The magnetic love that brings two together can be equally powerful in reverse. Love deteriorates like a plague; slow at the beginning, it eventually explodes in an outbreak of mass hysteria and panic. Indianapolis’ Happy Incident capture the internal combustion of a breakup in their “Backbiter” music video, depicting the poignant demise of an eroding relationship and the pain that boils over.
Sent the smoke-cloud terrorist shying down,
Said “Don’t you know
You shouldn’t take advantage of…”
Backbiter got the spins on a merry-go-round
I hope you’re choking on the chewing gum
you stole from me while kissing my mouth
Watch: “Backbiter” – Happy Incident
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “Backbiter,” taken from Happy Incident’s eponymous 2016 debut EP. The Indianapolis indie rock band consists of frontman Zach Smith, drummer Andrew Howard, and bassist Adam Drake. Offering unadulterated rock through a thoughtful, transparent lens, Happy Incident seek to “connect the thoughts, emotions, and trends of the world on the individual, collective, and spiritual level.” The band’s EP offers a fresh electric shock of realism into an emotionally rich landscape, where guitars build into cathartic anthems of epic proportions.
The scars are real and the pain is vivid on “Backbiter,” a song that “explores the turning point in a toxic relationship,” according to Zach Smith. “In it, the protagonist is reconciling the romanticized past of a relationship with the reality of the damage it has caused.” This is the open-eyed moment of realization, the tumultuous backlash that tumbles forth the individual. Smith’s lyricism is vivid, his portraiture intense as he snidely sings:
I’m looking at you
And you don’t look quite right to me now
Where you would kiss, you left me welts
Uncovered the Truth
I’m not gonna’ let it go
The “Backbiter” music video takes a closer look at the corrosive relationship, exploring various moments at the end and how they affect the doomed couple’s interactions. “In the video for Backbiter, we wanted to look at the topic from a layered perspective, viewing the couple through the lens of external situations and the lens of their boiling emotions underneath. The storyline of the video is non-linear, and begins at a moment when the girl is walking away from the relationship. Everything that happens from that moment on are snapshots of the lives of these two characters who are at the emotional end stages of a relationship, and maybe even entering the realm of domestic abuse.”
We see the discomfort; the unhappiness that has caused a tangible rift in a once loving, dynamic duo. They are bottled up, emotionless toward one another, refusing to embrace what was once a vessel for emotional and physical support. The pair watch two children, a boy and girl, interacting with one another on a playground. “In the video we used a young boy and girl as a foil to the apathy of the adults; they act as the couple’s emotional compass, unrestrained by the world’s tendency to harbor emotions under the surface and instead displaying their feelings rather physically.” The young pair embrace and brace themselves, exploring a variety of feelings and sharing them freely with the other.
Interspersed, we get epic visuals of the band, detached from the scene yet somehow intricately a part of it: “We also see some shots that take place in a warehouse where the band is, which acts as the setting of a metaphorical world that displays abstractly the breaking that is going on inside the characters with the lights acting symbolically as their different emotions. Towards the end we see a sudden switch from the couple’s intense fight scene to a peaceful date in the park, [and] are left to wonder whether the couple has fallen yet again into the unhealthy allure of one another or if we are witnessing a flashback foreshadowing the emotional abuse to come.”
So similar you slither like a snake in the grass
While spitting sweet-talk
Charming me deaf to your gimmick
Con-doctor said she’d help me cover up the past
But what a shock to find the bandages
You wrapped me in were just making me sick
“Backbiter” is Happy Incident’s not-so-happy incident, a fiery display of the darker side of love. Whether the couple makes it through or not, “Backbiter” is a stinging reminder of how pain is as real a part of love as is joy. When the stakes are this high, the results are cataclysmic.
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cover: Happy Incident © 2017