New York “dream-thrash” band HUFF THIS! (all caps and exclamation point intact, thanks), is the woozy hallucination of Alison Clancy, a dancer who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera. Naturally her rhythms often have the same fluid tempos and nauseated bounce as the most gymnastic piece of contemporary dance. The songs on her upcoming Tuff Love (due this fall) were written during a period of heartbreak, and the arrhythmic “Lovin’ You” represents the dizzying effects of lost love, with Clancy staggering about like a seasick Bat For Lashes. Says Clancy, “Musically I wanted a disoriented feeling, like when you’re under a wave and the water pulls you in all directions at once. I asked Molly Allis to play the drums like she was drunk and stumbling to catch the beat.” Check out its video, featuring a leotard-clad Clancy bounding and twirling in a Coney Island thunderstorm, below.
What is “Lovin’ You” about?
Lovin You was recorded over two years ago… during a dark point… you know, it’s that cliché “heartbreak equals creativity” story. I was going through the loss of my first love, who I thought was going to be my last. I have very romantic fairytale ideals, so it was crushing; and I was sick mentally and physically over it. Even though the track was finished long ago, it took until now to be ready to release it.
What inspired it musically?
When I recorded the vocals I was sick, so the strain and effort in the voice is authentic… I think the basic piano riff has a feeling of falling down or getting knocked over, but it keeps getting back up: It’s kind of relentless. There are two cello tracks by Chris Lancaster. In one of them he is playing along melodically to the song and the second one is a sort of random track we captured of him tuning the cello. We liked that when we put them together it gave the song a nauseating dissonance. It was a happy accident. Although nothing is really an accident. Chris is kind of the “Alison whisperer.” He just always seems to play my emotions accurately.
How did you make the video?
The video was very impromptu. Nick Atkins and I were laying in Central Park on June 9. It was 2 p.m. Ridiculously hot. Nick said, “Hey, let’s go to the beach. Let’s make a video.” We bought a leotard. Bought makeup. Went to my apartment for accessories and a boombox. Hopped the train to Coney Island. We didn’t have a plan. We got there just as a huge storm started rolling in and the crowds were making a mass exodus. I loved that all the trash on the beach gave a post-apocalyptic feel. And I love storms, so I was stoked to dance around in the rain and lightning. I got some weird looks, but I do “strange” things on the regular, so I’m used to it. We didn’t really talk or set up any shots. I just started moving around and Nick followed. We started shooting around 7 and were done by 9. We got lucky with the lightning… although I don’t really believe in luck or accidents. Things just happen the way they are supposed to.
There’s a story about you getting banned from a New York City venue?
I was banned from Rockwood when I performed there with my other band Electric Child. I remember being pretty of out it and emotional that night. I had just come from dancing in another production that was intense physically, so I was a bit delirious. In Electric Child I don’t play instruments for the performances. It was only our second show, and I had a lot of new excitement about being physically “untethered” from any instrument. It was unleashed in a chaotic flurry. On the first song I climbed onto the grand piano and took a flying leap off. Hit my head damn hard on the ceiling. Then as the set continued I started dancing crazy and rolling around on the floor in the audience area, I think I smacked some people. I walked on the tables and knocked over some drinks, candles and chairs. They like to keep things “elegant” at Rockwood, so the manager was super pissed and said “never again.” I think the main factor was the jumping off the piano, which is legitimate: It would have really sucked if I’d broken such a nice piano.
What’s your favorite place to eat in New York?