Digging In: Hana Vu - 'Care'

Digging In: Hana Vu - 'Care'

Having just released her awesome sophomore album ‘Romanticism’, the LA-based singer-songwriter digs into single and stunning video ‘Care’

Image credit: Supplied

Being born in the year 2000, it makes a lot of sense that at this point in Hana Vu’s life and musical career, her new album Romanticism would deal with the subject of youth, exploring just what it means for youth to ‘end’.

Hana’s youth was spent more productive than many, beginning to write and perform songs around at L.A. by the age of 14 before going on to self-produce her 2018 debut EP How Many Times Have You Driven By at the age of 17 and be released by Fat Possum imprint,  Luminelle Recordings. The intriguingly titled Nicole Kidman / Anne Hathaway double EP in 2019 was next, before Vu released her debut studio album Public Storage in 2021.

Fast forward to 2024, with Hana still just in her early-mid twenties and she’s taken her music to the next level on new album, Romanticism. Across 12 cuts of lush & layered, emotional & atmospheric, guitar-driven & synth-bass based, fuzzy & grungy indie rock, Vu tackles the familiar coming of age topic with a sense of self-awareness, avoiding the tropes and pitfalls that can stem from the themes.

The album’s title may initially call to mind a cliched romance theme, however “being a romantic is different from being a romanticist,” Vu clarifies. Instead, Hana channels the approach of the Romantic era of the 1700s, favouring emotion and seeking beauty in all of nature - including melancholic emotions and lost youth. “The nexus of this album is indulging in these sad feelings, indulging in the senses,” Vu says. “It's just not commonplace in society that people really can value the beauty of being so sad, of feeling grief and heartbreak.”

A stand out song from the album released as a single ahead of its release is Care, which comes with a pretty damn cool and intriguing music video. Opening with big acoustic guitar strums and subtly sweeping synths, Care soon gives way to a mellow backbeat and Vu’s instantly captivating vocals that detail a story of lost love in LA.

Meanwhile, the cinematic music video opens with Hana’s mangled, decapitated head singing on a backyard lawn next to a pool, before a tragic tale unfolds in enthralling fashion.

To find out all about the video for Care, director Maegan Houang and Hana were kind enough to dig deep into the concept and process, as well as sharing some behind the scenes snaps with Pilerats!

Maegan Houang:

The video concept for “Care” plays with and expands upon the Romanticism album art inspired by the Artemisia Gentileschi paintings “Judith Beheading Holofernes” and “Judith, Her Maid and Holofernes Head.”

Artemisia Gentileschi Giuditta decapita Oloferne Google Art Project Adjust

Album Art2

Like the album art, Hana will play a decapitated head, but, unlike the paintings, set in modern day. The video will follow the story of her murder, moving backward in time from the moment the cops discover her discarded head to the moment right before her death. We’ll always stay focused on Hana as she performs, never seeing the killer beyond his hands or his shadow. This video isn’t about him, but about the meaning of care. Did he care so much to murder her or did he never care for her at all?

Maegan 1Maegan 2Maegan 3

I’m really lucky to have a close working relationship with Hana where she entertains all my crazy ambitious ideas. For this video, we had a small budget so the first priority was to find all our locations for free. We shot at the back house of the office where I work, at my in-laws house and at Hana’s apartment. Since we didn’t have a lot of money, I knew we had to make the most of our time. I set Hana to work to learn how to sing backwards for a month before the shoot. We also had Eric Fox cast her head a month before to give him as much time to make the fake Hana heads, which are now in my office as decor.

Hana 5Hana 6

We used the cinematographer Andrew Yuyi Truong’s 16mm camera and used 16mm short ends he and I both had from previous shoots. We wanted the video to feel like a 90s Hong Kong movie in the vein of Fallen Angels or Too Many Ways to be No. 1, so shooting on 16mm made a lot of sense.

Maegan 6Maegan 7

Hana Vu:

For Care, Maegan had a lot of ambitions. The first step was getting my head cast so we could make replicas to throw around. I also worked with a linguist to learn how to sing the song backwards so that we could shoot the video in reverse. This took about a month of preparation, and then I went through extensive makeup to look deteriorated and dead. It took a really long time to get all the fake blood out of my hair.

Hana 1

Hana 2

Hana 3

Then for the shots of me walking, I had a 30 pound camera strapped to my body, filming as I stumbled around the streets. Finally a big part of the video was getting strangled by an actor. We rehearsed this with a stunt coordinator for over an hour before we shot it.

Maegan 5

Maegan 4

Hana Vu's new album Romanticism is out now via Ghostly International

Follow Hana Vu: Instagram / Facebook

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