“Devil in the Room” Song Premiere
True to the sprawling experimental vision behind Emil Werstler’s Verlorener album, the video for its first single, “Devil in the Room,” was pieced together from found footage from many decades ago, interspersed with shots of Werstler on guitar.
“I went down to Atlanta and did a 14-hour shoot on a Sunday, and they had what they needed. It’s cool to see something that ancient—that digitized found footage—with glitching and all this weird stuff happening. The footage is a mixture of 35 mm, 16 mm, and 8 mm test film, with models and actors, combined with recently found 8 mm reels the director’s grandfather shot in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. They embody the Americana era that no longer exists and wasn’t as quaint as it seemed underneath the surface. Although this era is often the collective, romantic fantasy, we can neither recreate it, nor do we truly crave that way of living 50 years later. We all have the capability to be the devil in the room in our personal relationships as they fall to pieces.”
As for the music, the song takes its own distinctive path, departing from not just metal conventions but all genre restrictions. It’s just guitar, cellos, beats, and the sound of a person breathing. “That was Alastair Sims,” says Werstler. “He came in to do whatever he could to help me finish the record.” That included engineering the guitar tracks, assisting with production, and adding beats and programming. “Alastair was like, ‘I’ve got an idea, let’s roll with it,’ and I was like ‘I see what you’re doing and this is perfect because that just opens up more narrative for the music video.’ I can’t listen to music if it doesn’t go somewhere—it has to have a narrative.
“I also had a train recorded on my phone, and I knew it was going to pivot between the train noise and the recording of a door opening, which was the door in the house I lived in at the time. There was a lot of field recording on that song, now that I think about it.”