The Bay Area’s Molly House Records recently announced the creation of their label by and for queer artists with their first release, Volume One. The latest video from Molly House features queer artists AH MER AH SU and DDM, who wrote the song “Somebody” days after the Oakland Ghost Ship tragedy. The track highlights the current state of affairs and sentiments most queer people in the United States are feeling in this Trump era.
Billboard spoke to Molly House Records co-founder Dave Richardson about the video, the importance of queer art and what he’d say if he had a chance to talk with our current president. Check out the “Somebody” music video, premiering exclusively on Billboard, below.
You helped form Molly House Records, a label by and for queer artists. What inspired this venture?
Molly House Records was inspired by several of my experiences. I’m a queer artist and have been working in and around the music industry for over a decade. I was in a band called Jepetto in the ’90s and have most recently worked on a project called Double Duchess. It’s hard being an independent artist. Independent artists don’t get the same level of support as artists who are supported by mainstream labels. I would like to be able to support other queer artists in developing their musical careers and not have them worry about their art being misunderstood, misrepresented, or marketed inappropriately. Molly House Records supports the artists we sign through the entire process of making music: recording, mixing, mastering and marketing.
Music and expression seem to be especially important to the LGBTQ community. Why do you think that is?
I don’t think it’s just an LGBTQ thing. Music and expression is important to the human experience. Music for me was about finding my voice and becoming comfortable with who I was as a person. I think music helps queer folks by giving them a place in a world that often times tells them they shouldn’t exist.
“Somebody” by AH MER AH SU and DDM was written after the Oakland Ghost Ship tragedy. Did you know any of the victims?
I personally did not know of any victims, however AH MER AH SU was very close to a few people that were lost that day.
How did AH MER AH SU and DDM get involved with this project?
AH MER AH SU is a Bay Area artist that I had started collaborating with. During our very first session, she sang a vocal weaving technique she knew, which quickly became the opening to “Somebody.”
DDM is a Baltimore-based rapper. I have been in love with his music from the very the second I heard him. His verse perfectly sets the tone for this track. He wrote around the time Trump was elected. Shortly after the Ghost Ship fire, I approached Star to create a more developed part for this song. The “SOS” refrain rang so true and just really highlighted the state of world — both locally and nationally.
The director of the music video, Jeremiah Cannon identifies as queer. Is it important to you that the visuals also have a queer perspective?
Yes, it’s important for me to work with other queer artists. Jeremiah resonated with the song and wanted to shoot the video for it. The overall idea is that, we are queer people out here in the world. See us and hear us. We’re calling for help. The visual feels raw. Queer people are central to the narrative. And our stories sometimes aren’t easy.
This song is a call for help in this political climate. If you got to have a conversation with President Trump, what would you say to him?
To be honest, I don’t think I would like to have a conversation with our current president.
In these dark times, where do you look to for hope?
I look to my Bay Area queer community, and communities across the globe doing the similar work. While I was filming videos for this compilation EP, someone broke into my car. My friends and I lost so much including personal belongings, equipment and all the footage we had shot that day. We quickly felt saddened and discouraged, but I was quickly restored to faith by the support of my community. We made a GoFundMe account and were able to get back to filming a week later.