This trippy music video explores the dark realities of sex addiction
Emmy Wildwood is not afraid to tell it like it is, whether that be through her incredibly expressive clothing, or through her equally expressive sound.
Wildwood’s latest single, “Down Down,” is one for the books: the young singer takes on the heavy issue of sex addiction, and the idea of sex as a form of pain relief when faced with the death of someone or something. The video was shot in a pay-by-the-hour motel called the “Love Motel,” in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood, but if you ask us this set looks like a room straight out of The Broad.
In addition to her songwriting and performing, Emmy is an artist in just about every other sense of the word. She’s been making her living as a stylist and vintage shop owner, and her shop Secret Weapon is also a clear illustrator of who she is. and has even been named one of Time Out NY‘s best dressed New Yorkers: in other words, she’s certainly one to watch.
We spoke to Emmy about her newest single, “Down Down”. She opened up to us about her artistic inspiration, the song’s dark themes, the pressures she faces as an artist— oh, and Scream Queens.
Read below for the full interview and exclusive music video:
Your sound is definitely somewhat retro. Are you inspired by any decade in particular?
In the late 70’s and early 80’s digital synths were a fairly new musical discovery and that retro sound was seen often in experimental artists like Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. It’s the sound of artists pioneering the unknown, for better or for worse.
There’s an otherworldliness to it. I wanted that for this record because the songs were all out of body, exploratory pieces of work for me.
What inspired the video’s purple visuals? They definitely add to the song’s effect.
I picked Bao to direct this video because she tells such rich color stories in her photos. The lighting in the room was the luck of the draw, a happy accident but she knew that this particular location had electric and neon lighting so she brought me here.
It’s how she shoots and delivers that ultimately creates that impact though. She can make the back of grocery store look like a 5 million dollar set.
What is “Down Down” about?
“Down Down” is about using sex for pain relief. It’s tells the story of someone dealing with the death of something, whether it is a relationship or a person, and the ways in which they act out to escape.
How do you want listeners to feel when they hear “Down Down”? How about when they watch the video?
I look at this video and I see myself trapped in one room trying desperately to get out. It’s a visual metaphor about the conversations that go on inside our own heads. How we try every angle to avoid looking at our truth and sometimes it feels like we’re climbing the walls of our own mind.
I hope the listener feels uncomfortable and comforted at the same time. I hope the story is the same as theirs or worse and that that makes them feel less alone. I hope people know that their worst fear or trauma has happened to others who have survived and persevered, and even moved passed thinking about it all the time.
In the video, you certainly express a lot of emotion: how does this song strike a chord for you?
I watched my friend lose his wife and marriage to sex addiction and wrote this after helping him through his divorce. I didn’t know much about it besides what I’d seen in movies and TV shows.
The lengths people go to relieve the pressure of hurt is shocking but only because it’s not validated by all addiction specialists. Nobody is shocked when someone addicted to narcotics acts unhinged but they are when it’s someone addicted to sex. People can become addicted to anything that is an instant vehicle for escape.
Where was this video filmed? The set is so fucking cute and charming.
Bao chose the location which we filmed in a by the hour “Love Motel” in NYC. The rooms are designed to evoke. The lighting is intentionally mood inducing.
It’s her eye and her creative direction that glued everything together. She is an artist that is committed to filming women as they are and elevating what is special and beautiful about them.
How have you managed to stay true to yourself in an industry where there’s pressure, especially for a young woman, to be a certain “thing” in order to succeed? What are some of the pressures you’ve faced?
Staying true to yourself is tricky in an industry in which having an audience want to watch you is such an integral part.
First and foremost, artists are people and people are ever changing. There’s an industry standard you have to meet in order to be relevant and our natural evolution as people doesn’t always align with what’s popular.
In the past I have fallen into the trap of trying to make work that pleases the industry because I have wanted so deeply to have a relevant voice but it’s always a quick route to failure. When I think of the time I have wasted trying to please producers and record companies it makes me sick. There has always been pressure for me to dress sexier, to be youthful and to be thinner.
But I am a woman and I age, I am self conscious and my body changes. There’s a peace I have had to make with myself in order to create honest work. The peace comes with knowing there is only one me and that I am the most me I could be. If artistically I do the best job I can with my work and that project does not find success, than that is it’s destiny.
I have to live with what I put out into the world and if I’m proud of it doesn’t matter what the heads of industry think because they put out terrible crap all the time.
How has music been a major part of your life? Tell us about some of your other musical endeavors. You’re in a tribute band, right? How’d that come about?
I have been putting out records since I was 15 years old. Music has been my healthiest habit. Making art is how I have always made sense of and even survived my feelings.
I joined Guns N’ Hoses, an all-female Guns N’ Roses Tribute band in 2012. Playing in a band with four other females is so rewarding. There’s a clearance to be yourself right off the bat, something women don’t always have in co-ed bands. We have done huge things with that project, including touring to India where the audience had never seen women playing heavy rock on stage.
How was it having your song all over television in those infamous Scream Queens promos? That must have been dope.
My friend Mia Swier was a producer on Scream Queens. She reached out asking me if I could write something and I delivered “Scream” to her 2 hours later. It’s always an honor for me to be heard by a mass audience and even more so on Scream Queens because I did it for a friend like Mia who has championed me endlessly.
What about creative endeavors outside of music? You were named one of Time Out NY‘s most stylish New Yorkers: where are your favorite places to shop?
Early on, I honed my other creative skills so I could support myself.
I have always worked as a stylist because for me marrying fashion and music has been a recipe for success. It’s all part of the package as a musical artist. What I wore on stage was just another extension of the message I was trying to convey with music.
People started asking me for help with their own outfits, hair and make-up so I built businesses out of that to help support me financially on my journey. Most recently I have leveraged the retail side of that with Secret Weapon, my online fashion house where I can sell vintage and vintage inspired looks directly to the client.
People were always asking me how I created such unique looks and I told them that vintage clothing was my secret weapon. 🙂
Video Directed by Bao Ngo