High school is tough. It's an awkward, gangly stew of insecurities and self-doubt — the type of atmosphere conducive to a particularly insidious habit of humanity: bullying.
For Homestead darlings Above the Skyline, who are barely out of high school themselves (vocalist Peach Martine is still in eighth grade), such was the basis for their song “Don’t Cut Out the Light.” The single is from the band's EP, A Different Breed, and its accompanying music video tackles the school bully head on. But more than that, it extends an empathetic hand to the victim, urging anyone who might feel hopeless to not give up. We sat down with vocalist Zach Wood to discuss the band's newest music video and how they hope to reach out to people struggling with their darkest moments.
New Times: What's been going on with the band since we last spoke?
Zach Wood: Some new but exciting changes have been happening for us. We now have a new bass player, Alec Enriquez. He's transitioned so well and he has that
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The new music video for "Don't Cut Out the Light" explores themes of bullying and mental health. How did you decide to tackle this sensitive subject matter? Is this something any of you have had to deal with personally?
The song has always been about those who have gone through — or are currently going through — depression, bullying, and anxiety. It's a song pleading for those who are going through this to not cut out the light on yourself. There's always someone to talk to. There's always light. It's not an easy, glamorous road but you can get through it. With the video, it explores the themes of bullying and self-harm but yet has an uplifting message at the end of the song that we hope everyone can see. We wanted to make the video as real as possible and really tug at people's heartstrings, and — from what people tell us — we've succeeded. We wanted to focus on not us but the people in the video and really try to portray that message of the song to everyone watching. Our drummer Chloe has clinical depression and I am a psychology major and work at a psych unit for teenagers as well. So we have been through this firsthand and with this song and video, we wanted to let people know ATS is there for them.
What was the creative process behind the video like and who did you work with?
The video was produced and directed by the awesome Lauren McGarrett and Ricardo Lugo at Prize Box Productions. We highly recommend them. We met them at the Miami Urban Music and Film Festival and they approached us with multiple storylines we could take with this video, and we bounced some ideas off each other and it came to fruition beautifully.
Word is that the music video has made its way into several indie film festivals.
So what's cool is that not only did we make the video but Prize Box Productions also made a documentary video about our rise as a local band. What's even cooler is that both videos have made it into indie film festivals. It's a very cool way to gain exposure not only for us but for our filmmakers as well. It's also a great way for our fans to get to know us a little more and see where we practice, how we write songs, and etc. So we are super excited for you guys to see it.