It’s not always easy to let someone in. Love forces us to be viciously vulnerable, to give others the opportunity to burrow into our skin. Brides of Jesus examines the terror and power of this emotional intimacy in their fresh release “Inside Me.”
“Inside Me” boasts a rich, cinematic feel layered with haunting vocal strips. The song takes its time in the beginning, establishing an anxious and otherworldly tone before launching into the first verse. The entrance of the drums kicks us into a dark, driving space – a moody soundscape that is then punctured by a handful of snappy, ringing bells, creating a multidimensional effect that reflects the complexity of the lyrics.
Speaking of the lyrics. Brides of Jesus takes a familiar concept – letting someone in – and gives it a gritty, fresh twist. There’s a near surgical implication to the way Brides of Jesus describes this emotional intimacy – there is a violence to it, a physicality. Their opening line does a great job of demonstrating how they bridge the emotional and physical conceptions of emotional intimacy: “You were the loneliness inside the both of us.” The physical implication (an image of the lover taking up space in both of their bodies, akin to a parasite) intertwines with the emotional implication (that the lover’s loneliness was felt by both of them as they became closer) to a powerful effect.
This is a fierce, multifaceted song that grapples with a timeless concern. It comes as part of an award-winning short film, the press release for which reads in part as follows:
While the short is only a small look into the world of Brides of Jesus, it’s been a fantastic proof of concept for the feature film. The short has won 18 awards at festivals including the Independent Shorts Awards, the New York Movie Awards, the Venice Film Awards, the Hollywood Gold Awards, the Indie Short Fest, the Culver City Film Festival and others. The feature script has also generated laurels with the Beverly Hills Film Festival, the Glendale International Film Festival, and the Rhode Island International Film Festival.
The film centers on the young nun led New England Punk Rock girl group, Brides of Jesus, who get sucked into dirty doings by the monsignor and the Knights of Columbus in this comic book style comedy thriller. Bandmates CC and Tigre fall in love as they fight the evil cleric and his henchman to clear their names for the Mother Superior’s murder. The movie has the grit and women led music and sexuality of the The Runaways plus the comic book vibe and action of Sin City and New England’s issues with Catholicism in as seen in Spotlight.
The lead creatives on the project are musician/composer/director/screenwriter/producer Joe Bartone, who based the film on his experiences growing up in the heavily Catholic community in Rhode Island, which he escaped by diving deeply into the state’s influential music scene that birthed artists including The Throwing Muses, The Cowsills, and Les Savy Fav. He is joined by his co-director/producer/cinematographer/editor Jose Zambrano Cassella who brings experience from directing four features, music videos for artists like Shakira, and over 600 national and international brand commercials.
While the short continues to rack up laurels internationally, Joe, Jose and their team are actively looking for financing for the full-length film, which, as Joe notes, “now is the perfect time for a film about young women fighting an unfair system while falling in love with each other, making great music and saving the day, against a backdrop of comic book influenced production design.”
How did Brides of Jesus first form?
Some twenty years ago, my best friend (who am I kidding, I was in love with her) was Sendra Beauregard. She was the bass player for The Pussy Cats in Providence, Rhode Island. I was the leader of Fat Buddah. After a long friendship that took us through backpacking in Europe and dating each other’s friends, our mutual friend, Todd, died in a horrible accident at 28. After that, we both slipped away and fell into drugs. We lost each other and everyone else we knew.
Fast forward twenty years and I received a message that Sendra was arrested for the murder of her lesbian lover. I visited her in prison a few times when I could fly back to Rhode Island. Talking with her was hard, but some part of me still saw the young promising girl I was so crazy about. I wanted to create a different story for me about her, and I envisioned that we never got lost in drugs, that we never lost contact, that she never killed. I created Brides of Jesus so I could remember her the way I need to remember her.
Tell us about your band name – what inspired the title and how do you think it represents who you are as artists?
“Brides of Jesus” is the Catholic term used to describe the relationship of Christ to followers of Christ. It references selections from the gospel. Nuns are often referred to as Brides of Christ. I think the expression is beautiful and horribly misguided at the same time, which is how I feel about life and religion.
What was your creative process in writing “Inside Me?”
I write mostly jazz and reggae of late, so when I began to write for this imaginary band, I wanted to break everything I was comfortable in writing. The first decision was to write in 6/8 meter. This would prevent me from using all the writing crutches I acquired from decades of writing in 4/4. The second plan was to write guitar parts that would come to a person who was self-educated. I am a trained jazz musician, and I know too many chords. I wanted to think about how someone who didn’t even know the names of chords might write songs.
The lyrics had to be the voice of a girl who cannot accept her sexuality. I was never gay, but never straight. Being on the spectrum in the 80s was worse than being gay, and I had to hide away my desires and turn that frustration into self-loathing. Nowadays, that is not an issue, but in 1985, people like me stayed silent.
So from that perspective, I revisited my teen years and wrote lyrics to give that version of my solace and forgiveness. To free that part of me. I actually read a lot of Charles Bukowski and found his poems a great source of inspiration. Not that he struggled with sexual identity, but because he never gave a fuck what people thought about him. Thus his poetry can be liberating in a very unique way.
There’s a brilliant line in “Inside Me” that goes “You were the loneliness inside the both of us.” Can you speak to that line and give us some insight into what it means to you?
When you repress your sexual nature, it becomes almost a separate being inside you. Not a demon, though for a while you may call it that, but rather a scared, lonely, and self-loathing child. Sorry for the dramatics, but it does seem that way. Like a child without eyes or nose or ears or mouth. Silent and suffering. But since it is silent, you can hide it from everyone. When I fell in love with a boy, and never spoke of it to him, it felt like that. So many other boys at that time were like me. we could be as thick as thieves but never embrace. I believe a lot of bisexual people go into bands at that time because it was a way to be intimate with same-sex and not have the issues of a sexual relationship.