On their 2016 debut album, Blush, Oakland-based indie band Night School took musical influences from previous decades including doo-wop and “girl groups” of the 1960s and the melodic alt rock of the 1990s, and updated them with an eye on the modern world.
For the music video for album single “City Kiss,” the trio of guitarist/vocalist Alexandra Morte, bassist Cheyenne Avant, and drummer/vocalist Baylie Jimenez, took that the same formula of past and present, but this time reached even further back for an aesthetic steeped in the silent film era of the 1920s. “I watched a lot of silent films as a kid and just generally enjoy things from that era—music and film,” Morte said.
Directed by Nick Schuller on the California town of Knights Ferry, the video has the sepia coloring, dialog cards, and damsel-in-distress narrative often associated with early film, but the trio flips the script on any cliches by casting the woman in the role as “rescuer.” “I felt it was important to change the gender of the ‘hero’ because the notion that women are always the ones needing to be saved is clearly ridiculous and an idea that shouldn’t be perpetuated,” Morte says. “I wanted it to be true to real life where in many situations women are the ones who save the day, so to speak. The idea that I could portray this idea in the style of an old fashioned film was appealing to me. I think it draws a little more attention to the idea from the simple fact that it’s unexpected in this context.”
And speaking of drawing attention, Morte says the video was already turning heads during the filming process. “The most memorable moment was when we were filming the part where I have Baylie tied up on the railroad tracks, as we were about to begin filming some guy drove by so excited giving us a thumbs up. His extreme excitement about it made me laugh!”
Check out the video for “City Kiss” below. Blush is available now on Graveface Records.