Los Angeles rockers Holy Wars, brainchild of Kat Leon and bandmate Nicholas Perez (Kitten, The Beta Machine),have unleashed their devilish music video for “Born Dark” after partnering with Revolver Magazine to exclusively premiere it just yesterday. Directed by Leon alongside cinematographer Mel Hummel, the two hoped to capture the duality that is good vs. evil, reality vs. illusion, attraction vs. repulsion, virtue vs. vice, chaos vs. order, acceptance vs. ignorance, and the like. Leon designed the dolls in the flick, assisted building the sets, and later lent a hand in the editing process. Produced by Hunter Burgan of AFI, Holy Wars also enlisted Mat Mitchell (Nine Inch Nails, Puscifer, A Perfect Circle) to engineer the clashing of guitars and the stunning vocal work, while Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle, The Beta Machine) added drums and other essential components on the final track. Additional engineering came courtesy of Jeff Sahyoun (Letlive). Watch Holy Wars “take on gender stereotypes with a knife” now here.
When asked about the “Born Dark” video, Kat Leon said: “Growing up, little girls were given fashion dolls to play with as an expectation of what ‘women’ were supposed to look like and act like. It was an unrealistic representation of what we actually are and early on there were no variety to these dolls. There were no gothic or ‘darker’ dolls for years, or gender bending or anything other than what that skinny, blonde bubbly doll represented… the subtle brainwashing of our society. ‘Born Dark’ starts with the original pageant beauty queen doll but this doll carries a dark secret… she is a seductive killer with a thirst for blood. It all starts where the crown is given to another doll and our Born Dark Beauty grabs her first kill for the crown. The journey continues with each character introduced furthering the story of just how dark this doll is. Playing on the dark nature of the song, we decided to go with an overall moody, edgy and vintage vibe for the video starting with the French foreign film introduction to the song. The music video blends the reality between doll vs. human with foreshadowing and FX where the audience is left to question what is real and who is the true ‘character’ in this thriller. The murders are shown in a way where you aren’t sure of just who exactly the true killer is. Is the doll a figment of Kat’s imagination or the other way around?”
In the aftermath of their debut project, 2017’s Mother Father, a dedicated set to Leon’s late parents that weaves through grim realities littered with misery’s carnage, they continue to pick up the pieces and glue them back together. “I’m just happy to wake another day,” says Leon, whose voice is blistered and bruised with a new song called “Born Dark.” They remain nearly as gritty and electrifyingly sinister as before, but a new freedom is unlocked in being playfully macabre and rhythmic. “Turn me on with misery / Sweet poetry / Maybe, I was born dark / Full of holes holes in my heart,” Leon sings.
“Born Dark” sees Leon go back to her literal roots, as she explores her moment of birth and the possibility she’s always been a bit devilish. Creatively, she was longing for a kind of release to break the shackles of the past, while fulfilling what her destiny could and should be. “We wrote a ton of songs, and all of them just didn’t stick with Nick and me. It almost felt like we were starting over in some way,” Leon says.
The payoff is tremendous.“Born Dark” not only links the past with the present but allows for a stylistic and cerebral aftershock they have never before accomplished. Continuing their penchant for dark, tear-stained ruminations on life and death, often feeling eerily reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the new music is bigger and badder. “We were striving for more balance this time in the music. When we perform, we can’t help but play with so much energy, and it really is like a cathartic ride for us and the audience. So, we wanted to make sure there was a bridge between that live connection we make and the album.”
Earlier this year, Leon and Perez were hired by FOX and various other networks to write for TV trailers, a task which opened up a whole new world of storytelling. In their songwriting, Leon dug deeper to her core, as well as the decaying world around her, to uncover “things about our society, life, myself (myself before and myself today) and the human need for existence,” she says. “I’ve become obsessed with analyzing everything. Studying people and why we are the way we are, especially in this society we live in today.”
With just two years under their belt as Holy Wars, the duo has been championed by Allison Hagendorf [Global Head of Rock at Spotify] as well as Alternative Press, Atwood Magazine, Billboard, Buzzbands.LA, Grimy Goods, Huffington Post, Indie Shuffle, LA Weekly, Ladygunn, Los Angeles Times, PopMatters, The Deli Magazine, The Revue, and so many more.