[Photo by: Taylor Rambo]
Rochester, NY-based rockers Ovtlier are debuting their poignant, hard-hitting music video for their new song, “Set The World In Flames,” taken from the band's forthcoming EP, What Doesn't Kill You. The music video takes a powerful stance on the opioid epidemic that hits close to home for frontman Joey Arena.
“The media calls it an epidemic, but I call it a pandemic. I have lost many friends within the past year to addiction and substance abuse,” Arena explains. “This is also a song of self-empowerment. Putting faith in yourself to overcome the unimaginable. As the saying goes, 'It won't be easy, it'll be worth it.'”
Watch the band's new music video below, and read our Q&A with Arena about the band's forthcoming EP—and the message they want the world to know with its release.
This video is about the opioid epidemic—or, as you refer to it, a pandemic. What makes this topic such a relevant one for you?
After losing many friends and family to addiction and substance abuse, on top of seeing news feeds and viral videos portraying overdoses and deaths, it has become so everyday reoccurring, we decided it was time to put out material that took real stories and showcased the harsh reality of this pandemic. I (Joey), personally have buried close friends this year. This has become so common within the generations, everywhere, “epidemic” would be an understatement. Truth is; two out of four members featured in the video were/are users.
How does the song “Set The World In Flames” play into the narrative you're trying to tell? Was this song originally created to speak on this topic, or did the topic and video work together with the song in a new way?
The song is about “overcoming.” Finding strength within ourselves to continue on in life. Learning that we possess the ability to do all that we put our minds to, even if all that we have is ourselves. With all that being said; our director, Jesse Conti perceived it as an opportunity to highlight a very real situation and all immediately agreed. That’s the beauty of art though, we can interpret it however we want. We leave it to the listeners imagination.
What was your mindset as you were planning and creating this video?
This is going to make waves. May cause controversy for some but hopefully will hit home for many. Our intentions were good. I told the director, we can not be “PG” about this. I don't want to glamorize it into a hollywood movie. The media only shows us so much. Again, these are real stories put into one, taken from family members or people within the camp. We needed this to be as authentic and raw as possible.
It's from your new EP, What Doesn't Kill You. Is this a topic or theme that spans the entire EP?
The EP delivers a message of self-empowerment for sure, also the continuous struggles and battles life can throw at us. Whether it be our demons or people who have done us wrong. We have all been there, this is just our story. Moving forward; we will use this EP as a platform to touch upon other social issues that plague humanity.
“What Doesn't Kill You” is a title that will leave it open ended. We as people determine the outcome of our character through the events or situations we go through.
If there is a message to take away from this, especially for anyone struggling with substance abuse, what would you want that to be?
You are loved. You're stronger than you know and help is right at your fingertips or a phone call away.
No matter how far someone has fallen, there is always someone who wants to help.
Watch Ovtlier answer our questions in this video:
The band's new song is available for streaming on Spotify here.
What are your thoughts on the message behind Ovtlier's new music video? Let us know in the comments below.