Invoking ravens and the afterlife, the mythological tale spun in the video for rock artist Jeremy Little’s “Witching Hour” feels like Edgar Allen Poe meets David Bowie. Behind the camera, however, the story more closely resembled old home week. Filmed at a Nashville studio and nearby farm by Little’s writer/photographer wife, Asia Mechikoff, the video is peopled by a theatrically garbed tribe of musician and dancer friends from Tennessee and California who responded to Little’s call: “Wanna play?” Emerging from two years of pandemic shutdowns and isolation, they happily embraced the invitation to don masks, feathers and face paint.

“I produced and mixed and wrote it, and we made the video completely on our own. Asia directed it, we made the costumes, I made the props — it’s almost like our DIY arts and crafts project,” Little recalls with a laugh. “As an artist, if one opportunity shuts down — say, you can’t go out and play in front of people anymore — that part of you will still find a way to express itself somehow.”

A demo of the song had been moldering in Little’s computer archives, originally intended for an EP that never came to fruition. In 2021, “craving a little self-expression” and wanting to spread his producer wings, he started recording “Witching Hour.” Sung over an ear-catching pop hook and a magnetic rhythm section (Chris Cornell/Alanis Morissette drummer Blair Sinta and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers bassist Ron Blair), the lyric speaks to a conflicted world:

All dark at the witching hour
A raven flies between the next world and ours
As we hide from our monsters tonight
We utter this simple prayer
May the way ahead be clear to you
May you find the strength to follow through”

After mixing the song, Little asked Mechikoff if she wanted to direct a video. Its fantastical imagery evolved out of their back-and-forth conversations. (As did the change in his normally understated presentation, he acknowledges with a laugh: “I wanted to play with image a lot” — going “drag queen big” with onscreen style. “I’m very influenced by Bowie and I make no bones about that.”)

“I was dealing with some people who had passed away, and because of the nature of the lyric, I liked this idea of creating a mythology within the video that explained the afterlife,” he explains. “Our mythology had to do with this raven that ushered you to the next place. There’s an ambiguous sense of me dipping my toe into the afterlife and coming back out.”

Many marriages have ruptured in close quarters during the pandemic, but Little and Mechikoff have been creatively productive. Among other things, they’ve co-authored a sci-fi rock ‘n’ roll musical, Atom; at present they’re working with a production company to adapt it for a podcast. That opened the door to video collaborations. “We haven’t murdered each other yet,” Little wisecracks. “It works because the song is my domain and the video is hers. Asia had a real vision for this; she wanted it to be a short film.”

The “Witching Hour” video is just one product of Little’s reignited interest in boundary-pushing collaborations. He and blues-rocker Jake La Botz have recorded a handful of trip-hop-infused tunes for an EP (as The Oui Gees), while his ambient Dream Songs project offers chill instrumentals for fellow insomniacs. It’s a stimulating new phase of his career. Pleased with the vibe of “Witching Hour,” he and Mechikoff are making more videos; he likens the process of filming “Witching Hour” to “scratching an itch” and anticipates releasing more singles with different lineups of friends.

“Going forward, everything is going to be very much about a visual presence as much as a song presence. I like the idea of a complete piece of artwork.”

http://www.jeremylittlemusic.com/

Follow:

Instagram | Twitter | Youtube