With their latest single, released last week, Gender Chores take a big step forward. ‘Night in the Woods’ is exciting punk with a pulse. Now we bring a first look at the track’s wonderfully vibrant DIY music video.
A song inspired by an indie video game of the same name, ‘Night in the Woods’ sees the band take aim at slum landlords and gentrification. An honest, relatable and brutal portrayal of the horrors renters are often faced with, alongside the disparity of gentrification and “over-priced apartment blocks”. It’s right in line with the outspoken nature of Gender Chores, who have taken on capitalism before in previous single ‘Giz a Smile. Produced by Rocky O’Reilly in Start Together Studios and released as part of the Oh Yeah’s Scratch My Progress scheme, it represents a sonic change for the band. The rougher first releases give way to a slicker production that nonetheless loses none of the punk energy amongst lo-fi guitars and vocals. A fearsome, pop punk driven track that sees Gender Chores sing true against squalor and a housing system that is designed to feed the wealthy.
“‘Night In The Woods’ came about from the idea of sitting in a damp-riddled, cold apartment that has been rented from a landlord who disappears as soon as you’ve handed over your money. Our song is a lament to how healthily-lined their pockets are in contrast to the rocketing prices people are paying to live in shambles. What’s more, it is a protest showing our dismay at the gentrification of Belfast and beyond and its welcoming of poisonous projects like Tribeca which will make where we want to live even less attainable.“
The video itself is hand drawn by the band’s own AJ Mawhinney, with visuals that closely follow the lyrics and chime with the song’s scuzzy attitude. It’s a triumph of lockdown and a huge labour of love. While the results may speak for themselves, AJ details the process below.
“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into; by the end I had done 165 individual hand-drawings. I lost count of how many frames make up the video, but it’s a lot! I’m sure there was a much easier way of making the animations, but once I started I had to commit!
I wanted to keep as close as possible to the lyrics because they are so poignant and hard-hitting and I wanted people to appreciate Sam’s ability to really hit home about a certain issue (in this case dirty, close-fisted landlords) while still keeping the lyrics so fresh and assertive. Honestly making an animated video really leant itself to ‘Night In The Woods’, especially considering it was inspired by the indie video game of the same name. It reminded me of a 2D video game and the animation for the title and end followed quickly after. I thoroughly enjoyed bringing our wee tune to life, but mark my words; I’m never doing this again!”