The new song from the breakthrough singer talks about healing from trauma. Featuring a multi-layered beat and hauntingly enticing vocals, the artist creates a spooky yet characteristically SoCal vibe that feels like a creepy Lana Del Ray.
The accompanying music video for “checkmate,” which was filmed just outside of Big Bear Lake near LA, is a cottage-core dream gone wrong and draws inspiration from Ari Aster’s Hereditary and Roger Eggers’ The VVITCH. The video features BIIANCO ceremoniously dancing around a cabin in the woods and lighting candles in a love ritual gone awry. By the end of the video, the artist is levitating, evidently having become possessed from the ordeal.
In an exclusive quote for Alternative Press, BIIANCO says the video is inspired by true events.
“‘Checkmate’ is the next installment in the BIIANCO horror anthology,” the artist exclusively told Altpress. “In a 100 year old cabin, in the middle of the California forest, myself and 3 others created a story of a love spell gone awry. Myself and the director, Scott Fleishman, were highly inspired by Robert Eggers’ The VVitch as well as the gorgeous Annihilation flower death imagery and wanted to capture a fully cinematic setting.”
“The set design took nearly 24 hours of straight work and was done by the incredible Christina Rosann Ray,” the artist continues. “Checkmate” is near and dear to me because it came from a real experience I had one year prior in the California forest. Under a full moon, I howled, just to hear a howl back. Moments later, a coyote came to me calmly, as if I had summoned it. What followed was a year of the highest romantic moments coupled with very painful heartbreak. I lovingly refer to it as my love spell gone awry. Ultimately, this video pays homage to love being the death of me. Gut-wrenchingly gorgeous failed love.”
“Love is complicated,” BIIANCO says. “It’s soft, tender, and sharp as knives. It cradles you. Rocks you to sleep. Then, [it] smothers you with a pillow. It is both a door through which you walk to dew-soaked grass on a summer night and simultaneously a high speed train barrelling towards an imminent demise. Love is complicated. It hangs you out to dry, [and] it feeds your soul. It swallows you whole, [and] It swells you to the point of bursting. Love is complicated. I fucking hate love. I fucking love love.”
“Checkmate” is the latest BIIANCO song following the badass single “that’s what friends are for.” Alongside the track, the artist released an interactive music video. The feature allows you to determine “what type of friend you are” when dealing with a friend’s reprehensible ex. You can play the absurdly satisfying video game here.
The DIY artist hasn’t released any full-length LPs yet. But, their discography encompasses a score of ballads that speak to the experiences of femme-identifying and LGBTQIA+ people. Making songs detailing the nature of love and trauma are important to the artist, but so is empowering other people to do the same. In addition to writing and recording their own songs from the Los Angeles studio, BIIANCO also runs a TikTok featuring production tips and cathartic memes about antiquated standards in the music industry.
The artist, who came out as nonbinary last week, cares deeply about people living their lives beyond oppressive standards.
“I am extremely aware of my privilege and how little I’ve struggled compared to many of my heroic trans and non-binary peers because I’ve been able to hide behind my femme presentation,” they said via Instagram. So aware that I almost didn’t come out publicly. But my hope is that maybe others in similar circumstances will be liberated to come out when they hear my story — like I was when I heard @ddlovato [Demi Lovato] and @amoamomusic [Amo Amo]. And ultimately, the world can be a place where everyone across the scale is free and accepted for whatever they identify as.”
The groundbreaking lyrical visualist is exactly the type of artist set for takeoff in 2021. Candid, thoughtful and empathetic, “checkmate” feels like it’s not only the perfect amalgamation to show off the remarkable talent and transparency of BIIANCO, but also that of a whole generation.
Give “checkmate” a listen and let us know what you think of the spooky video below!