Interview: Emilie Autumn and Darren Bousman Talk "Fight Like a Girl" Music Video
Mon, 22 Apr 2013 07:48:55
Emilie Autumn Videos
Just beneath the surface and beyond mainstream culture's veneer, real art exists and thrives. Most people don't realize it, but the American underground is at its most fertile right now, giving life to some truly timeless work. Why is that? Well, despite the "free" nature of things, genuine fans are still supporting their favorite artists and allowing said artists to take them on a roller coaster. Filmmaker Darren Bousman [Saw II, Saw III, Saw IV, Repo! The Genetic Opera, The Devil's Carnival] and singer, author, perspective shifter, and performer Emilie Autumn stand at the forefront of this movement. The duo originally collaborated on Bousman's mind-blowing musical The Devil's Carnival. Now, Bousman has helmed Autumn's brilliant music video for "Fight Like a Girl", which debuts on ARTISTdirect.com tomorrow! Plus, they've got more up their collective sleeve…
Upon the eve of the video's debut, ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino spoke to Emilie Autumn and Darren Bousman about "Fight Like a Girl", what's next, and so much more.
It's easy to immerse yourself into Emilie's world with the video, which is more like a mini-movie…
Emilie Autumn: Exactly! It's a little portal into the whole world.
Darren Bousman: We didn't want to just make a performance video. It would've been too easy to do that. We decided to tell a story in there. Emilie's book, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, basically highlights this world. I don't think it's a secret that we're trying to turn this into a live stage show. It's a bigger-than-life live show. This is the first experiment with the world, characters, look, girls, and the asylum. It's an exciting to do something that's not simply a classic rock 'n' roll performance piece.
Emilie Autumn: I was like, "Yeah, that doesn't cost nearly enough money!" [Laughs] We have to do something massive.
Darren Bousman: In this music video, we wanted to tell a story, number one. All of my favorites are music videos that have stories in them. Go back to "Thriller" or those power ballads Guns N' Roses did videos for. They always had these insane crazy stories in them. Trying to do it in a day and a half with very limited resources and budget as compared to what you'd see in a Jay-Z video was a challenge. However, all of the people who came out and wanted to work with her are a testament to Emilie. They dedicated and basically donated their time to making this thing real.
Did you two click creatively? This feels more in sync between director and artist than most music videos do.
Emilie Autumn: Definitely! I think we are pretty much creatively married, which is why there can't be anybody else to direct the Asylum musical other than Darren. That's mainly because he's crazy as well. Anything I think of, he's like, "I've done so much crazier and worse than that!" He can bring anything I think of to life and make it even better than I'd initially thought. Honestly, I didn't know half of the shit that was going on in this video until I saw the finished product. There were pretty much three different stories happening in this old abandoned Victorian theater that we turned into this multi-leveled world. I'm getting makeup done or doing something on one level. Then, they're doing all of this filming in the theater with Veronica licking these aristocrats heads. I didn't even know anything about that until I saw it because Darren's out making these things happen. They fit perfectly into the story because he has read the book and does listen to the music. He's absolutely tuned into why I'm doing this, what the song is about, and my vision for the future of this story as any human being could be. To be emotional about it, it's brilliant for me to feel like I'm not alone in this thing. He's one person to whom I don't have to explain what this world is about. We understand this has to be done. We understand it's powerful and beautiful. We understand this needs to world dominate on motherfucking Broadway.
Darren Bousman: To add to that, this is our second collaboration. First was The Devil's Carnival. There will be many more. Another one is happening today later on.
Emilie Autumn: You just wait for it!
Darren Bousman: One thing that's surprising and refreshing to me is Emilie isn't afraid to roll her sleeves up and get involved on the less glamorous side of the filmmaking. At the same time I was doing the video, I was in the middle of another project. I was juggling all of these things. I would see Emilie answering all of these emails about production questions. I'm not talking one or two emails. I'm talking email chains that went 150-to-200 deep. It was at all hours too. At four o'clock in the morning, I'd wake up and see 47 emails, and Emilie was in there asking and answering questions. I've done a few music videos in the past, and I don't think I ever saw the artist involved in the actual video itself. Emilie, knowing and living in this world, was insurmountable to creating it as well.
Emilie, this is obviously very personal to you. Was it easy to let Darren into this world? This is your life. Did it take a while for him to gain admittance?
Emilie Autumn: I don't work with anybody [Laughs]. I work with my girls and my amazing manager, but you're right. The girls don't have anything to do with the music or how the story is written though. I don't ask for opinions from anybody. I stay laser-focused, and I know the story that needs to be told. However, I feel an intense relief that there's another person on this planet I can absolutely trust to say, "Come up with a concept for something!" I didn't write this thing by myself. How the video would be done was me asking Darren knowing the story, "How do you think we could do this?" He came up with a lot of what you see if not most of it. Probably through our third conversation about The Devil's Carnival nearly two years ago, he understood the world I was in and the world I was creating. We're able to connect on that even before any of this happened. He does virtually the same thing when it comes to creating alternate realities. It's all about creating a world that people go and live in. There's a reason why when you go to a showing of The Devil's Carnival, there are a bunch of people who know who I am and are wearing my fucking t-shirts. It's largely the same damn audience. I didn't realize that at all when I first started talking to Darren. I didn't realize that until I looked up Repo! The Genetic Opera on Amazon and at the bottom of page it said, "People also buy Emilie Autumn's Opheliac". I thought, "This is what the people want! Do The Devil's Carnival!" The point is he understood me. He put the time into reading that massive book most of my friends won't read because it's so intense. He listens to the music probably more than most "Plague Rats" do. I know he can bring this story to life and even add to it. We're painting with the same colors. It's a sense of relief that I'm not the only one who understands this. This was an "Us" project.
How does the video figure into the larger stage show?
Emilie Autumn: We're building a massive epic Broadway show. This video begins to bring it to life. This is what the inmates look like. This is what we wear. This is our uniform. This is how we're treated. This is how this place looks. It establishes a lot of characters. If you watch it closely, you'll see the maids used to be in our position. What happens when you behave and follow the rules of the prison and work through the ranks, you might be trusted to dress these girls for a freak show. Historically, that happened. It's important for me to tell the story of supposedly "insane" people from years gone by. It was a very common thing for insane asylums to make additional money by selling tickets to the public to come through and see the crazies. That's what this freak show is. They're putting on a demented show about these girls. It was important for us that the aristocrats seeing this show we're spread out and not packed together. It's supposed to feel like a seedy porn theater. It establishes the tone and how vivid the world is. People get a glimpse of it when they see the show. People are used to seeing me play everybody. Now, there are different characters, and it makes it real. It's been a really important thing. The crazies aren't often the people behind the bars but the people who are "caring" for them. I wanted to get that across. That was the situation here.
Things aren't what they seem. In the end, a personal truth can be revealed. You hold a mirror up, and the reflection is wonderfully inverted.
Emilie Autumn: Thank you! That's brilliant. I appreciate that. Between you and Darren, I'm understood in this world, and I feel good about it!
The video premieres tomorrow, and it's directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and produced by Laura Bousman, making for an unforgettable and undeniable vision you have to see to believe!
Are you excited for the video's premiere tomorrow?
Watch the Trailer Below!