Alternative rockers ZALE are set to release their new single and video “Little Black Dress” on Nov. 11 in anticipation of their sophomore full length Eye See You. Bandleader Hannah Zale produced the video herself with the help of 19-year-old Fiona Von Grey of the Von Grey sisters, who directed and edited the clip. Overall, it’s a pulse-pounding, high-energy affair that we’re excited to premiere for you this morning.
“Little Black Dress” is sleek, sensual, and alluring. The track pounds away at a hundred and fifty miles per hour like a Ducati Streetfighter running in the red with a fearless rider, legs spread, hugging tight to the engine. There’s no need for a heavy leather jacket and helmet when the ribboning blacktop bursts through your speakers. There’s nothing to slow it down, just skin in the wind. Your body tingles with the sensation of the silence between the notes and the high gain hum of searing riffs rocketing past. The beat pulses like veins supplying an IV of adrenaline straight to the chest.
The accompanying video takes on a thunderous rock and roll derby that calls to the ’90s and howls at the millennial moon. It feels like a visual Doppler Effect where you are compelled to hit replay to watch the melodic petrol drip from Zale’s lips as her voice ignites like floodlights on nightlife. Hips collide and grind as blips of passionate black-dressed dancers wave the flag of femininity against a stark white backdrop.
The scene visibly pits the dueling juxtaposition of the myth of female innocence against what Zale promotes as a celebration of “the power of women to possess and proclaim their uniqueness and individuality.” The final flash frame strips off the last of the threads, showing the dancers united together before fading straight to black. The transition further emboldens the video’s universal vision, which uplifts and empowers ZALE’s viewers, listeners, and fellow Zaliens. At its underbelly, the clip exposes the corporate and political atrocities of the oxford cloth wolves of our society that hide behind chic three-pieces and libel legislation. Make sure to keep your eyes wide open and your ears attuned because you won’t want to miss a note or a single frame.
Recently, we had the pleasure of speaking with Zale about her creative process and the prospects for her band moving into 2018. Enjoy and keep on keepin’ on.
What inspired you to write “Little Black Dress” and when did you first begin to cultivate the idea?
The inspiration behind the lyrics of “Little Black Dress” comes from a secret ritual I used to perform in college at The University of Georgia. Every time I would feel an existential crisis coming on, or wanted to quit my life and move to an island, or felt extremely overwhelmed by the experience of being myself, I would slip into a black dress and a wig and become someone else. I liked to settle on a name for the night first and then create elaborate backstories for my characters. I then would go out, by myself, and have interactions and experiences from this imaginary person’s point of view. A night of ultimate escape only made possible by my collection of wigs and little black dresses.
Who helped you record the song and what was your process like? Has your processed evolved or changed overtime since your debut album Fortress?
Tanner Hendon and Wyatt Oates at Madison Records produced this song and the additional eight songs for ZALE’s second LP. It’s taken us a year to complete this album and get them to the level we all wanted. I made Fortress in two weeks to give you perspective. We really took our time getting all the sounds right and making sure we were creating something unique and fresh and unapologetically ZALE.
The process has become much more band oriented for Eye See You. Guitarist, Christian Gerner-Smidt, is a force on this album, and his presence can be felt in every track. It’s not just Hannah Zale singer-songwriter tunes anymore—it’s full and fat and satisfying. It’s produced and polished and in your face rock and roll.
How is “Little Black Dress” representative of your second on Eye See You and why did you choose it to be the frontrunner for the album?
We really wanted to make some bangers (aka headbangers) for this album and “LBD” is certainly that! We wanted to bring the fun and the sex to the party. “Little Black Dress” gets that party magic going, begging listeners to “turn me on, take it off.” I super hope people like it!
How did you bridge your concepts for the song into visual elements for the video?
Firstly, I wanted to make this song about being a powerful woman WITH a powerful woman so I chose Fiona Von Grey to help make my vision a reality. I wanted a performance based video with a ’90s feel and all my best friends dancing with me. She got me those elements and more. We wanted to showcase the individuality and tremendous beauty of each of these women while also showing them as a united wall of black-dressed temptresses. This song is about getting lost in another version of yourself. Most of the ladies who are accountants and office managers and real estate brokers really had to be other versions of themselves in order to let go and be on camera in this video! Super fun for me to watch my friends become butterflies on set!
What was it like working with Fiona Von Grey?
I cannot say enough good things about working with Fiona Von Grey. I have had a girl crush on her for years, so when she accepted this project, I was losing my mind! She was so organized and professional and her editing and camera work speak for themselves. She did the whole thing with a single assistant on set and we came in on budget. She truly is a unicorn with the cutest dimples, talent, and genuine goodness. I want to work with her again ASAP.
Who else came out to support and help out during the filming?
My whole crew showed up. My sister and mom even make a cameo in the video! We had Ozymandias Wines providing liquid courage to everyone on set and Christian Zajicek did 15 faces of makeup that day!
Did everything go to plan and did anything funny or of note happen that day that you would like to share?
Dinner was the funniest part of the “LBD” music video experience. All the girls wrote back to me with their dietary needs for catering and legit everyone said they were vegan (I am not). So we went to Costco and got massive salad bar stuff; all vegan friendly dressings and toppings and really went out of our way to make it good. We also ordered five pizzas for the guys in the band and me who needed real sustenance. The pizza gets delivered and these women attack the boxes like they never typed an email saying they wouldn’t even look at anything dairy. So much for my vegan salad bar setup; we ordered more pizzas.
The lineup for the release show is really fantastic, who booked it and what was the thought behind bringing on each of these acts to support the release?
Thank you so much! I hope people come out and enjoy the whole night. Greco approached me about this date and venue and I really liked it for a catchy release date so we put it together and have been working hard promoting. The thought behind this bill and every ZALE bill is to connect with other motivated musicians in order to create the best live show possible for fans. We want everyone in the room to feel loved and appreciated by us.
What would you like your aspiring fans and current Zaliens to know about the upcoming release show and what do they have to look forward to in the coming months? I myself am hoping for some holiday treats…
ZALE is celebrating their single release in style with an accompanying music video and show presented by Rival Entertainment & Pabst Blue Ribbon with Greco, Three Star Revival, and Arc & Stones at Vinyl at Center Stage. Plus ZALE’s brand new merchandise line is launching on the same day. Be the first Zalien with an Eye See You t-shirt! November 11 is also your exclusive chance to pre-order Eye See You on vinyl! In January, the band will release the full LP digitally and on vinyl and play a big local show to kick off a tour. Also in 2018, another bit of visual content will make you scream for more. Oh, and of course, more badass ZALE swag is on its way!
ZALE will celebrate the release of “Little Black Dress” on Sat., Nov. 11 at Vinyl alongside GRECO, Three-Star Revival, and Arc & Stones. Doors open at 7 p.m. Admission is $12-15. All Ages.