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The new video from The Drums -- a.k.a. Out100 honorees Jonny Pierce and Jacob Graham -- track "There is Nothing Left," was directed by David Gantz and Theo Cohn, and it stars IMG's first transgender model Hari Nef, who will appear on the upcoming season of Amazon's Transparent as well. It's set up like a romantic comedy (with a dark ending), and Pierce says he didn't want to draw attention to Nef as a trans woman in particular.
"The concept is pretty simple for me. The Drums have a tradition of working with people who don't conform to the norm," Pierce explains. "Our heart belongs to the outsiders of the world. These people with such courage! Hari is a trans actor, but we did not want that to be the focus of the video. We love the freaks and the outlandish, and there is room for everyone, but we wanted Hari to just play a normal girl. If there is any message in the video, for me, it is a focus on not exploiting Hari and girls like Hari but instead showing her for who she is -- just a person like you or I."
When asked about working with Nef, Pierce is effusive:
"Hari Nef! How can I explain the wonder of Hari Nef?! I had been looking for an actor to play the lead girl in the video and had been coming up dry. I know lot's of amazing women, but none of them seemed right for the role. Then I was invited to a dinner in Silverlake with some friends and Hari was there -- fresh from New York and very jet lagged. I was instantly drawn into her aura. She shines without even trying. She told me how she was modeling now and starring in the 2nd season of Transparent, which got my wheels turning. I asked her the next morning to be in the video and she accepted."
As Nef tells Pitchfork:
"Jonny Pierce was the third person I met in Los Angeles when I moved here for the summer in late June. I found him funny, magnetic, stylish, and easy to talk to. I was not surprised when I found out that he was a rock star. When he asked me to feature in the next video for The Drums, I was surprised. I had never envisioned myself as the ingenue of a romantic comedy -- even a romantic comedy gone wrong. I related to the video's notion of embodying cliches in order to break them. Filming was a treat!"
Pierce tells Out that the song and video are extremely personal for him:
"The song itself is a song I wrote after I had to say goodbye to my biological parents. They never accepted me for who I am: a homosexual. After years and years of holding on to hope that they would turn a corner and love me for who I am, I finally had to let go. I searched my heart and realized that maybe my love for them had run out a long time ago too and that I was telling myself a lie. Maybe I had lived without their affection for so long that the "love" I had for them was actually nothing more than a primal longing for security. Once I realized that, I was able to say goodbye -- yes, it hurt like hell -- but it also cleared room in my heart for wonderful, progressive, loving, enthusiastic people to rush into my life -- and rush in they did. I had to make space for authentic love. This sort of message rubs a lot of people the wrong way. A lot of people would tell you to not give up hope but to keep holding on, but these are typically people who have won the lottery in the loving-family-category. How would they ever understand? Make room for something real!! Blood means nothing! Love means everything!! Don't compromise yourself!
"As far as the treatment, we decided that since the song itself was pretty heavy and dramatic, that we would let these young up and coming directors out of L.A. turn it on its head and do whatever they wanted. They ended up wanting to shoot a rom-com-horror video. They came for me for casting the lead roles which I was happy to get busy."
Watch the video below: