Dexter Tortoriello has been pleased with the reception for Drugstore Heaven, his first release as Houses in five years. And that, in turn, has made him excited to put out a video for the grooving electro-laced track “Fast Talk,” which premieres exclusively below.
“There’s a lot of metaphor in the song — you’re in the passenger seat throughout the whole thing, and I wanted to the video to be the same,” Tortoriello tells Billboard. The clip, in fact, features Tortoriello riding shotgun as a series of people — played by some of his real-life friends in Los Angeles — come in and out of the backseat, exhibiting a range of moods and behaviors. It doesn’t hew that far from his days growing up in Chicago, either.
“I spent most of my youth driving around with my friends,” Tortoriello says, “and most of my life’s best and worst moments were in the passenger seat of my best friend’s car. It just felt like the right way to represent the song.” The voicemail in the song’s bridge, meanwhile, is from the actual best friend in question.
Tortoriello has “grand ideas” about a video for another song, “Left Alone,” from Drugstore Heaven, and he’s in the midst of rehearsals to take Houses on tour during March. “It’s been really fun,” he reports. “You make the music and the studio is its own thing. I’m trying to recreate it; It always seems like it’s going to be impossible, but the second it starts working you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s gonna be so much fun.'”
Tortoriello acknowledges that he was a bit apprehensive about coming out with new music after Houses’ hiatus — during which he also worked as Dawn Golden, produced and wrote for Lil Yachty and others, and remixed for Major Lazer, Kings of Leon, Odesza and more. That was the main reason he made Drugstore Heaven as a four-song EP. “We kind of made a conscious decision not to shoot for the moon,” he explains. “It feels like people are consuming music way differently than the last time we put out (Houses) music, and I was sort of petrified about what I was going to do with it. So we did the EP to get back into the groove of releasing music, but I didn’t expect people to attach to it as well as they have, which is a great surprise.”
Tortoriello’s next plan is to “fill out an album for Houses right now,” with a large “bank of material” ready to be part of it. “I’m very much still in that headspace, so it just seems like the easiest thing to do is keep going right now, just release more much and play a bunch of shows,” Tortoriello says. “It’s really nice to feel like there’s some momentum and that people are taking it slightly seriously. Realizing that after five years most people didn’t have any expectations was sort of liberating, so I feel like I definitely have a lot more room to be creative now, which is always exciting.”