The lead single from the Brooklyn band’s forthcoming full-length is about a desire so strong it (almost) kills you—and a refusal to give up or give in
In human history (and pretty much every piece of fiction), there’s nothing responsible for more disaster than desire. A craving for forbidden fruit, a lust for power, a hunger for fame, a thirst for riches.
And of all the driving forces, manic motives and toxic pulls, there are perhaps none more powerful than those of love and lust, often irresistible urges that can drive people to do incredible damage—to others and to themselves.
It’s this extreme wanting, unrelenting obsession and resulting (near) self-destruction that Razor Braids dig into with “Not Dead, Not Yet,” the seriously sick lead single and first track of the band’s debut full-length record, I Could Cry Right Now If You Wanted Me To (out December 4th!), and a song and video that I couldn’t be more thrilled to premiere here!
“’Not Dead, Not Yet’ is about needing to feel a sense of home and safety in another person so deeply that you’d give anything to make it a reality,” the band said of the song over email. “It’s about wanting something so desperately it manifests as pain. It fucking hurts. It’s about losing your sense of self in that desire. You’d do anything to get it. Even if it kills you.”
While referring to a relationship and framing this determination as detrimental, the relevance of this never-say-die attitude extends far beyond the romantic, serving as a symbol of the band’s overall ethos. After all, “Not Dead, Not Yet” isn’t just a denial of death but also a fierce insistence on survival: a stubborn refusal to give in or give up, delivered with the tiniest wink—an unspoken but nice fuckin’ try—that sums up the fierce driving force of Razor Braids, as well as the beginnings of the band’s origin story.
In 2017, frontwoman Hollye Bynum had an accident that resulted in injuries to her body and brain, leaving her mostly bedridden. While recovering, she didn’t succumb to despair (or Netflix), but instead took a near-ending as an opportunity to forge a new beginning by teaching herself to play bass, proving that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger—in some cases, by bringing a new version of yourself to life.
In the following years, Hollye was joined by Janie Peacock (lead guitar), Jilly Karande (rhythm guitar and vocals), and drummer Hannah Nichols, and the result—which I witnessed while hanging out with them at the merch table before their set at The Bowery Union a few weeks ago—is exactly the kind of band that makes me wish I was in a band: one where the group name is branded on underwear, everyone takes mini fireball shots before the show, and on stage the artists end up rolling around on the ground on top of each other.
Even better: one in which the members are all clearly obsessed with one another.
Live, Razor Braids serve up the same captivating performance, impeccable instrumentals and deliberate delivery on display in the “Not Dead” video, but enhanced with a chaotic candy coating—a feeling of spontaneity and the kind of who-knows-what-will-happen-next energy that only a band composed of fun-loving, totally in-tune best friends with killer chemistry can offer. And—here’s the good news— Razor Braids’ live show is an in-your-face experience you can witness THIS FRIDAY (for free!) at the Hornitos Tequila Presents: A Shot Worth Taking The Concert Series at Union Pool. (RSVP here.)
Mark your calendars for the record release December 4th, subscribe to THE SETLIST to get a weekend itinerary put together by Razor Braids in your inbox tomorrow morning, and meet me in the crowd at Union Pool tomorrow night.
We’re not dead, not yet. Let’s go out and make the most of it—
Video: directed, shot and edited by Brendan McGowan; produced by Hollye Bynum; lighting design by Casey Wooden; on-set photography by Jessica Gurewitz
Feature image (provided by the band): concept by Hollye Bynum; photo by Jessica Gurewitz; hair and makeup by Karla Hirkaler