Exploring feminism in a horror music video with CAT

College Kids Collaborate on a Music Video

Cat Lev, CAT, is a senior theatre major, minor in screenwriting, who is delving into her passion for music. She recently came out with a music video, “NOAH”, that explores female empowerment in the genre of 1980s horror. The music video was a complete collaboration by college students.

We sat down to chat about the creative process, female empowerment, and making music with likeminded college kids here at USC.

What is your music video about?

NOAH started out as a classic idea: A girl doesn’t get asked to the prom, so she ends up going alone to get her revenge. I could never figure out what the ending was. I just knew revenge. My friend Adrienne helped me come up with the ending. We merged in our love for horror. It’s a 1980s horror video. The girl ends up killing the popular guy at the prom with a baseball bat.

Why did you decide to make this music video in the horror genre?

I love horror — most of my art has an underlying aspect of horror. I love aesthetics. I love things that don’t go together. It’s cool to find a really happy idea and make it a little darker to get your audience to think in a new way. I love being able to still play, and I think with horror you are able to do that since it is a fictional world. You have this whole blank space to create. I always ask myself, how can we have fun with this? Making my video in the horror genre I was really able to play and have fun.

What do you want people who watch the music video to come away with?

Female empowerment. The song is based off of a beat poem my friend performed in Chicago, which is about being a female artist in a male dominated industry. It’s a female empowerment anthem saying “you can do whatever you want, but I won’t cease to be just a noise, I am here.” What’s fun is back in the day you couldn’t go to prom if you didn’t have a date so we want to give the females in the 1980s setting we have created their power back.

You have this whole blank space to create. I always ask myself, how can we have fun with this? Making my video in the horror genre I was really able to play and have fun.”

What is it like for you as a young women trying to make it in the music industry today?

This is my first year fully committing to music. At first I couldn’t imagine my voice on the radio. I’m not a power belter. Discovering what made music so powerful for women back in the day really gave me the push I needed to pursue art now. I would listen to Stevie Nicks for hours. In the Los Angeles music scene right now there are a lot of young artists and there is a lot of girl power. Girls really want to help each other out and that female alliance is really propelled through social media. I found one of my costume designers for this video, Julia Wild, from Instagram. It’s been really incredible to reach out and work with other female artists. It’s such a rare, beautiful thing. It’s one thing to be a kind person, but it’s a whole other thing to genuinely want to lift other people and artists in your industry up and that’s what the women in this industry are doing. There’s this inner club of the women musicians helping each other out in this industry that is so male dominated, it’s awesome.

Tell me about the collaboration of USC students

It was so incredible. Everyone showed up and was really supportive. People took it so seriously. A lot of love was in the room, in the music, make-up, costumes. A lot of the students were seniors so this was kind of a final way to collaborate under the USC name. Getting together and going to 80s prom for one last time was really representative and special. Because there were so many creatives, any problem we had was solved in an innovative way so quickly. There was so much comfort and communication that it was all handled so professionally and it was just wonderful. Collaborating with students will be my go-to with any future music video

What’s next for you as a musician?

I’ll be recording an EP (extended play record) this summer!

Becca is the co-editor of NEON. She is a senior double majoring in English and Political Science. She writes a variety of pieces wth a special interest in social justice and investigative reporting.