Music Video Premiere
Trash Rabbit's unsettling new music video channels the paranoid mind
This is an exclusive music video premiere, part of WBUR's effort to highlight New England musicians.
The song “Dead House,” by the Boston band Trash Rabbit, is about self-consciousness and how it can curdle into paranoia. “I can’t live through this again/ But I can’t stop going through the thoughts up in my head,” lead singer Mena Lemos howls over a furious drum fill. The music is delirious and circular, like the spinning thoughts of an insomniac.
To capture that feeling in the music video for “Dead House,” the band brainstormed as many unsettling images as they could muster: dead flowers, street lights at night, an eerie shot of Lemos in a white dress spattered with blood. Some of the scenes were lifted directly from bassist Nic Adams' dream journal. (“I have very vivid dreams,” Adams says.) Two MassArt students, Amelia Allison and Rose Fitzgerald, shot and edited the film, a blur of lo-fi chaos that might be best described as a demented home video from the ‘90s.
Throughout the video, the members of the band rarely appear alone. It's fitting, since the three founders of Trash Rabbit, a rambunctious garage rock outfit, have been playing together since freshman year of high school. Lemos remembers seeing Adams play drums on the first day of jazz band class. (All three original members of Trash Rabbit play more than one instrument.) “I was like, ‘Yo, they’re really good,’” Lemos says. “‘We gotta start a band.’ And then we did.”
Adams remembers it a little differently. “I was scared of Mena when we first met,” they say, laughing at the memory. “She had this electric bass, and was just, like, going crazy. And I was like, ‘Who is this person?’”
Lemos and Adams joined up with drummer Gibran Mobarak, and Trash Rabbit was born. They hit the Boston basement scene, developing a scrappy, riff-laden style to match Lemos’ brash stage presence. Now, all three are students at Berklee College of Music, and their sound has become at once more complex and refined. (They’ve also added a second guitarist, Gia Flores.) “We reached the point of maturity where we don’t actually have to use every idea we have,” Adams says.
“Dead House,” the single off of Trash Rabbit’s 2021 EP “Trash Rabbit Presents: Rabbit's Rumble,” encapsulates this shift with its pleasing mix of “consonance and dissonance,” as Lemos puts it. The song merges virtuosic math-rock licks with punk chaos and cathartic melodies, pushing the limits of intensity without ever quite crossing the line.
Lemos says that on “Dead House,” she was finally able to let go of some of her insecurity about her singing voice — at least a little bit. “I’m not 100% pleased with my voice on this song,” she admits. “But I didn’t hold back, I think, as much as I used to.”
The same might be said of Trash Rabbit these days. As high schoolers, they learned to write songs by imitating their favorite bands. But now, Mobarak says, “We’re not trying to be anybody else.”
This article was originally published on March 25, 2022.