It is appropriate that Decibel is premiering “Show Them Your Teeth,” the latest single and music video by Maggot Heart, this week. In the wake of mounting sexual assault accusations against former Hollywood bigwig Harvey Weinstein, the internet is aflame with women standing up to sexual harassment. “Show Them Your Teeth,” a pissed-off punk rock explosion sung by Linnéa Olsson, is a perfect soundtrack for this moment.
“’Show Them Your Teeth’ is a very angry song, but it also has hope in it. It’s about standing your ground. And it’s about the physical aspect of certain emotions, which we so often are taught to ignore or suppress,” Olsson says about the song. “Anger is a very valid emotion, yet it is often perceived shameful to be angry – especially as a woman.”
Olsson, the primary creative force behind Maggot Heart, is better known for her work as guitarist of The Oath and later Grave Pleasures. This project is her first time singing, and it shows off a despondent side to Olsson that was overpowered by charismatic singers in her other projects. “This band is as much ‘me’ as it gets,” she says. “I’m trying to make honest rock music that ideally touches a nerve.”
Touch a nerve it does.
Olsson recorded City Girls, the first Maggot Heart EP with Uno Bruniusson, formerly of In Solitude. “Show Them Your Teeth” was recorded at that same time, but was not included on the EP. Olsson excluded this song because it felt more like “total darkness” than the other tracks. “It was recorded between midnight and eight in the morning, Sam [Segarra, bassist] came straight from tour I remember and had only just learned the songs. We were really drunk and depressed, to be honest,” Olsson says. “In my head I tried to layer it as a techno track almost. Because of this it also seemed like a perfect track for a video, lots of room for storytelling.”
The “Show Them Your Teeth” video stars Olsson and friends, a cabal of wronged women at first running from their problems before taking a stand through occult violence. “The video revolves around oppression and how to break free from it. I chose to exemplify this from a female point of view, you see some common forms of oppression, from domestic abuse to expectations of motherhood, to harassment and so on,” she says. “All in all, I guess the concept is about putting your foot down and saying ‘Fuck off, I murder!’”
To make the video, Olsson reunited with Sarah Ben Hardouz who directed the Grave Pleasures video for “Girl in a Vortex”. Their insular, DIY approach created a rough visual narrative shot around Olsson’s home in Berlin. The video’s sudden transition to color coincides with the song’s most affecting segment.
“We wanted a big contrast between the black and white, everyday, mundane feel of the first part of the video – to the colour, explosive and supernatural second part. This was to show how much power one holds inside oneself, and how much magic there is to unlock in life if you only choose to take a step in that direction. The women in the video all had enough of their situations, but they can’t truly be free without risk and sacrifice,” she explains. “The ritual scene is there to show this, as is the alchemical element of transformation. The characters sacrifice themselves in order to achieve liberation and to create something new and pure.”
Olsson only has one EP under her belt as Maggot Heart, but she’ll be playing it at Roadburn Festival this year. Afterward she plans on reuniting with Bruniusson and his former In Solitude bandmate Gottfrid Åhman to record a full length album, one which will affirm Olsson’s status as a provocative and empowering songwriter.