Rebel and a Basketcase Talk Vivid Video for 'Lightning Look': Exclusive Premiere

Rebel and a Basketcase, "Lightning Look"
Courtesy of Justin Mark Morrison/HLGstudios

Rebel and a Basketcase, "Lightning Look"

The video marks Evan Rachel Wood's directorial debut.

Rebel and a Basketcase -- the engaged duo of Zach Villa and Evan Rachel Wood -- splashed into music with their colorful pop rock hits and androgynous aesthetic in the summer of 2016. The two released their first EP in July and soon followed it up with a second in late September.

On Tuesday (Feb. 14), a favorite from the first EP, "Lightning Look," sees the (literal) light again with help from a visually stunning music video complete with a disco ball and flashing beams of neon color. Wood tells Billboard the concept came together rather quickly as she was inspired by a location she's quite familiar with: Moonlight Rollerway in Los Angeles.

"I’ve been skating there since I was a kid. I used to go to birthday parties there and have been known to frequent it on the weekends ever since," she says. "I was skating there one night and I realized it was an incredible filming location. Then the image of Zach in a roller rink by himself playing guitar came into my head and I grabbed him and said, 'I need to direct this one because I can see it.'"

She directed most of the video on roller skates, while the crew -- HLG Studios -- filmed on skates too. Wood says filming Zach all day "was a dream," and Villa agrees that the experience was a positive one. "I felt taken care of as a performer," he says. "I think what was different for me was that it was just fun, I got to take a step back. Something that I learned about Evan as an artist over the years is that you can feel that she’s working towards something and you may not completely understand it, but if you give it a second, it will materialize."

Villa adds how that understanding proves especially true with anything visual. "I’ve been impressed time and again by her aesthetic. She has an aesthetic that no one else does and the pictures she’s painting are out of this world."

Underneath the bright lights, though, the song tells a story of desire and agony that Wood plays up in the video. "I think the video is either somebody tortured by memories or somebody tortured by what they wish was the reality," she shares. "I think there are really sweet romantic moments in the video, but it’s also very bittersweet because obviously this person is going through some sort of turmoil and that’s why we built a lot of tension." She adds how the song is "Zach's baby" in that he wrote it and composed it "in lightning speed -- no pun intended." The first time Villa played the song for her, she says, "We both had tears in our eyes."

As for how the newly engaged couple will celebrate the video's release, which falls on Valentine's Day, the two went quiet for the first time at the thought. "I think we both anticipate seeing how our fans respond to [the video]," Vila says. "We’re going to be in pajamas sitting around the coffee table with our laptops watching the views [come in]." Wood jumps in to add, "Which is oddly very romantic for us. Creating together is always one of my favorite things to do with my partner." 

Fortunately, the two will be doing much more collaborative creating in the near future. Aside from revealing that a new single will arrive come March, Wood also shares she and Villa co-directed the next video they will release. With her directorial debut behind her, she says she looks forward to further exploring her role behind the camera. "It was amazing to see an idea that you have in your head come to life," she says. "That experience for the first time was really cool." 

Watch the video for "Lightning Look" below:


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