Now well into my sixth year of writing ScreenDance Diaries, I frequently receive texts, Facebook messages, and emails from people sending me dance films they hope I’ll write about… or from friends recommending I watch something that I’ve almost always already seen. Although I am occasionally introduced to some lovely films, when I received an email from my Stepmother Charlene saying, “Thought you might like this. Elizabeth is my first cousin once removed,” and was introduced to Lizzy & the Triggermen’s: Dance Song For the End of the World, I was blown away.
Directed by Justin Nijm and Jack Bishop, the film and the song are so unbelievably spot-on in terms of the moment we are experiencing globally. Both are brilliantly done, and the spirit behind them had me from hello. With the benefit (and pleasure!) of being able to speak directly to Lizzy, I came to learn that the story behind this film was in and of itself both prescient and magical.
When the pandemic hit, as has been the case for so many artists, all of Lizzy & the Triggermen’s performances disappeared. “In the beginning there was this element of shock. Suddenly your vision of what your life was going to be for this year was not going to happen.” L & T were looking forward to a full year that included releasing their EP, a West Coast tour, performances at SXSW, and their New York City Debut. And initially they put a hold on putting out their EP “because it felt like a strange time to release music.” In the midst of wondering how they were going to proceed, Lizzy realized that although it had been created long before the pandemic, “Dance Song” in particular suddenly felt eerily relevant. “We were re-listening to the song and it opens with the radio announcer saying ‘people can no longer congregate, or gather in places of entertainment’. Our jaws dropped because it felt like the song was talking about this very moment! That song wasn’t even in consideration to be a single! But here it was, this song that suddenly felt crazy relevant… that was when I got the idea to do a music video because the song is all about how to find joy and connection when the world is ending.”
With the help of some friends including frequent collaborator Nikki Marvin who runs the Atomic Ballroom, Lizzy and her band mates reached out to top dancers of various genres from around the world, asking them to dance to the song in their own homes. “From the jump the videos were so much more creative and interesting than anything that we would have thought of. People’s creativity and originality during this time of restriction was just fascinating and so beautiful.
Part of what I’m trying to do (with this video) is point out that we’re all in this together… what we are going through is so global, and in a way that’s kind of bonding. And the paradox of the song is that when the worst thing happens, it’s like there’s nothing left to worry about!”
Lizzy & the Triggermen’s EP Good Songs for Bad Times is currently #3 on iTunes’ Jazz charts. Featured on the track are Dan Barrett (trombone), Nate Ketner (clarinet), Corey Gemme (trumpet), Jason Fabus (baritone sax), Gareth Price (drums), Sam Rocha (upright bass), Chris Dawson (piano), and Luca Pino (guitar). Their debut EP, ‘Good Songs for Bad Times,’ is available for download on iTunesand Amazon. You can hear/learn more about Lizzy and the Triggermen on Instagram Facebook YouTube and Spotify.
As one of the many glowing comments this film has garnered says: “We are all in this together, so let’s dance!”