A cursory YouTube search of Billie Eilish’s name won’t hasty imprint the tune video for the pop huge name’s 2d standalone single, “Six Feet Beneath.” The followup to Eilish’s dreamy Soundcloud debut, “Ocean Eyes,” as wisely because the singer-songwriter’s first liberate through Interscope Recordsdata, the 2016 clip may per chance per chance be the forgotten gem amongst Eilish’s 20 visuals to this point (although, at 26 million views, its attain is nothing to recoil at). Visually, it remains a standout inner her catalog, in segment because it’s Eilish’s only video in which the artist is not showcase. The attach her better-identified visuals boast highly produced physique horror match for a David Cronenberg characteristic — as in “When the Birthday party’s Over,” the attach her eyes bleed dark tears — “Six Feet Beneath” has the DIY enchantment of the Blair Witch Mission: A smoke bomb placed sooner than a wood fence is ignited by a disembodied hand and spouts plumes of yellow, teal, and purple. The footage became as soon as edited by Eilish’s mother Maggie Baird in reverse, as soon as in a while, in remark that the clouds spread, then recede, ebb and waft. This became as soon as moreover the first of her tune videos Billie Eilish directed herself.
At the time of its liberate, Eilish became as soon as 15, residing at the side of her oldsters in a Highland Park, Los Angeles, bungalow, the attach she became as soon as homeschooled and collaborated on tune from the childhood bedroom of her brother and first artistic companion, Finneas. She began writing tune at 11, but sooner than that, “since I became as soon as, adore, nine years aged, I became as soon as making tune videos to songs that I gorgeous liked, ‘characteristic off I gorgeous wanted it so execrable,” she tells MTV Information.
By 14, directing her grasp visuals became as soon as already a main dream, the origin attempts at which will be viewed in “Six Feet Beneath,” but Eilish chanced on that her ardour and abilities weren’t valued early on, particularly as a younger woman within the industry. “There’s this odd world of ‘You don’t grasp any abilities so that you just may per chance additionally’t grasp the job; — it’s adore, wisely, how am I supposed to make a decision up the job if I will’t decide up any abilities?” she as soon as posed to The Guardian. “I insist that’s a immense instruct within the enviornment with girls folks. I don’t insist people adore us being the boss.” As her sound developed from ethereal, fairy pop to incorporate a convergence of influences — she’s customarily cited rap’s resident weirdo Tyler, the Creator as a perennial inspiration — while her earliest visuals reflected the teenage dispute of an identity in flux.
Eilish has synesthesia, a neurological situation that makes her uniquely ready to visualise tune as vibrant hues, and her earlier videos appear to nod to which grasp: “Bellyache” finds the singer exploring a canyon rendered in excessive-distinction technicolor, while she dons an all-yellow sweatsuit. However it became as soon as with “You Ought to tranquil Glimpse Me in a Crown” that Eilish totally stepped into the macabre aesthetics for which she has change into identified, as wisely as abet into the director’s chair. Released in 2018 because the third video Eilish self-directed, it shows the singer mouthing lyrics to-digicam while carrying a glittering diadem roughly the size of her head. Tarantulas creep across her palms and inner her mouth as her physique shakes and spasms, maybe a reference to her evaluation of Tourette syndrome, which customarily looks as facial tics and muscle stress.
Continuously incorporating characteristically nightmarish fantasies the likes of which haven’t been viewed within the mainstream since the ’90s heyday of industrial titans Marilyn Manson and 9 Race Nails, the visuals that followed were intended to grasp-out and discomfort. “I indulge in bugging people out,” she acknowledged in a New York Times Journal profile earlier this year. “Freaking people out. I adore being checked out. I adore being in people’s heads. I feed off it.”
By the liberate of her debut album in March 2019, When We All Descend Asleep, The attach Develop We Scamper?, Eilish became as soon as totally as a lot as the brand of her sound — beat-heavy electronics and droning synths; whispered, spoken-notice vocals that dissolve into guttural sighs — and her image, even while participating. For “The entire Factual Girls Scamper to Hell,” which is up for 3 VMAs on Sunday, she brought her most dauntless belief yet to director Rich Lee: Riffing off the tune’s title, she would change into a fallen angel, plunging into a tar-sopping moist hellscape. Together, the pair referenced photos of oil spills within the ocean, as wisely as Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie There Will Be Blood.
“She desired to grasp these angel wings burn off, and what you are left with are the charred remains of the wings underneath,” Lee tells MTV Information, “to vary into the satan, in overall.” The transformation animated the manufacture and fabrication of a pair of wings, each and every extending 15 feet, which grasp been strapped to Eilish by potential of harness and puppeteered by an off-digicam crew. Covered in dark, coarse oil-adore Nickelodeon slime to tell a harrowing warning relating to the climate crisis, Eilish lugged the elephantine weight of the goo-soaked wings across the characteristic. “It is probably you’ll observe gorgeous how some distance she’s animated to head to virtually endure disaster to make art,” Lee says.
That sentiment interprets especially viscerally when viewing Eilish’s “Xanny” video, which transposes the melancholy abilities of respiratory in secondhand smoke into a muted grey tonality. Within the vein of “You Ought to tranquil Glimpse Me in a Crown,” the singer remains passively center-frame, slowly mouthing her lyrics to-digicam, as palms maintaining cigarettes attain in from previous the frame to extinguish the butts on her cheeks, leaving non eternal marks across her face. “It became as soon as gorgeous so natural, and roughly magical, the potential that it came,” Eilish says of the muse for the visuals. Directing it herself, nonetheless, became as soon as one other topic. “It’s loads, loads more work. It’s positively loads less… I are enthusiastic to state enjoyable, but it indubitably is enjoyable. It’s enjoyable in a definite potential, although,” she says, evaluating the abilities to being directed on characteristic. “However basically, it became as soon as precisely what I’ve crucial, because I’ve desired to narrate my grasp stuff for my entire existence.”
Now, it looks the tide has finally shifted. This year, Eilish’s direction for “Xanny” earned her a VMA nomination for Simplest Course, while one other video with Eilish on the helm, “All the pieces I Significant,” is up for Video of the twelve months. Within the intervening time, her most traditional visuals for the up-tempo “My Future,” an animation that sees a cool keen movie rendering of the singer actually develop and blossom because the tune’s beat picks up, looks to shirk off about a of the darkness. Most seemingly, it is even a message of hope in what’s to attain. “I indulge in the premise of making you insist about one thing that you just didn’t even know you notion,” she says. “The songs that I’m working on within the within the intervening time, the videos I’m working on within the within the intervening time, I got quite about a issues I are enthusiastic to state about my existence and relating to the enviornment in same old. And you know, why not voice them?”
The 2020 VMAs will air live at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday, August 30 across MTV’s linear and digital platforms, as wisely as with plenty of out of doors performances around New York Metropolis. Accumulate all the issues you may per chance additionally have to know at vma.mtv.com.