Nashville-based rock band The Love-In turn despair into empowerment in the video for their new song, “As It Lays.” It’s the title track of the band’s forthcoming EP, slated for release on September 4, which centers on the concept of freedom, particularly from social norms and gender roles that trap individuals into “a painful conformity” that’s ultimately “destructive, dangerous, and ridiculous.”
Written by lead singer Laurel Sorenson, “As It Lays” is inspired by Joan Didion’s 1970 novel Play it As it Lays, which tells the fictional story of an actress named Maria Wyeth as she goes through a series of personal hardships that lead to a mental breakdown. Sorenson read the book while dealing with a breakup among the original iteration of The Love-In, in addition to the tragic death of the band’s bass player, John Lattimer. “I was in a really dark spot in my life. I was caught up on ‘why did this happen?’’ Sorenson recalls of her headspace following the series of tragedies, adding that she related “deeply” to the book’s subject matter. “When I read the book, it lined up with the philosophy that I was starting to come up with for myself where it was like, that’s just how it is, it’s not really worth my energy or time to try and ask why all of this stuff is happening. Those are unanswerable questions for me.”
Sorenson penned the rock-leaning track, with its hint of electro-funk, over the course of a year, the verses coming to her before the chorus that finds her wailing, “The sun won’t rise ’til I get mine/Now the old rules don’t apply, so I just drive.” The idea of taking to the open road to unleash one’s fury is a commonality between Sorenson and Wyeth – the character in the book states that she drives down California’s famed 405 highway to gain clarity, a feeling that Sorenson knows all too well. “I drive to make sense of the world sometimes,” the Southern California native confesses. “The feelings described were trying to figure out what to do with despair and working through that, and that’s something that I was doing in my own life. The book posed a question and the song was my answer.”
Sorenson put as much intention into the video for the song as she did the lyrics. Shot in director Chuck Dave’s backyard, the video captures Sorenson and her bandmates (guitarist Emma Holden, drummer Michael Rasile and bassist Max Zikakis) performing the track in front of a towering banana tree. “I really wanted to capture a sense of rapid movement and stillness because that’s what the song feels like to me – I’m going as fast as I can, but I’m stuck,” Sorenson explains of the concept. She adds a pop of color to the visual by wearing red, a hue the band has been intentional about incorporating into its branding due to its ability to cover the emotional spectrum. “[Red] goes with our whole philosophy; you can be aggressive and angry and soft and loving all in the same person and the same body,” she expresses.
While The Love-In has a distinct way of capturing vast emotions, they also keep community at their core. The band’s name has another literary tie-in; it’s lifted from the book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, published in 1968, which defines The Love-In as a group of people uniting in love and friendship, an ideology the eclectic foursome has wholly embraced. “The Love-In was described as a bunch of people coming together and loving each other and having that bond of fun and friendship also be a political act,” Sorenson shares.“It’s come to mean everybody that’s part of the community surrounding our band. We’re always saying to one another ‘Welcome to The Love-In, you’re in the party now.’”