This is an exclusive video premiere, part of The ARTery's effort to highlight ascending New England musicians.
“How many trees in the forest have to fall?/ Way too many for me to count at all/ No one else can hear them, no one else but me/ Gonna build a house with all my falling trees,” Nate Leavitt sings over a haunting nylon guitar riff in “House of Fallen Trees (Remix).”
The original version of the song appeared on Leavitt’s 2019 album, “I Miss Me Too.” He says he wrote it after a tough year — a year of creative frustration. So he decided to mine that experience. The trees Leavitt refers to in the title and verses are like songs, he says — pieces of himself he picked up and channeled into an album full of music he could be proud of.
It was Leavitt's producer and bandmate Dan Nicklin who suggested adding rapper Moe Pope and remixing the track. To play up the song's mellow, ghost-folk sound, Leavitt and Nicklin invited Pope to drop a verse in the middle for more of a trip-hop vibe. Echos and voice delays accentuate the haunting atmosphere, while an electric bass deepens the acoustic guitar. The sound of a burning match ushers in Pope.
“People dropping flower petals/ When the smoke settles in every ghetto/ Tell us to settle for less,” Pope raps. Leavitt says Pope’s angle expanded on his original concept of the song. “It’s the same philosophical question: Are people listening to anything? Is this resonating with anyone? Does this even matter?”
The concept for the video was a joint collaboration between Leavitt and photographer Jenny Bergman, who helped him with the art direction of his album. “She wanted to bring out the sort of haunted tension, the building of tension the song portrays,” he explains. The video starts with a slide of a shattered vase of flowers and moves from there with grainy, dark film effects layered over each scene. Adorned in a floral headdress, Leavitt’s facial expressions transform from calm to lion-like.
That transformation echoes the journey Leavitt describes in "House of Fallen Trees (Remix)." Sometimes, hitting a spot of uncertainty leads to unexpected inspiration.
Watch the video here: