When Night Palace singer Avery Leigh Draut prepared to shoot the video for “Into the Wake, Mystified” with director Hanna Haley, she packed up her bags with the most “magical things” that she could find in her apartment before catching a taxi. That included a gold deer statuette, a few crafty fake birds that she used to wear clipped to her hair, silver garland, six different outfits and lots of fabric. “I really hoard fabric,” says Draut by phone from New York. “I basically dumped a bunch of tulle on her floor and it shows up in various places. We made backdrops with the fabric.”
That was back in 2019, when Draut and her bandmates were still mastering their debut album, Diving Rings, which is set for release next year via Park the Van. Today, though, the video for “Into the Wake, Mystified,” is live.
The clip features Draut in what appears to be an enchanted world filled with hues of purple, blue and green and filled with small details. Miniature objects and a deck of cards lend an element of Wonderland to the video, while those fabrics that Draut collected help add an ethereal quality to the visuals.
The video for “Into the Wake, Mystified,” is based on storyboards that Haley had made of winter transforming into spring, which ties to the themes of the song. Draut describes the song itself as being set in an “oceanic world” with lyrics that speak to changes in relationships, specifically those “relationships that we sustain throughout our lives and seasons that come and go with those, how we are maybe no longer in the same season with other people, but still connected to them,” she says.
But that’s not how the song began. The story behind “Into the Wake, Mystified,” goes back a ways before Draut recorded the song with Night Palace and made the video with Haley. In fact, it’s actually one of the first that she wrote. “We had played this song live for three years before recording it,” Draut explains. “It had totally different lyrics and a totally different situation and the chorus melody was different.”
With time, though, this early example of Draut’s work needed to evolve. “ I had it going on so long that I had then changed and wanted the song to change with me,” she says. After a significant overhaul, the band was able to record it. “It finally found its place.”
Night Palace formed in 2016, first under the name Wanda, in Athens, Georgia. Draut, who grew up in suburban Atlanta, headed to Athens for college and, after finishing school in 2014, she decided to stick around town for a bit. She got a job at a boutique, began writing songs and started playing live with a few friends. When those friends moved, she connected with other local musicians who would become her bandmates. Eventually, though, Draut headed to New York.
“I was pursuing more classical voice stuff. The place [to do that] was in New York,” says Draut. There, she worked and continued taking voice lessons while also auditioning. Meanwhile, she was working on music with her bandmates back in Georgia.
Draut now splits her time between Brooklyn and Athens. In 2017, she and the band began work on their forthcoming debut full-length. She would record demos using her electric organ and send those to the others. Then, when she was in Athens, they headed to the studio to record. Once those session were done, Draut continued the collaborations in Athens. She would head into the studio with producer and engineer Drew Vanderberg, who has worked with artists like Of Montreal and Toro y Moi, and record with Andy LeMaster, known for his early ‘00s band Now It’s Overhead, as well as an engineer and producer who has worked with Bright Eyes, Fischerspooner and Michael Stipe. “It was very much this growing living thing that got layered onto for a couple of years,” says Draut of the album, which was completed prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Diving Rings, which is inspired by Draut’s grandmother teaching her how to swim, still a few months away from release, Night Palace’s founder has been focused on making videos. She says that there are a few more on the way, which are in various stages of completion right now. “I love that aspect so much. It’s really a fun part of it for me,” says Draut, who says that she’s always finding artists online whose work she admires and who might be good collaborators. “I delight in color and that entire world. It rules my world a bit.”