Written by Jhoni Jackson
Taking the wrong train is a guaranteed day-ruiner for most public transport riders, but in Lola Pistola‘s new video for “Carroll Street,” premiering today on Remezcla, it’s a surprise impetus for self-discovery. Through the adventure of unexpected exploration, you might find yourself better appreciating — even savoring — the mundane day-to-day you’d typically overlook.
With help from makeup artist Jezz Hill, Lola Pistola adopted a drag-inspired version of herself to become an “out-of-place beauty queen,” an over-the-top character complete with cherry-red formalwear and a bouquet of yellow roses. The concept was initially hers, she says, but was teased out from there — and into what would manifest onscreen as moments of desert-level dry humor — when she and director Kaya Yusi got to brainstorming.
“We would only write down things that would both make us laugh, like ‘standing by the pier overlooking the Statue of Liberty and imitating a pose with a weird grin’ (although we didn’t shoot this), ‘eating a hot dog for breakfast,’ ‘looking bored with half-naked dudes,’ ‘crying in the middle of the song,’ etcetera,” she says.
The gritty-but-pretty track falls somewhere between alt-grunge and noise pop, with white-knuckle bursts contrasted by stretches of soft, serene vocals. It’s the first single from her forthcoming full-length debut Curfew, out September 29 on Burger Records, following the AJ Dávila produced “Tú Pensabas” in 2015 and last year’s Everyday/Routine EP.
Lola Pistola, aka Arvelisse Ruby, notes that the video location was intentional, and paramount to the entire LP’s creation. It was filmed in Red Hook, where she’s lived for the past year with her partner, bandmate Robert Preston (He’s also one of the two half-naked guys in the video; the other is her roommate).
“It has been the first time since the five years that I’ve been living in Brooklyn where I can feel like home,” says Ruby, who relocated to New York from Puerto Rico.
Working in chaotic bars and restaurants but having the benefit of switching back to “introspective solitude” at home, she adds, feels surreal compared to the other NYC neighborhoods she’s lived. “I have downtown and the Statue of Liberty, the pier, and more just a few steps away from my house, and I can smell the water and be near it always, just like back home,” she says.
In the “Carroll Street” clip, though, Ruby hopes to stress the notion that, even away from home, “we are who we are, no matter where we are.” Breaking routine could be the reminder you need to embrace that idea. “There’s no mysterious message to it, but maybe you need to miss the fucking train to blossom and find yourself and do something crazy,” she says.
Lola Pistola’s debut album Curfew drops September 29 via Burger Records.