College collaborator Nola Wren, dressed in a sultry sparkled black, is tied up with glowing ropes. At other times she’s unencumbered, adorned with an electric guitar and dancing in a sea of balloons under the watchful eye of a toy dinosaur. A giant gummy bear even enters the scene.
This is all in Wren’s awesome music video for her new catchy, Twin Shadow-inspired “Venom” single. The Brooklyn-based musician’s new song also has some nods to her recent collaboration with David “College” Grellier on “Save The Day” and there’s no doubt that Charli XCX was on her mind when recording the song.
This is Wren’s first song since last year’s “Save The Day,” which most recently got a brighter disco treatment at the hands of College friend and Valerie Collective member Maethelvin. However, the roots of “Venom” date back to before she met Grellier, when she lived not far north from Vehlinggo headquarters.
“Venom was inspired by my time living in a dump with no bedroom door on West 172nd Street in [Manhattan],” Wren told Vehlinggo recently. “I wrote it shortly after I moved to Brooklyn, when I was still reeling from the events which forced me to flee [Washington Heights] in the first place.”
Although the finished product features the artistic production flourishes of both Wren and her colleagues and friends Harper James and Gian Stone, the song started out with just Wren and her tools.
“When I brought the song to Harper and Gian last summer, I had previously created two versions,” Wren says. “The first demo consisted of a hip-hop beat and a couple of synths. The second was more developed and featured bigger reverb-drenched drums.”
Wren, James, and Stone got together at Degraw Sound in Brooklyn, and set forth on turning Wren’s demos into the final piece. They talked at length about the song’s direction, and in doing so ended up listening to a smorgasbord of reference cuts from the likes of Bjork, Twin Shadow, Fleetwood Mac, No Doubt, Charli XCX and, yes, even College, she said.
“I said I wanted the verses to feel sort of hypnotic and slinky and the chorus to feel like a roundhouse kick to the face,” Wren said. I’d say they pulled it off.
They took the basic layout she’d mapped in her demos and then gradually piled on the layers, experimenting along the way with various analog and digital synthesizers, live drums, sequenced percussion, electric guitar and more, according to Wren.
Next up came the video, which was at least partially funded by a GoFundMe campaign. It was directed by Abner James, younger brother to Harper and one of Wren’s closest pals. Her co-stars were “the world’s largest gummy bear,” also known as “the world’s largest jerk,” and Wren’s candy cigarette-toking plastic T-rex sidekick, #Hypesaurus.
“We wanted to make a video that would celebrate the contradictory impulses of sweet vindication,” Wren said. “It absolutely embodies my personality and style.”
“Venom” is a taste of Wren’s forthcoming EP, which she’s aiming to release this fall. She’s still experimenting with various electronic styles, tapping digital audio workstation Ableton and taking cues from the likes of Imogen Heap and Grimes.
“Who knows,” Wren said. “Maybe I can be my own damn band.”
The single will be available soon in all the likely digital stores.
(Feature Photo: Nola Wren and a co-star on the set of her new music video. Photo Credit: Leyla Lacheri.)