Sometimes songs and music videos are deep metaphors for our emotions and the world around us, and sometimes they are just beautiful pieces of cinematography devoid of a higher message. With “Drowning in Paradise – The Remix,” the newest release from pop singer Drue de Milo, she asks “why not have both?”
The original music video for “Drowning in Paradise” was bathed in symbolism, with beautifully shot surfing imagery serving as a stand-in for the physical and psychological ebb and flow of a sexual relationship. But with “The Remix,” De Milo wanted to showcase her passionate love of surfing for what it was, in all it’s wet, extreme glory. Featuring a slew of surfers from around the world, the sun and sand-soaked video shows the “naturally exciting” nature of the sport. With fun and simple touches of animation running throughout, the video is a reminder from de Milo that sometimes its just nice to bask in organic beauty without looking for deeper meaning.
The Untitled Magazine caught up with Drue de Milo about the new track and video, her approaches to singing, and big upcoming projects
Check out the full interview and watch the music video for “Drowning in Paradise – The Remix” below.
The music videos for both versions of “Drowning in Paradise” feature surfing as a theme. How is the visual message different this time around?
Happy you asked. In the original, I was playing with the surf imagery as symbolic; riding the push and pull in love and sex and the “waves” that come with that spark.
The surfing in “The Remix” is really about surfing. I’m always sending my friends surf clips and movies like “look what that guy just did.” The visual message here is we don’t always need to assign meaning; some things are naturally exciting.
I understand you directed the video yourself. Is this the first time you’ve taken that role on? What was that like? Why did you decide to self-direct?
The original was the first one I directed. I knew from the onset that there would be a remix featuring more surfers doing their thing; that was always the idea.
Directing and putting this together was wild; I had a ton of footage coming in from amazing videographers, which was exciting and a bit overwhelming; but I knew what I was looking for. I had this vision in my head for so long of some kind of surf edit / animated superhero / music video escape, and that’s hard to translate to another person, so I chose not to and to just take the reins. Directing shots of myself is definitely a challenge, but I love seeing it from both sides.
What is your personal connection with surfing and inspiration to incorporate it as a theme in your songwriting?
I’m all about falling in love with what drives us, what’s in our nature. And in my experience, all of our humanness – desirable and fallible – is so evident when we meet something bigger than ourselves, like the ocean. So it’s an obvious place for me to go, both in my songwriting and literally. If I get in the ocean, even for 30 minutes and nosedive, I’ll leave with, like, a new poem, a melody, a video concept, a better mood, and a tan. There’s soul in the ocean, and there should be soul in music.
Tell us about the surfers featured in the video.
Oh they’re great. Each one has such sick individual style. I mentioned earlier that I had a ton of footage coming towards me and it was sort of an “I know it when I see it” kinda thing.
I love that barrel shot of Logan Kamen with his hands behind his back – he’s from California and I found him on Instagram a couple years ago.
Tyler Newton is a competitive surfer from Hawaii – the clips in this were filmed at Teahupoo, Tahiti – and they’re all insane. He’s so calm on the wave.
The shot of Eimeo Czermak flipping off the camera coming out of the barrel came to me from filmer Brady Lawrence, and I was so excited to see it animated. Eimeo is from Tahiti – he’s got such a fun vibe.
I wasn’t going to include any airs in this – I liked how the barrels were lining up with the music; but then I saw that clip of Eithan Osborne and I had a change of heart.
Leif Engstrom caught his wave while I was in Puerto Rico finishing the project. There was a crazy swell that week and it was so fun to watch. He was great on camera in the original video and I love the continuity.
We love the combination of animation and live action in the video, what is the inspiration for that?
Thanks! It’s a superhero thing, I’ve always wanted to make a comic book of sorts and this felt right. The water is so epic – so why not take the characters up a notch and, like, show off their powers. Tom Seager drew the surfers and Faye Orlove animated me; they matched the footage seamlessly.
You’ve stated before that you approach singing as a physical experience. Can you elaborate on that?
When I’m singing well, I can feel it in my knees. It’s that same kind of calm adrenaline I get in a crazy workout, or doing ballet, or, you know, surfing where your body drops in and you’re not focused on entertaining so much as the truth of the moment. Full body.
How do you think being vocally trained by an opera singer has set your vocal style apart from other pop singers?
It was actually that vocal coach who drove home the physical thing. He told me if I ever sing really perfectly, I’ll pass out. What it’s allowed me is a lot of freedom to play. I don’t always have to go there, but I can. Knowing the rules and your own limits means you can break ‘em and stretch ‘em at will.
What else do you have on the horizon we can look out for from you this year?
Well there’s been an EP in the works for a while that honestly looks like it’s becoming an album. I’ll be releasing one more single, “u want me” first, and then I might just drop the whole thing. We’ll see. You’ll be the first to know.