Rachel Kate Gillon, Charleston's favorite seamstress-chanteuse, has always had a taste for the macabre, whether she was melting faces with the Shaniqua Brown or melting hearts with the Local Honeys. So leave it to her to release a music video featuring a pact with the devil, an ill-fated wedding, and a morass of hands clutching at a boat as it crosses some swampy backwoods River Styx.
"It is sort of that Gothic dark feel, kind of regal, but all the soft effects make it really lighter in some way," Gillon says of the new video for her song "Lost," off her 2013 solo album With Love and Hate. For all its dark imagery, the video also has a few moments of plain fun, including a vocal note that breaks a mirror and a chorus of ragamuffins raising the roof and giving an "amen."
Co-directors Landon Phillips (a former City Paper staffer) and Jenny Kleiman created the video as a flagship project for their production company The Royal Wild, and they pulled out all the stops to make a statement. The video was shot over the course of three days, sunup to sundown, on a friend's family property in McClellanville. It features frequent Rachel Kate collaborators Sarah Bandy and Camela Guevera as actors, actor Michael Claisse in a chilling dual-lead role, and Charleston Music Hall Director Charles Carmody as a country priest.
"Rachel Kate has this style that Jenny and I kind of wanted to play with and mix and match, and we came up with this Marie Antoinette meets 1930s Depression era — and that is kind of what Rachel Kate sounds like," Phillips says.
As for the scene with the hands poking out of the river, Gillon says she felt a pang of guilt making her friends go into the murky water. "I felt so terrible for them because it was freezing cold," Gillon says, "and they were just gasping for air and freezing and cutting their feet up on oyster shells, and meanwhile I was sitting in this boat like, 'I'm so sorry! You're doing great, this is great!'"
Gillon picked up City Paper Music Awards this year in the categories of Singer-Songwriter and Country/Americana/Rockabilly. Her next local performance will be at the Cord and Pedal Holiday Ball, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. at the Charleston Music Hall. Tickets are on sale for $10.