The camera slowly pulls back from a laundromat washing machine with suds surging red, as the downbeat cuts to a big, bloody knife and splattered bathroom wall. It's an intense yet carefully crafted opening to violence implied and violence dreamed. We never see the act, but in the video for Superheaven's "Gushin' Blood," director Max Moore provides the methodical, almost righteously callous conclusion to a revenge fantasy.
Superheaven's second album, Ours Is Chrome, is full of bummer rock songs with big feelings and bigger amps. But "Gushin' Blood," in particular, tells a wrenching personal story that comes from a dark place, "where you'd do anything to protect the people you love," guitarist and vocalist Taylor Madison tells NPR.
So this is an intense video. Where did it come from?
Well, I wrote the song about a pretty personal thing. My youngest sister has been addicted to heroin for a few years now, and it's been one of the most difficult things my family has had to deal with. I've had to literally chase people away from my house because they were trying to bring drugs to the house while we were trying to keep my sister clean long enough to get to rehab. I know that when it comes down to it, my sister's addiction is her addiction, but it's frustrating to have people sort of enabling the situation that you're trying so hard to remedy.
This song is kind of about a fantasy I've had many times; of getting all of those people in a room and torturing them, cutting them up and burying them in the woods. I know it sounds like some psychotic stuff, but I think everyone has thoughts like that, without acting on them. It's just part of that animalistic nature, where you'd do anything to protect the people you love. The video itself was Max Moore's idea. He thought it might be more interesting to kind of allude to the murders, rather than go along with what's happening in the song directly. And I agree: It made it much more interesting, and was probably way easier to pull off.
Max Moore is known for some bloody music videos. Did you seek him out, looking to strike a delicate balance between horror and emotional pain?
I've liked a lot of the videos Max has done for our friends' bands, and I really like how graphic a lot of them can be. So when we decided to do a video for this song, I knew I wanted Max to do it. I had a rough vision in my head of how I wanted the video to look, and I thought he'd be the best person for the job.
Was getting caught part of your dream? Is it important that we see that?
Getting arrested definitely was never part of my daydream, but I like that it ends that way. Max included that part in his treatment for the video that he sent us, and we thought it was actually pretty cool. The way I saw it in my head made it seem like it would be a far more interesting ending than me just getting away with it, and I think it looks neat, too.
Funny enough, while we were shooting this part of the video, Max brought these colored spot-lamps that had to be rotated to look like real police lights. But just as we set them up, an actual cop pulled up to ask what we were doing. We asked if he wouldn't mind just turning his lights on while we shot the scene, and he obliged. So the lights in that scene are from an actual cop car. We were also shooting right next to a bar, and there was a small crowd of drunk people watching the whole thing, which made me pretty uncomfortable. I think my "acting" in that scene probably could have been a little better, but I just wanted it to be over, because it was so awkward with people watching.
Ours Is Chrome is out now on SideOneDummy. The band goes on tour starting this Friday.