Superhumanoids stay behind the curtain for their latest video (below), “Mikelah.” The LA-based group that tends to live in the clouds with dreamy vibes and electronic boudoir-pop came down to earth to tell a story of self-destructive heartbreak and sentimental recklessness. As in many stories of teen anguish, it all starts with a girl: Mikelah. Set to a high school track meet, the object of a young man’s affection proves to be an unobtainable obsession and means to a bitter end. Superhumanoids’ drummer, Evan Weinerman puts down his sticks to talk about directing the emotionally raw video alongside producer, Thomas Sobel.
The director-producer duo came together for the “Neon Politik” music video by The Franks–punk project of Superhumanoids’ Sarah Chernoff and Cameron Parkins. Since, they’ve worked on a number of projects together so much so that the twosome have decided to establish a production company. With “Mikelah,” the team came together once again, along with actor Kyle Mooney, who is a friend and also star of Superhumanoids’ “Persona” video for Evan.
Wearing yet another hat, Evan–also known by his filmmaking moniker, Arms Race–developed the initial idea and spoke with Cameron, the song’s lyricist, about his intentions with the song. Evan recaps the conversation:
He had built an interesting relationship between two people who are caught in an endless cycle of treating each other poorly. That really resonated with me, maybe because I’m drawn to people who are self-destructive or don’t have the willpower to get out of a bad situation. The helplessness of it. It’s a very compelling, universal character trait.
The amusing truth is that the original seed of the track came from Max St. John (bass) and Sarah Chernoff (keys/vocals) when they saw a fat child on a playground in NYC get stuck in the monkey bars. From that sole moment of second-hand humiliation, the song and video-to-be was on its way to what Evan and Thomas then developed into a “full, compelling tale of unrequited love.”
The Superhumanoids’ descriptive lyrics, and ability to sit back and trust the creatives around them allow for a perfect opportunity to story tell. It’s the challenge that brings back Thomas, “when developing options with a director I enjoy the pressure of trying to tell a solid narrative in just a few minutes.” Music videos are just short films with music for the two, a chance to dream big and enjoy a band’s stories. Luckily, this band prefers to stray from performance music videos, so the boys really got to dig in.
“The Superhumanoids rule,” Sobel goes on to say. “They allow their music to be used to tell a story, a visual, auditory & emotional experience, expanding and amplifying the role their music has with audiences. And I think we really accomplished this with ‘Mikelah.'”