story / Ambar Navarro
Photos / Alexa Nikol Curran
With the recent release of Broken Baby’s self-titled album, we are excited to premiere the video for their newest single “Hello From The Other Side of Hell No.”
The music video directed by Ambar Navarro, features twelve outfit changes, transforming lead singer Amber Bollinger into different looks ranging from the variety of sounds riffed by guitarist and collaborator Alex Dezen. With a mix of rock n’ roll and pop-punky gems, paired with Amber’s angsty voice and high energy performance, references were pulled from videos from the best parts of the aughts, including a spray-painted tribute scene inspired by the video for “I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend” by the queen of angst herself, Avril Lavigne. Amber gives a lively performance full of stirring direction.
She throws herself into each given scene, starting with multiple in-studio looks, and ending at a miniature race track. When first hearing the track, it’s fast like a revved-up engine. The miniature track was a perfect scale to be overruled by Amber’s powerful vocals and presence. The band joins her on the track at sunset, performing together as the RC cars whizz by in a kind of Thunderdome-esq finale.
The director conducts an interview with the band below.
I met Broken Baby at a cafe in Los Angeles before working out ideas for the video. The two were eager and excited and allowed me the creative freedom to explore my ideas. As I was explaining my idea for the miniature race track scene, a young woman approached the table and let us know she was a stylist. And just like that Ryan Rosewall wound up being the person to bring our visions together, includes pulling pieces by Sloane Lenz and a custom jumpsuit spray painted by Isa Beniston of Gentle Thrills.
First of all, how did you two meet?
Many moons ago in Phoenix, AZ, at a film festival. Alex was there attending the premiere of a documentary about his old band, The Damnwells. And I was there with my ex who was also premiering a film. We all became fast friends. More than a decade later, we’re still great friends.
What was the process of writing the album? (How long did it take, who writes the music)
From the writing to the performing to the recording to the mixing, we both do everything. Alex is a music and production wiz, so he does a lot of the instrumental stuff, but it’s pretty collaborative, with the two of us figuring out what goes where and all that. But every element from the top down is workshopped and messed with until we love it or hate it. We work pretty quickly. Usually, we start with a riff or a melody or a lyric, then Alex goes to work building the bones of the track. Then we spend a few days or so working on the lyrics and melody, sometimes changing things at the 11th hour after listening and mulling over it for a bit. But from the nuts and bolts to a finished project, I would say this record took about 2 months.
Amber, where does your live performance high energy influences come from?
I don’t know where it comes from. Anxiety? Haha. I was an athlete in high school and college (ALEX: Bellevue, Ohio, sports hall of fame inductee, and Ohio All-State high jump champion in 2000!), and I still have a ton of that energy sitting around in there. I’ll footrace anyone at the drop of a hat. I’m kind of a maniac, I guess. When we’re playing shows, the goal is to see if I can wear myself out to the point of death by the end of every song. So far it hasn’t worked.
On the new album, you can hear the variety of influences from rock genres. Who were some bands you grew up listening to and some new you are currently into?
Oh man. THERE’S SO MANY. I love Patti Smith. Also a huge fan of Laurie Anderson. The Slits. Nico in the VU and beyond. All things Kathleen Hannah. Savages. Cindy Lauper. MADONNA! Currently into local LA badasses Modpods. They’re great. But I like the boys, too. METZ. Idles is my new favorite band. They’re amazing. Life, which is another UK band, are incredible.
Same. Huge Jesus Lizard fan, too. Battles (and Ian Williams’ pervious bands Don Caballero and Storm and Stress). Shellac. Love all those Tinariwen records. Some weirder shit like The Residents. It’s all in there.
Will BB be touring with the new album?
For sure. Just did a couple dates in with Dead Sara. Heading down to Texas for some shows. NY, too. Couple more LA shows before the end of the year. And plenty more on the horizon.
I remember when I initially mentioned the tiny race track I had to explain exactly what that was! What were your thoughts when arriving to the track?
Haha! Well, I don’t think we even realized that it was a mini race track until the day before! We were like “How the hell is she gonna pull this off without us getting killed?” Once we realized it was a this rad RC track, it all made sense. We’re dumb.
ALEX: Yeah. I fully thought you were going to kill us.
Amber, thank you for changing so many times in the video! You were such a trooper at playing dress up. Do you have a favorite look from the video?
Of course! It’s hard to choose between the black, red or blue Sloane pieces. They’re elegant and so cool. I really loved that the striped pants from Natalia Rozic matched the striped Sloane top perfectly, which ulitmately complemented my striped hair. They were all great, and just enough outside my comfort to help me slip out of my head and forget about the lights and cameras and makeup people and all that.
Who is the album for? (is it for rock fans or young girls hopefully to be influenced by Amber’s freedom of expression)
It’s for everyone and anyone! We’re not trying to cater to anyone’s taste. This is just what’s in our heads. If people dig it, awesome. If people hate it, that’s cool, too. I’ve been so inspired by so many different artists, I just feel happy and excited to give it back a little and maybe inspire someone else.
What is the most accomplishing thing for you about this video? The Album?
THE FRIENDS! One day we were looking at videos by bands we liked. Then another day we were MAKING VIDEOS with those people and getting to know them and be part of a community of artists. It’s just amazing. All your vids and art are amazing. We pour over your insta feed daily. (Sorry for the full-on nerd out!) Alexa, who took all these amazing behind the scenes shots, is another amazing artist. She’s now a great friend and collaborator. More than anything else, that has been the most rewarding for sure.
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