Los Angeles synth-rock project Holy Wars — the brainchild of Kat Leon and bandmate Nicholas Perez (Kitten, The Beta Machine) — enlisted a host of high profile collaborators for their biting new single "Born Dark." AFI's Hunter Burgan produced the effort, while Mat Mitchell (Nine Inch Nails, Puscifer, A Perfect Circle) engineered the guitars and vocals, with Jeff Sahyoun (Letlive) contributing additional engineering, while Jeff Friedl (A Perfect Circle, The Beta Machine) added drums and other elements. The group sold out their "Born Dark" single release party at Cloak & Dagger (an exclusive and infamous members-only club run by She Wants Revenge's DJ Adam 12 and Michael Patterson). Now, the band has teamed with director/cinematographer Mel Hummel for the song's video, a twisted thriller that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.
"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," Leon says of "Born Dark." "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?"
Check out the clip above and decide for yourself.
"Born Dark" follows Holy Wars' 2017 EP Mother Father, which was dedicated to Leon's late parents. In the time between the two releases, Leon and Perez have also collaborated on non-musical creative endeavors in the form of writing for TV trailers for FOX and various other networks. They credit this experience with helping to expand their storytelling skills.
"We had no idea how important this would be for us," says Leon. "Immediately, our writing got massively easier, and the ideas flowed for the band. We didn't second guess anything anymore, and I didn't have that internal struggle of what to say now. We were so inspired by that cinematic feel we were asked to write. We started having fun writing again and pulling from different influences."
As such, Leon dug deeper than ever for Holy Wars' new material in an effort 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."