Though filmed back in January, the video for the artist’s newest single—”a song about feeling helpless while you wait for whatever is in store for you on the other side”—perfectly encapsulates the feelings of uncertainty we’re all currently experiencing together, while apart
I’m by no means a pious person, but every once in a while, I’ll have what, for lack of a better term, I’ll refer to as a religious experience. A moment when something—a slice of scenery, that good gold light, the perfect song at the perfect time—shakes me out of my fog, serving up some divine crystal clarity that cuts straight through the ordinary to hit me in that undefined internal sweet spot that I can never quite reach on command.
One recent occurrence of this phenomenon was pre-pandemic—or at least before the term pandemic had a prominent place in our collective vocabulary—on a January evening at the Sultan Room. There, floating on a cocktail-induced cloud and cozily cocooned in a largely blue-clad crowd, I experienced one of those magic moments while surrounded by, it seemed, almost every person I know in Brooklyn, all of whom had congregated that Wednesday to worship at the church of HNRY FLWR and celebrate the release his new single, “Waiting Room.”
I could deep-dive into a description of this evening—the energy, the lineup, the literal bloodshed-by-shred—but as much as I’d love for us all to hop on a time machine and Bill-and-Ted ourselves back to the past to re-experience the show, that is, unfortunately, not a possibility. (And realistically, if we had the ability to time travel, there are probably a feeew other things we should do first. But I digress.)
SO! Back to the present, and this moment in particular, as I’m thrilled so share something that’s new and wonderful and probably the next best thing to seeing HNRY FLWR live: the “Waiting Room” music video—which is out on the internet for your eyes’ and ears’ enjoyment TODAY.
Filmed in Fleischmanns and Far Rockaway, both in New York, the beautifully shot video—directed by the artist’s brother, Kevin Van Witt—features HNRY FLWR in, strangely enough, the situation that most of us find ourselves in now: alone, in a room, just… waiting.
While the video was shot back in January, two months before we entered our current state of socially isolated limbo—and the song, no doubt, written long before that—they both feel form-fitted to relate to our current reality, and ahead of the release, HNRY was kind enough to share the story behind the work, offer some insight into the process and give us his thoughts on the themes that, while timeless, now feel particularly pertinent to our current situation:
“What a time to be promoting ‘Waiting Room’! A song literally about feeling helpless while you wait for whatever is in store for you on the other side, whether that is a metaphor for what comes after your human life cycle, or what the doctor is going to say. Sometimes it’s not just what is the answer, but in the waiting room, sometimes what’s the most painful is, how long is it going to take? I remember reading somewhere that the actual waiting part is the most stressful. Once you get the news, good or bad, you feel a lot better. Sure the doctor might say you’re sick, but at least you can shift your focus to getting better. You have more certainty. The unknown is so scary. The Waiting Room is a place where not much gets done. It’s not a place where you’re really encouraged to even communicate or interact with the other people waiting. It’s private, it’s lonely, even when the waiting room is full of people.
I bet in all the Bands do BK interviews, nobody has said their favorite place in Brooklyn is a waiting room. But something really profound happened to me in the waiting room where I wrote this song. I saw someone come to the waiting room to try and make everyone’s day better. A volunteer clown entered a room of strangers and took their mind off of what is beyond the waiting room. They became present. You can call it a distraction, but I see it as so much more. That’s what life is– it’s a scary place, and we don’t know what’s coming next, so let’s try and connect, show that we care, make each other laugh, let each other cry, however you know best—just feel the love.
When we made this music video, I was wet, freezing cold, running on very little sleep and surrounded by people who love me, who wanted to help tell the story I just told you in a visual format. It was a couple of the happiest days of my life, and by all accounts I should have been miserable. It isn’t corny, it isn’t trite—that’s the power of love.”
Nearly two months after the “Waiting Room” release show, the pandemic is pretty much all we hear about… talk about… write about. It’s reshaped our realities and dictates each of our day-to-day in every way—and rightfully so, as we take the necessary precautions to do what’s responsible and what’s right: keep our distance from each other in order to keep each other safe.
So there won’t be a show tonight to celebrate this release, and we won’t have the chance to sing and sway (and maybe cry) collectively. HNRY FLWR won’t be weaving through a crowd handing out flowers or stage-diving into a swarm of outstretched arms this evening, and we won’t be reaching out to catch him—at least not in the physical sense. But even while apart, in our own homes, alone and waiting, we can—and will—still feel the love…
And that’s what it’s really all about, right?
+ Tune into Temple of the VoId, hosted by by HNRY FLWR every Sunday at pm on Twitch. (Find his channel here.)
Feature image (provided by the artist): Lisa Candela
Video credits: Created by Wonderkind Works & WE COLOR LIVE // Director, DP, Editor: Kevin Van Witt // Producer: Jocelyn Simone // Art Director: David Van Witt // Grooming: Chelsey Pickthorn // Gaffer: Dylan Kaplowitz