evil Eyes," off of their forthcoming new album Forever Trouble, tells the story of a young gay boy stranded with a bunch of macho straight boys on a football field trip. It's about having a crush, realizing one's sexuality, but above all about feeling incredibly alone and isolated.
The video is deeply emotional and tells a twisting story, much like the ethereal pop of Virgin Suicide. It's directed by Teys Schucany, who described the project as "a high five for everyone out there trying to break gender stereotypes and creating a less discriminating future for our world."
We sat down with Schucany and lead singer Martin Gronne to talk about how they came up with the story by mining their own personal experiences, exploring lust and open sexuality, and what to expect from the upcoming Virgin Suicide LP.
Take a look at the video, then read our interview below:
How'd you come up with the story for the video? Is it drawn from real life experience? Do any of you (in the band) identify as queer?
Gronne (Songwriter/ Singer): I actually wrote the song at a time of my life where I did open my sexuality in various ways. I do identify with that openness towards sexuality. So the actual events are not taken directly from our real life experiences - Maybe from Teys'.
Schucany (Director): My films are never an identical copy of a memory from my life, but the emotions I've felt in certain times in my life is a huge inspiration to me. I have to have experienced the emotional spine of my stories in order to tell them. Otherwise I would feel completely disingenuous a director. And the emotional spine in this music film is feeling like an outsider in life.
When I started uni, we had to go on this trip to bond and party and have fun. At one point we were split in two groups--all the girls in one group and all the guys in another. And us guys were taken away and the older male uni-students were standing on this field in their underwear and then we all had to drink bourbon or something and yell out "pu**y" and answer trivia about the female anatomy during sex. I thought it was a completely dumb and cave man like way to show off your masculinity. It was almost like watching 20 gorillas pounding their chests.
But at one point I noticed a guy from my class during this "being-real-men-ritual" and he looked... so ashamed and so out of place. And frightened almost. I don't know what he was struggling with on the inside, but I knew how he felt in that moment. And that's when I got the idea for the music film. I don't identify myself as queer, but then again, I don't really identify myself as anything. I guess I just identify myself as Teys.
What was the intention of the video - what message were you hoping viewers would walk away with?
Gronne: We wanted to give a view on the struggles you go through when you have a growing sexuality but are growing up in the provinces of Denmark. Really that's something I think you can relate to whether you live in a village or a city, whether your growing feelings are still unidentified or queer as the night sky. I guess our intention was to portray that feeling of uncomfortable lust, and leave the message up for grabs.
Schucany: I definitely hope viewers find some hope in the music film. It's about lust, it's about sexuality, it's about a father-son-relationship, but for me, as I mentioned earlier, it's mostly about feeling out of place in our world. When I see the music film I see a young boy struggling to find himself in a world that for young boys and grown men is very dominated by being a "real man"--whatever that means. In my opinion: If you feel like a man, then you are a real man - even if you are the worst at basketball or don't know how to chop wood or fix a car.
This music film is for every outsider out there, but sure--it's a high five for everyone out there trying to break gender stereotypes and creating a less discriminating future for our world. Keep on going! Boys like the main character in the music film need you guys.
How would you describe the new album as opposed to your first LP? Sonically, but also if the new record is more/less political, queer, resistant...
Gronne: It has more songs that works with shameful themes I think. Sonically it meets those themes in another way than our debut. The debut also had self-destructive themes and songs about wanting to sedate yourself in everything, but the music served more as a contrast to the lyrics on the first LP. Where the debut album Virgin Suicide described the chaos of lust, the new one maybe tries to conclude that I can't avoid feeling troubled with these things. A shifting view on your existence and sexuality, the fact that things go away and the feeling of never really being understood. So the songs are clearer in what they describe--if that makes them more political I'm not sure, but I think it makes them relatable for everyone who aren't sure what's going on in life!
What were your main sources of inspiration in songwriting for this LP, and for this song, "Evil Eyes," specifically?
Gronne: "Evil Eyes" came out in a period with a lot of new things going on in my life. Meeting lots of new people. It's inspired by the ambivalent feeling of wanting someone, but still wanting them to hurt you. You feel dead, if you don't get any emotional response from the world. That can drive you crazy.
How'd you cast the video?
Schucany: The two adult characters are both acclaimed actors in Denmark, and it was a great joy working with them both. The young boys are all newcomers to the silver screen, and for them to be as good as someone who has been doing it for years and years really impressed me.
When casting I wasn't looking for a certain type. For me you have to have something real, and raw, and genuine behind your eyes when acting. That's what makes it believable. I'm not really fixated on if they "look the part". It's if they play the part.