Feeling kinda’ crazy waiting for the holiday weekend to happen already? Well have we got something insanely perfect to tide you over as you watch the clock tick-tock to quitting time. Behold — we bring thee the premiere of a very badass new video for “Hysteria!” from local powerhouse songstress, Kara McLeland (notably of awesome almost-all-female a cappella enterprise Forte Femme) directed by someone who sometimes writes for this here website (hint: it’s me!).
So get your crazy on after the jump where you’ll find a frightfully fun vintage horror inspired video for a wicked great track plus a bonus interview with Ms. McLeland to help enhance the madness of your listening/viewing experience!
No Country: What inspired you to write “Hysteria?”
Kara McLeland: The first time I heard of “hysteria” was during a college course in women’s and gender studies, and I remember being so astounded that it was considered a legit medical diagnosis for women. Around the same time I read “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I had so many feelings after reading it that I felt like I couldn’t not write a song about the whole thing.
NC: How much (or how little) do you think things have changed since the advent of the widespread “Hysteria” diagnosis?
KM: Luckily the whole concept of female hysteria is now recognized as bogus, but I think the subtleties are still there. There’s still a lot of anxiety surrounding the female body. It might not come in the form of a medical diagnosis, but there is definitely still a desire to control women’s bodies and a lot of unhealthy cultural expectations about how females should “ideally” look and behave.
NC: The song has been in your repertoire for a while, why make the video now?
KM: Becoming pregnant brought a lot of these issues into hyper-focus for me. I had a fabulous pregnancy and never felt limited in any way, but even well-intentioned friends and strangers often made me feel delicate or incapable by the way they would treat or speak to me. I also got the message multiple times that I shouldn’t show my pregnant body in a creative performance space, and that it gave off an unattractive image or vibe. The stubborn part of me wanted to create something that highlighted the way my pregnant body looked, and how people were reacting to it. We shot the video 2 weeks before my due date so I could reach maximum pregnancy girth… and luckily I had the perfect song to set everything to!
NC: What inspired the video for you conceptually?
KM: I wanted the video to reflect the song, which has some bite to it but is also very tongue-in-cheek. The B-horror movie inspiration let me toe the line between campy and creepy, and hopefully people can simultaneously laugh and be a little horrified when they watch it.
NC: What’s next? What projects are you working on/what should readers be looking out for?
KM: I have a handful of songs that I’m excited to release after “Hysteria!” and I’d love to make something fun and visual to go along with them. I’m also always working on something with Forte Femme, the a cappella group I perform with (you can catch their latest video here) And, of course, my latest big project is keeping a new human alive!
NC: What other local acts are you really digging right now?
KM: Oh man, I just heard REMMI on the No Country website [check our coverage here]. I love her voice and the vibe of “Star Spangled.” It’s been on repeat today…. so good! Excited to hear more from her!
You can get “Hysteria!” right now on iTunes by clicking right this way!