Halifax four-piece Vulva Culture, led by singer and guitarist Amy V., makes emotive and depressive music that is equally comforting, moving, and powerful. This summer, Toronto filmmaker Heather Rappard shot and directed four videos to accompany the tracks on Vulva Culture’s September release, In Vain, described by Amy V. as “an autobiography in song.” As a result, the videos display a twisted, alluring marriage of form and content.
“I wanted the videos all to have a dark, beautiful yet surreal, uncanny vibe that I felt really suited Vulva Culture’s music,” says Rappard. Shot in black and white, “Each video features a dark-haired woman or more specifically a GSQ (gothic slumber queen) doing a small action, all of which are pretty personal actions. Focussing on them and drawing them out really adds to the creepy, uncomfortable, voyeuristic vibe, like the songs,” she says. The four tracks all expose complex but universal emotions, echoed through the slow, winding solos of Kayla Stevens. And the videos take a macabre look at everyday experience to the point of the grotesque, all shielded in a natural sense of contrast.
Inspired by her repulsion towards the glamorization of women in media, Amy V. explains, “These gorgeous women are just feeding and grooming themselves, doing everyday things that you don’t normally see on film.” But, like real life, it’s much darker than it appears. Produced with an arts grant, “It’s also a plus that I got to employ a female artist to make videos with an all-female cast for music by an all-female band,” she adds.
“Vulva Culture’s music is so sad and so personal but it’s also so beautiful, and the songs on In Vain all have a really slow build and a climax,” says Rappard, “I tried to mirror that quality in the videos and in my frames to reflect the classic quality of this band.”
Check out the videos below: