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Dum Dum Girls - "Are You Okay" (By Bret Easton Ellis, Official Short Film)

 
Sub Pop, VICE & MOCAtv proudly present Dum Dum Girls' in Are You Okay, a short film written by Bret Easton Ellis and featuring the single "Are You Okay?" from the band's acclaimed new album, Too True. Shot in part, in Joshua Tree, the psychological thriller, which stars Dee Dee Penny and Shiloh Fernandez, was directed by Brewer (Alt J, Purity Ring, Passion Pit), and produced by Braxton Pope, with additional musical score composed by Tamaryn and Drew McDowall. The video also includes Charles Ray's artwork Two Boys (2010), courtesy of the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery. 
 
Read out interview with Dee Dee of the Dum Dum Girls below. 
 
 
Noisey: The video is a trip. How did it all come together?
Dee Dee: Yeah. It was a pretty strange, surreal opportunity that came kind of out of nowhere. I guess it all started because I found out the Dum Dum Girls song "Coming Down" was being used in Bret Easton Ellis' movie, The Canyons, starring Lindsay Lohan, you know—unofficially—and I thought, "What the fuck? That's crazy." So I told my label and we reached out to them and they asked if we wanted to do something in a more official capacity. I'm not quite sure whose idea it was, but I ended up having the pleasure of meeting Bret, who wanted to facilitate some kind of next-level music video. 
 
Perhaps in part because I was blonde at the start of product, we were thinking of doing an homage to Brian De Palmer's Dressed to Kill. This project developed slowly and ended up becoming a much more original product, but that was the initial inspiration. There were so many crazy blips along the way. 
 
Like what?
For a second we almost worked with a really really talented director who does a lot of stuff with Beyoncé. It didn't work out with her schedule, but Tamaryn and myself met with her while she was editing a Beyoncé video so it was the three of us and this huge still of Beyoncé there with us. [Laughs] But it was all of the unexpected variables that came together during the course of this project that ended up being vital. Everything was in the right hands.
 
 
The styling was also key to the imagery…
My creative director, Tamaryn, conceptualized the aesthetic for everything pertaining to the record, so she was kind of overseeing the looks. I ended up wearing a lot of Reformation. They make really beautiful, well-made and flattering pieces, and it has a more political side to it—it's all about recycled fabrics. The looks were a slightly more polished version of Dee Dee. [Laughs]
 
How do you think the video contributed to the lyrics?
The song itself is an interesting one. Definitely one of my favorites on the record. When I wrote it I was actually intending to give it to Ronnie Spector. So I had that in mind when I was writing the song, which may be overtly felt in the melody of the chorus—sort of that classic Ronnie melody. I think because I wrote a lot more personally. I always have my heart on my sleeve, but with this song I just never anticipated singing it myself. But when I shared it with my producer he said, "You have to keep that." It's one of those cliches—"Are you okay?"—but I don't think that a song has ever asked that. And now that the song exists, I'm really aware of how often I say that to myself and how often I hear it. So it's one of those moments when you try and infuse something really relatable into a song that also has a personal backstory. 
 
Dee Dee and Brett
 
 
 
It's definitely one of my favorites on Too True. Would you say that there's a particular lyrical theme or influences to the album?
The biggest change for me from the last record is that I had gone through a really traumatic personal experience. I just completely failed in the grieving process, and because I mishandled a very common experience I dealt with a pretty severe wave of repercussions. Depending on how you handle things, events like this can be a big game changer. So for me, it took me a really long time to get past all of that and this record I think is the first time in a long time that I felt open and able to take in inspiration from multiple sources. I'm not consumed and overwhelmed by one or two personal events. So it was a big sigh of relief that I was free to just write about whatever came up for me. Writing this record, along with just the passage of time, allowed for me to learn a lot about myself and arrive at a much higher level of self-awareness. It's powerful to recognize that many of the life lessons that I've had were in some way the result of something negative. It's part of recognizing that it's not so black and white and that you need to learn from all types of experiences to get the most out of life. 
 
Absolutely. Thank you for your openness. What do you have planned for the year?
I'm days away from my crazy tour. I'm in LA right now rehearsing and on Friday we start in San Diego and make our way thought Texas, SXSW madness, all the way around and ending at Coachella. Then we have about a month in Europe and we're trying to coordinate an Asian tour. It's a media calm before a very long storm, but I'm excited. After having time off, I'm totally ready. 
 
That sounds insane, but you'll have time to sleep in 2015.
Actually, I'm in LA right now and I have really crazy cats in New York so I haven't really slept well in a year, I'd say. I love them to death, but I think I'll actually get more sleep on tour. [Laughs]
 
 
 
 
 
 
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