Lydia Garnett with fellow band guitarist Marie Malarie
Tell us about a bit more about the inspiration behind the video and your decision to set it in this queer western universe, that’s simultaneously retro and futuristic…
Lonely Cowgirl was one of the first songs we wrote around two years ago, and we fell in love with this idea of a mysterious queer cowgirl alone at a dive bar. The story grew from the song and the queer western universe is deliberately hard to place. I wanted it to feel slightly surreal, like you’re stepping into a fantasy world. You’re not sure where you’ve landed, is it 1970 or is it in some far-away, very queer future?
There’s a distinct John Waters-esque look and feel to the video – how much were you inspired by his aesthetic and were you influenced by any other directors/films?
We took inspiration from everything from Twin Peaks to Coyote Ugly, But I’m A Cheerleader and Mulholland Drive. As the documentary Disclosure showed us, queer and trans bodies have historically been villainised in mainstream cinema, and there’s a joke that gay romances in movies always end with someone dying! So it was important for us to feel like we were making new queer entertainment where we could control our own narrative. To me, Lilisquee feels like a John Waters character because she’s so mesmerizing and fabulous — and doesn’t care what anyone thinks.
Drag performer Lilisquee puts in a barnstorming performance as the Lonely Cowgirl – was the role created with her in mind?
Lilisquee’s performance as Cowgirl is perfect, her control, softness and humour meant that Lonely Cowgirl isn’t objectified as the love interest, and the exchange between her and The Hero feels very queer and mutual. We didn’t know who would play the Lonely Cowgirl at first, and there were many different interpretations on the character. Lilisquee is now the only Lonely Cowgirl in our minds, and I love that she commands respect, takes up space and doesn’t let you look away.
How did having a largely queer crew handling lighting, wardrobe and art direction help with achieving your creative vision for the video?
From the start, it was a very collaborative experience, from the way the song was written to the crew who shaped the creative vision. With the art direction and costume design, the creatives heard about this queer cowgirl theme and immediately wanted to get involved by making a fantasy gay bar and wild drag costumes. Months of work went into the handmade costumes by Jackie Pratt and Ghonorious Rheese, and the art direction by Izzi Valentine and lighting design by Rufai Ajala totally transformed an everyday pub into a scene ready for romance.
The video looks like it was as fun to make as it is joyful to watch. Were there any unexpected challenges on the shoot? What was the most rewarding aspect?
It was my first time being in the video and directing at the same time. It meant having to trust people off camera and go with the flow, which was new for me! The most rewarding aspect was probably seeing it all come together and knowing that all the planning paid off. And personally, it made me feel very seen to work with people who understood this vision and gave it their absolute all.
As a director and photographer, your work focuses on queer stories and communities – what else are you working on at the moment?
More of that! I’m about to work on a video with a new queer brand who are specialising in clothes for trans and GNC bodies, and hopefully more themed, gay music videos!
Interview by Selena Schleh
Director: Lydia Garnett @lydia_garnett
‘Lonely Cowgirl’ written and performed by Trouble Wanted @troublewanted
Vocals: Lucy Nurnberg @lucynurnberg
Synth / Saxophone: Olivia Norris
Guitar: Marie Malarie @mariemalarie
Bass: Lydia Garnett @lydia_garnett
Drums: Ana Rita Tiene @tn.ana
Lonely Cowgirl – Lilisquee @lilisquee
The Hero – Lucy Nurnberg @lucynurnberg
Barman – June Lam @assignedfagatbirth
Cowboy – Dean Corton
Producer – Cherrelle Redley Murrain @chezrm
Production Manager – Nabila Rouabah @nabilarouabah
Assistant Director – André Reid-McKinley @mrandrereid
Cinematographer – Ben Marshall @benmarshall.dop
Focus Puller –
Léa Aubigne @leaaubigne_ac
Gaffer – Rufai Ajala @rufaiajala
Lighting Technician – Ben Bainbridge @benhbainbridge
Art Director – Izzi Valentine @izzivalentine
With special thanks to
Annabel Maguire @annabel.maguire
Costume Design – Jackie Pratt and Ghonorious REESE @lambdog1066
Make-Up and Hair Stylist – Emma Kroeger @milk.shandy
Movement Director – Olivia Norris @o.k.norris
Location Scout – Izzi Valentine @izzivalentine
Location Manager – Benjamin F Smith at The King Charles
Camera Equipment – Camera Works @cameraworks_uk
With special thanks to Alix Eve @alixeve
Runner – Sky Yang @skyyang_
Catering – The Little Cooking Pot @littlecookingpot
Photographer – Sky Yang / @skyyang_
Stunt Driver – Luke Tudor Griffiths @alt.text
Music Production and Mixing – Sasha Wilde @sashakinwilde
Edit – Debbie Novo @isaacjlock
Additional Edit – Ned Alderwick @theofficialned
Title Design – Olivia Norris
Post Production – Archie Sinclair at Grey Moth @ditchweed @grey__moth
Grade – Karol Cybulski at CHEAT @imkarol.colour @cheat_it
Special thanks to Tim Nash at SOMESUCH @timmynasher @somesuchandco