Premiere: Gemma Ray Shares New Video for “Howling”

Feb 14, 2023

By Caleb Campbell

Photography by Steve Gullick

Berlin-based British indie singer/songwriter Gemma Ray returned last year with her ninth full-length album Gemma Ray & The Death Bell Gang, offering a surprising departure into electronica for the artist. Since her 2008 debut, Ray has taken a panoramic approach to genre, weaving together various stylistic threads including psych soul, blues, gothic folk, and noir pop. Most recently, she drew from influences like Flettwood Mac and The Beach Boys on 2019’s Psychogeology, however her latest effort takes a hard left turn into dreamy electronica and warped samples.

The record came together after a chance studio visit to Ray’s neighbor, sound designer Ralf Goldkind. After the visit, Ray began gathering sounds, samples, and recordings to send to Goldkind, creating a vast stockpile of patterns to interpret into cinematic electronic beauty. The only rule Ray set for herself was “no happy shit.”

The full record is out now, and following the album’s release Ray is sharing a new video for one its highlights, “Howling,” premiering with Under the Radar.

“Howling” acts as a tender highlight for the record, taking Ray’s electronic soundscapes in a more psychedelic direction. Ray’s vocals nestle into a hazy collage of swaying melodies, elliptical synth pulses, and chiming electronics, offering a detour into otherworldly celestial art pop. Though Ray keeps her rule about “no happy shit,” the track doesn’t feel downcast. Instead, Ray crafts an avant-garde cinematic odyssey, highlighting the psychedelic element that runs throughout her music.

Meanwhile, the accompanying video is equally surreal, featuring Ray running through a world of giant dogs. As Ray explains, “Lucy (Dyson) and I were chatting about making some visuals for my record, and she connected with the song ‘Howling’. Pretty quickly we found ourselves running around Tempelhof Airport (a huge disused airport in Berlin) in the freezing cold with an iphone. I was heavily pregnant at the time, and somehow, pushing through the cold and pushing myself to run felt really good and cathartic and strangely apt.

Lucy’s work always adds so much depth and clarity to my songs, her vision for Howling brought the song to life. I love how we connect and it was great to collaborate with her again.”

Check out the song and visual below. Gemma Ray & The Death Bell Gang is out everywhere now.

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