Despite the fact that her music is filled with deeply contemplative themes, Katie Herzig has a sneakily humorous side, as well. One view of her “Hey Na Na” video proves that, flat out. But, if further evidence is needed, her latest video for “Drug” should dispel any remaining doubts.
In it, Herzig shows those true humor-soaked colors whilst sporting her true school colors. The piece takes place in a high school gymnasium during a PE class. The “students” are played by Herzig, her bandmates, a few friends, and a handful of dancers. Herzig explains that she had the initial concept and director Joel Kling helped her flesh it out: “It really just started with the idea that I wanted to do a video with my whole band because I’ve only done them with just me or maybe one other person in it. I think the idea of my drummer Billy [Brimblecom] being a PE teacher teaching us ‘students’ how to dance was the first idea. It helped knowing I had a band of very talented and hilarious people.”
Indeed they are. The turn is a 180-degree shift from her last, appropriately poignant exploit, “Walk Through Walls,” which was filmed in Mexico amid ancient ruins. That piece, like two previous projects, was helmed by director Shih-Ting Hung who contacted Herzig some years ago through MySpace. Herzig has also partnered with directors Dawson Wells, Jeremy Cowart, and Becky Fluke. But, for “Drug,” she turned to her friend, Joel Kling, with whom she had long been wanting to work. “When I had this idea for ‘Drug,’ he came to mind — also because he has a wonderful sense of humor and rhythm, and I wanted that to shine through,” Herzig notes.
Though MTV isn’t what it used to be, the YouTube age continues to highlight the importance of music videos. For most artists, Herzig among them, it’s more than just a promotional tool: “It’s an opportunity to continue my childhood, which I spent making music videos on my dad’s VHS camera with all the kids in my neighborhood. It just feels like a continuation of that, still feeling tied to that imagination and youth.”
Imagination and youth are both incredibly layered, generally inconsistent experiences. Music can be, too, and Herzig is the first to admit it. “My music has a range — lots of depth and a serious side — and then some fun,” she says. “The video I made for ‘Walk Through Walls’ in Mexico was an adventure and a very moving experience, and this one was like throwing a party. And the humor aspect was important to me, too, so each band member/dancer committing to their characters was my favorite part.”
This article originally appeared on PopMatters.