"Being unable to speak your truth" is a "paralyzing feeling," explains Sophia Bel (AKA "Princess of the Dead"), whose new single, "2AM (And I Did It Again)," leans into the drama of an early morning spent writing emotional letters without anyone on the receiving end. "I broke my hand trying to say it with a pen," she sings on the chorus, capturing the angst of late '90s, early '00s "sadboys that stole our hearts shedding their sorrows on stage in bands such as Fall Out Boy and Green Day."
The Montreal-based musician is gearing up to release her debut album, Anxious Avoidant, due out in spring 2022. And today's drop is a taste of her melancholic, self-reflective point-of-view — one that pulls inspiration from her childhood, and all the different skate-punk and emo-wave acts she listened to back then. Naturally, "2AM" sounds nostalgic, but with all the clarity of a present-day narrator in touch with their innermost feelings.
For Bel's music video, Director Lea Taillefer aimed to create something that balanced beauty with humor, all while making the viewer want to dream and travel. "I was deeply inspired by family 8mm videos," she says of the classic treatment, and decided that shooting in London "would add to Sophia's universe." So the two ran wildly around the UK, with Taillefer's camera in-hand, filming Bel like two best friends documenting a whirlwind trip together.
The styling reflects Bel's playful approach to fashion, with tons of outfit changes that are as deeply personal as the lyrics she sings on "2AM." One look layers a mint baby doll dress over a striped shirt with matching knit cardigan; in another, Bel throws on a giant furry pink hat and corset with low-rise patchwork jeans. The hair throughout goes from cyberpunk buns to monstrous spikes, all largely pulling influence from Japanese street style and designers who're close friends.
My apartment often morphs into an arts and crafts studio, particularly when preparing for a photo or video project. I feel like this image captures the sparkle and color that this creative outlet brings into my life. What it did not capture is the hurricane of fabrics, threads, beads, and spray paint scattered in every room and on every surface of my home. It can get quite hectic and overwhelming, but I think it's worth it in the end.
Go behind the scenes of Sophia Bel's video, above, and stream "2AM (And I Did It Again)," below.
Photography: Lea Taillefer