The Artist Explains: Radiator King - 'The Guns You Pawned'

Brooklyn based singer-songwriter Radiator King speaks to us about his music video for new singe, 'The Guns You Pawned'.
Radiator King's 'The Guns You Pawned' sounds like solo footprints kicking up dust along dirt roads on stifling and hazy summer days.  There's a foreboding and authentic tone to the track that is led by Radiator King's gravelly vocal, seeing dark folk influences meet bluesy, punk sensibilities as the track roars to its reverb drenched conclusion.

Radiator King Explains
Where was the video for 'The Guns You Pawned'​ filmed?
The video was filmed in Hudson, NY. The video producer's family owns a beautiful house up there on a huge plot of land and on the back of the property is an old dilapidated barn. That's where the majority of the video was filmed.

 How does the video compliment the song?
With any music video the hope is that the visual component will further evoke the emotion you sought to convey in the song. 'The Guns You Pawned' is a rough tune with a certain angst. I think the guys who made the video, Adam Cohen and Joaquin Portocarero, did a wonderful job to accentuate the raw qualities of the song. They accomplished this with special filming techniques that I know absolutely nothing about, but they sure do. Adam and Joaquin knew exactly what they were looking for in regards to shooting location, scene sequencing, and lighting to nail the vibe of the song.

As I mentioned earlier, much of the filming was done in this old barn that was falling apart. We mainly worked on the second floor and it was a real mess up there; not only had most of the floor fallen through, but apparently a family of of bats had made their home up there, which was evident from the piles of bat droppings scattered around. Every night we would film from 8pm to 4am because that was the optimal time to capture the best lighting.

 Any behind the scenes stories?
I got the imagery for the song from an odd job I had recently where I drove a woman around the country to different pawn shops to buy diamonds. We would travel to different states from coast to coast and I spent a lot of time at pawn shops in low income neighborhoods. I became fascinated with how they operated and thought the whole concept of pawning your possessions would make for an interesting metaphor to use in a song. In pawn shops, once a certain amount of time passes and you haven’t paid the fee on the item, it’s no longer yours. You’ve essentially given it up. From what I’ve seen, this how a lot of people live their lives.

Could you tell us about the ideas/ themes/ imagery used?
When I write songs, I try to leave a certain space for interpretation. It's important because I believe that within the interpretive space lies the place where the listener carves out their own personal connection and meaning for the song. A lot of the ideas for the video stemmed from the interpretations Cohen and Portocarero had of the song. It was really interesting to see how they visualized my lyrics.

There is a fire performer named Cinder Petrichor that plays a large role in the video who represents Lady Luck. In the song, Lady Luck is mentioned in a verse which says "Lady Luck winks at you, but you just look away, she's foreign, exotic, and unkind. There's a hole that she's been digging, and you caught a glimpse of it. It's true you will be buried there someday". Cohen and Portacarero found these lines to carry significant weight in their interpretation of the song and this imagery became the foundation for which they built the video around. At one point during the video she stands with me in a graveyard blowing fire from her mouth, while I dig my own grave. The imagery gives an air of mystique, a hint of impending doom. I was pretty happy with how it came together.

What do you hope people take away from watching the video?
We all have an inner voice within us, our intuition, our gut, or whatever else you want to call it and it’s so damn tough to follow this voice. Pressure and fear from all around cause us to second guess it and what we are left with is self-doubt. This song is about confronting self-doubt. But most of all it’s about recognizing the importance of continuing down that unknown road and to not be swayed by those who gave up on the battle or threw in the towel. You never know when it's your time to go, so you better do it right while you're still here.

Interview Feature by Karla Harris