The Sextape Release Video For “QUEEN OF THE FOOLS”

In 2023, making art in Eastern Europe requires flexibility, ingenuity, and commitment. In certain countries, events on the ground have become so treacherous that merely existing is a challenge. The members of The Sextape are Russian, but they’ve got the guts to question the government’s line on the brutal invasion of Ukraine — which has jeopardized their careers, their freedoms, and their skins. Since the attack on Kiev changed the calculus for everybody in Moscow and beyond, they’ve been on the move: first to Turkey and finally to Argentina. Driven by frontman Alexander Shterle, The Sextape have played with musicians in each country they’ve been to, but due to the challenges of emigration – finding a stable lineup has been a challenge. Through it all, they’ve continued to make muscular, stinging, combative, immediate rock music that reflects the turbulent state of the world as they know it and the restlessness of the lives they’re leading.

That’s not to say that “Queen of the Fools” could have been made by any band on the run. It takes extraordinary musicians to be this tight and to perform with such passion. The Sextape’s single is part condemnation, part anthem, part rallying-cry, part come-on, and all showstopper: this is the sort of song that gets an entire crowd standing on their seats, shouting, and clapping along. It’s a standout from the band’s debut set, Prelude — an album that has proven to be a streaming hit (it’s garnered over 100,000 streams across platforms – without any press coverage) despite the migratory nature of The Sextape’s last few years. Wherever they’ve traveled and taken refuge, they’ve found dedicated fans.

A track as dramatic as this requires a video that amplifies its most cinematic qualities, and director Roman Safin has come through with a clip that oozes danger, charm, sexuality, and dark beauty. “Queen of the Fools” was shot in the glamorous but gritty clubs of Istanbul, but it could have been made in any nation where transients are on the move and cutting corners to survive. The team that created the “Queen of the Fools” video is a collective of professionals from several different countries: famous Turkish actor Resit Berker Enhos played the second victim, and Russian actress Lera Shtuovskaya played the main character. The video also features a cameo from non-binary model @achcaan (he/they), who took part with his husband. Other crew members – cameramen, lighting artists, production artists, etc. – had worked with high-profile acts with budgets to match, but were intrigued by this independent band with a drive and desire to create.

The camera follows a gorgeous young woman through darkened corridors and across the dimly lit dance floors of a city at night. We know she’s eluding capture (and respectability) because she keeps switching costumes and luring dangerous men into compromising positions. Safin bathes the footage in electrifying club lighting and keeps the scenes deliriously ambiguous. Are we meant to cheer on this thief as she divests boorish men of their assets or condemn her ruthlessness? Then, just when we think we’ve got a handle on this slippery, alluring character, Safin and The Sextape grab the plot by both hands and give it a couple of firm twists — including one that’s positively heartbreaking.

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