Following the release of Nasty Cherry's 2021 single, "Lucky," the band returns today with another track off their forthcoming EP, Nasty Cherry: The Movie, due out April 2nd via Vroom Vroom recordings. The dreamy, electro-pop "Her Body" was co-penned with Charli XCX with production by Yves Rothman, and sees lead vocalist Gabi Bechtel singing about a lover who jumps between two bedrooms: "I'ma be better in bed/ She lays with the dead," she declares, plainly.
And if her words aren't convincing enough, the band's accompanying "Her Body" music video is proof of Bechtel's undeniable sex appeal. The Dana Boulos-directed visual is simple and powerful, featuring Bechtel alone and in lingerie while she dances underneath a neon, hazy glow. Every video still is stunning, with Bechtel drenched in a wash of technicolor filters as she thrashes her hair and writhes across the floor.
"Her Body" is one of five tracks that will appear on Nasty Cherry's next project. In addition to Bechtel, band members Chloe Chaidez (guitar), Georgia Somary (bass) and Debbie Knox-Hewson (drums) are behind the EP, which was written and produced over a short period of time in summer 2020. A snapshot of frenetic quarantine creativity, Nasty Cherry: The Movie is about friendships and relationships — especially in a time when connection is rare.
Watch Nasty Cherry's latest clip, below, and keep reading for a conversation between Bechtel and Boulos about their collaboration.
Dana Boulos: Hi Gabi! We made it! We finished the video!
Gabi Bechtel: We finished! It came together very, very fast.
Dana: Definitely. I'm still remembering the text you sent over to me being like, "Hey! Are you available? Do you want to do this? Let's work together," and it's been in the works for a while.
Gabi: Yeah, super last minute — absolutely no budget. I knew I always wanted to work with you. I'd seen some photos you'd shot in the past. They were similar to the style that was in my head, and I think maybe one of the reasons why all of this came together was because of those photos I saw. I loved the beautiful, colorful lighting and I always knew that I wanted to work with you for this idea, so I'm so happy that it came together.
Dana: It worked really well. I listened to the song and all I could think about was how powerful it was with the messages, and just the feeling of the song. It sounded like something I'd listen to in my room, jamming on repeat, when I'm having a really shitty breakup or day. That is a powerful moment. I think I was dancing the whole time when I was listening to it. Whenever I'm working on a music video in general, I listen to the song. If I love it, I start to make movements throughout as if I'm the singer — like what I would want them to do. It's part of the brainstorming — feeling your space. When we talked, you were like, "I really want to do this in a strip club with some dance movements," and when you said that I was like, "Alright, I'm ready to go. Let's talk about it."
Gabi: I knew I wanted you to do this because the idea is very sexy and sexual and sensual — everything, all those words. I wanted to accomplish it in a way that wasn't overexposing anything, and really getting the message across and still being strong. I knew from what I've seen you do and the times we've talked in the past that you would accomplish it in a way that wasn't overly sexual. You made it really powerful and so beautiful. Even while we were filming you told me — while I was in fucking underwear the whole time — "Dance weird! Get down! Crawl down! Pretend you're still wearing your leather pants! Move this way!" And I think it really comes across in the video that I was comfortable. You made the set really comfortable and that's more than I could've ever asked for.
Dana: Whenever I work with anybody, I want them to feel — especially for this type of video, where it's really sexual — so free, but also powerful and in control of that. That was one thing I definitely wanted to make sure with our camera angles and the way the light is hitting you on the right parts and the right vibe — all along, you having control of that. I wanted you to feel the room and feel in charge — to feel it out with different dance moves. If you want to scream, go for it. If you want to throw something without damaging the studio, do it.
For this video, specifically: taking such a simple concept like, "We want to shoot in a strip club, we want it to feel really powerful," one thing I missed in this lockdown is being at shows, and feeling that sweatiness, the fog in your eyes and smelling that. I really wanted to make sure we put that in the video: having that sense of like, "I remember when I watched someone perform on stage."
With camera angles, I was really inspired by films I've been watching during the course of the lockdown. Specifically, it was Fallen Angels by Wong Kar Wai. He's a genius director from Hong Kong who made these beautiful, dark, wide-angle movies that take place in the '90. This movie had the right color palette that we were going for. I really wanted to stay away from the typical purple and pink. I wanted to highlight Gabi's darkness, but a beautiful nightmare if that makes sense. I wanted to feel that emotion and vibe all around, and while you're watching this you'll see there are some blurry moments where we just see Gabi's eyes, or Gabi's movements — just those highlighting moments where you fall in love with Gabi.
One thing I wish we could have had was the band, but with COVID and everybody being stuck, let's talk about that. I wish I could've met the whole team of Nasty Cherry, but I was glad to have that essence in the video regardless. I loved having you there.
Gabi: The hardest part is figuring out, especially not having our drummer Debbie here — she's stuck in the UK right now — to write this amazing song. Filming the video, and the one before this for the song "Lucky," we kind of pulled out of our ass. For this one, it came together so quickly, but we'll have this video and know that we pulled it off during this time with minimal people on set — everyone in the foggy room with their masks on trying to be comfortable, but things were uncomfortable. It was a really small team and we made it work. We had the support from the band the whole time they were there. For outfits, I would send them pictures of what I was going to wear. They were here for the entire thing, but I wish they were in the video.
Dana: I'm super grateful for technology today. I remember you doing FaceTime sessions with them, asking them what to wear and how they felt on a show, or even recording a monitor and sending it to them. It was really nice having everybody's input and to have that support system with it all.
Gabi: We also wrote this song with Charli.
Dana: Tell me how you guys made it.
Gabi: We went into this by sneaking our drummer in from the UK. She had to stay in Bermuda for two weeks to quarantine before she came here. Then, another two weeks in LA alone, which we're super grateful for. We wrote this EP almost a year ago now. There are six songs. We finally got to work with just one producer on this, because on our last EPs we've worked with a number of producers. The songs reflect that and they sound very different from one another. They're all mixed differently. We finally got a chance to work with Yves Rothman, who we love and worked with before. We wrote the entire EP in a month, all the songs were fresh ideas. We all came in with some melodies here and there, but we wanted to write about friendship.
The first song we wrote was "Lucky" and the chords are G-G-D-C, which stand for Georgia, Gabi, Debbie and Chloe — that's what the entire EP is about: friendship. We had this weird cloud hovering over us the entire time. We were wondering when we were going to be able to play shows again and if this was the last time we'd be able to write together for a long time. Everything kind of felt very natural after that. Writing about — not just friendship, but relationships — all of us had a cry-and-a-half during that month. Everyone was confused, nervous, excited and scared. Then all these other songs came out that aren't about friendship. "Her Body" is about being cheated on and feeling like you're not going to let it affect you in this way, where you'd usually fall into a hole if you found out somebody was cheating on you. But for this song, we wanted it to be more empowering and not just about crawling back to that person after it's happened so many times. The song came out in more of a Rihanna way, which is so exciting.
Dana: That's always the best, I think. What an icon. What a powerful woman that's just fearless.
Gabi: That's somewhere we've never stepped before, so this song came out in a really awesome way. We've definitely written songs about being cheated on before and they've been very go-cry-in-your-room kinds of songs, but this one was different. Charli wrote on this one too and she brought that energy while we were writing. She was like, "No! Make this raw. Make this rough." It might seem wrong and disgusting, some of the lyrics, but it's just about not letting anybody step all over you anymore and Charli really brought that forward, too. We were writing in a way that was going towards sad, but she was like, "No. Fuck this. We're not going to have another song that's about letting that affect you in that way. Take control of the situation."
Dana: What an interesting way to think about this in terms of life and in terms of making music. The message is really what it is: being able to stand up for yourself. Being able to feel in control. That's so powerful to know that it's even in the writing, and how raw and unfiltered it is. That's something I really grasped was the way the lyrics are something you'd say in your head, but not say out loud. I think that's so courageous and fearless. I keep saying fearless, but that's what I feel towards "Her Body" specifically, and that's kind of what we wanted to create visually, as well.
Gabi: Yes. How do you feel doing videos during this time? I know you've been able to do a lot of videos and films like that. You put something out during quarantine, didn't you?
Dana: Yeah! I put out Rainsford's music video, "Oh My God," which we did during lockdown when studios weren't open and nobody wanted to work or do anything. It's just a really great time because, yes it's tough and challenging, but if you have the right team that is down to work with you and are able to, and just want to, period, then nothing is stoppable. I feel like this lockdown was so tough at one point. I was so depressed and at one point I was like, "Am I ever going to be able to create again?" During that time of reflection, I was watching so many movies and getting really inspired cinematically. I was realizing what I really wanted to do, and it made me want to direct even more and to be able to create imagery.
So after doing that video it was very interesting and kind of challenging because yes, it was during lockdown. Testing, all of that was going down. It was tough because so many people were in the video. We made it so that everybody would come in during a specific appointment time plus it was shot on green screen, so that played into place. It didn't matter if someone showed up three hours after the other. It was even better and having all of this space — this safe space, as well — that was falling into place. But it's definitely made me feel like I want to make videos that are super impactful. I don't want to take it for granted anymore. I do come up with ideas that are quick, but it's not so much a simple idea. Yes, it's simple on how I execute it, but it's more of an intricate, cinematic point of view. What I want to highlight with my work with music videos specifically is like, yes I can tap into this dark world or this fantasy world where everything is being green screened, but it feels like you're kind of in a cartoon. I just feel like it made me grateful to be able to do that and have such an amazing team behind me that are the best at what they do.
Gabi: Oh my god, I love them! My underwear completely snapped and broke off, and my whole pussy was out during a part–
Dana: And everybody looked away. They were like, "Okay... pause," and they were such professionals!
Gabi: Somebody gave me the sweater off their back, wrapped it around my ass and it was just all perfect! I guess right now there's no room for unnecessary — not necessarily people on set — but we've figured out a way now to minimize the amount of people that we need. There's no extra baggage and everybody on set has a very specific thing to do. There's no lingering anymore from what we've experienced together. There were literally 10 people on set — even less because some people weren't on set the entire time, but through this video 10 people when you'd usually have 20 or so. I think it's really cool in a way and I don't think that will change after this — the way that we film things and even the way we write music.
Gabi: Yeah, I'm really excited.
Dana: I agree with you and everybody that's on set has a purpose. Not saying that wasn't the case before, but it was just about having additional help. So, for example: this additional light and grip or additional camera assistants; you'd have like two or three. Now, you're really secluded and getting the right people on board to have it under 10 people or 10 people exactly. Going up to these studios if you're filming indoors, it's very tight, so you want to make sure that you have everything pre-calculated. You want to plan for a disaster, basically. I've always been that way where I plan for what happens if A, B, C or D fail. We need to have a plan F. It goes everywhere from having a plan A to a plan Z. That's just being really smart and executing the art schooling scenarios of projects. But, I agree, it's really about getting the right people and just being wise on how you plan things and extra wise on how you plan any shoot at this point.
Gabi: Yeah! Well, I'm really happy that you said yes to this and that you did it so quickly. Literally, I don't know how it started it just ended so fucking fast.
Dana: When you have a quick turnaround, it's a challenge, but I'm up for the challenge. Great, let's do it. We finished literally right on the dot of where we were supposed to end. We did it. Even the editing process was like, "Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!" We did everything to accommodate the tight turnaround, which is always my favorite way to do things because if it's a tight turnaround it's coming out ASAP. No long waits, right?
Gabi: I know! I want you to do our other music videos, as well.
Dana: I'm ready. Let's go! Bring it on sister! I'm ready!
Gabi: I'm telling everyone, right now. She's so easy to work with and very fast and accurate with her references and her execution. Just polite, really. I've been on some nightmare videos and this was too easy. It was almost nerve-wracking. I was like, "Did we just fucking film a music video because I was just in front of like five or 10 people, sweating and dripping in baby oil, and it worked out?" You're great.
Dana: And what a superstar! I always knew you knew how to dance, but damn! You really know. Every move was just out of this world. I remember during filming I was like, "Go girl!" I've always been the type of director that's extremely vocal and so I lose my voice after we shoot. I kept yellin,: "Yes Gabi! More! Yeah! Go off girl!" Your performance was breathtaking, like damn. I cannot wait until this whole thing with COVID and our lockdown is over, so I can see you perform in action because I got a little taste. I've known you since you were like 16 or something like that — really forever. So it's lovely to see how you've grown as a person and as an artist. You made every part work. I mean that with all my heart, Gabi. What are your plans for 2021 and beyond?
Gabi: Just hoping that we can do live performances. I know that's the obvious answer, but I want to go out. I want to go dance on a bar like I do in the video. I want to go with my friends and feel comfortable, but also I've become okay with how things are, right now. I've had so much time to sit outside and do absolutely nothing and write 10 songs in a day. I think that's really awesome, but also I have all this time to sit outside and do absolutely nothing for a week. I'll definitely miss that when things pick up again — just readjusting.
I was never too in my head about all of this. I definitely put it all on the backburner and made myself not think about how scary all this is, but just having a close group of friends and people I really enjoy working with and being in this band really saved my ass during this time because I would have had absolutely nothing else to do. Even being able to send an email throughout the day and making a decision has made it really easy. For 2021, I'm just staying positive. If this continues out this way and things seem to be getting better, I'm happy with that. I don't want any dramatic changes or things to open up so fast and lose my head in everything again. I'm just staying positive for 2021. I'm going to continue doing what I'm doing now because I'm not feeling any pressure and I'm really happy with how everything's going. Let's make another video in 2021!
Dana: Yes, let's do it! I'm ready. I feel like for 2021, for me it's nice to not have that fast pace — moving non-stop with projects where you don't have time to look at what you've done. It's nice to take that minute break like you said, being able to sit and lay down in the grass and actually feel texture and enjoy the sun. Simple things that we take for granted in our lives. Even simple objects that are in our room that we take for granted. For me, it's definitely creating more and being able to make more dialogue work as well and going into feature film world and making more music videos and showing my portfolio and working with people like you who just get it that are spot on and really trust the process. That's a major thing for me.
Gabi: That's right!
Stream "Her Body" by Nasty Cherry, below.
"Nasty Cherry: The Movie" EP Tracklist
1. Six Six Six
2. What's The Deal
3. Her Body
4. All In My Head
Photos courtesy of Nasty Cherry/ Dana Boulos
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