A lot of weird shit happened to The New Tarot and their crew while filming the creepy video for “Stella” in Brooklyn, so seeing as it’s Halloween, I thought there would be no better time to rehash that story with Monika over the phone. She also told me a couple of other ghost stories involving unexplained bathtub explosions and abandoned attics, so internet-eavesdrop on all of that below, and follow the band on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news. HERE WE GO:
Okay, so tell me more about the backstory behind the “Stella” video, because I heard that got pretty weird behind the scenes.
When we were filming, we were in this apartment, and it was just a really intensive day; we did the whole video in one day. It was a lot of hours being put in, and we had this one guy who was a dancer, and I guess he started to get really weird vibes from what we were doing with the “Stella” video. He walked out in the middle of the day, and was kind of rambling about how we’re all a bunch of witches and devil worshipers, and everybody was kind of taken aback, but nobody thought much of it. After he left, though, everything started kind of fucking up; stuff was lighting on fire, lights were going out every two seconds, even if we just had one thing plugged in. It was just really weird. Bulbs kept breaking in their sockets, just bursting, and everybody was kind of in a weird head space for the whole video. So I’m really glad we got that music video, actually, because that was just such a weird day and night; everybody working on it was kind of just in this weird daze by the end. It was a strange experience. I guess we were calling on spirits but didn’t ask for anything specific, so I don’t know, I guess we got some mischief. Nothing bad, but that’s definitely not the first time that I’ve had weird encounters or spooky things happening.
Yeah, tell me more about this “calling on spirits”; is that a normal thing for you? Because I interviewed a paranormal investigator one time, and he was basically like, that’s exactly what you DON’T want to do, because even if you think you know what’s there, you don’t, so you could be inviting in some super not good stuff by mistake.
Yeah, I was trying to be careful I guess. It seems like we didn’t invite anything too malevolent in, but that’s probably just luck. It’s funny how much you kind of grow even though you don’t realize it. Like I’d never do a welcoming ceremony now, for instance. [Laughs] That’s not something I would do, because you’re right, you don’t know what you’re inviting in. It was kind of a foolish thing to do last year, but I don’t think anybody got stalked by any demons. [Laughs] I hope not, anyway. But yeah, when I was growing up, one of my best friends lived in this really old house by the water, and we used to see this little girl ghost. She’d sing in the middle of the night, just walking around downstairs singing, and one time the two of us (we must have been five) were taking a bath, and out of nowhere, something just splashed in the bath like something invisible had jumped in. The two of us kind of looked at each other and screamed and ran! That’s probably the closest real ghost encounter I’ve ever had. But I kind of felt bad for the little girl; no one really knew her story, but we saw her a lot, and she always seemed pretty alone.
Did the grown-ups see her, too? Or was it just because you guys were so young that you were able to be more sensitive to that?
We saw her more often, but I know her mom talked to me about the little girl sometimes, and she’d seen her and heard her sing, too.
Yeah, that was a weird one. But she was super non-malevolent. It’s a strange thing; we don’t really know what these things are. Maybe it’s just an imprint, you know?
It might not be an actual person, it might just be a carbon copy sort of thing where it leaves a mark. I don’t know.
So has this stuff always been interesting to you? It definitely has been for me.
Absolutely. When I was little I used to scour the public library for any books I could get on ghosts or witchcraft or anything, and of course you’re not going to find much in a public library about that kind of stuff, but I really tried. [Laughs] Eventually I moved on to the internet, but I had a little ghost hunter club when I was nine. [Laughs] There was a haunted house around the corner from me and Karen, and we used to go there a lot when we were little. We live in a nice, kind of affluent neighborhood, and there’s an abandoned house; it’s really uncommon for there to be an abandoned house around here because of the property value, but legend has it that this woman and her husband lived here, and he got dementia, so she locked him in the attic because she didn’t want anybody to know, and then he died. So we used to go around there and try to break into the house, and one day we threw a rock into an open window in the attic, and somebody threw it back out. [Laughs]
Yeah, it was a scary moment; the whole house was dark and everything, so we freaked out and ran away. We used to spend a lot of time at that house trying to get in. [Laughs]
That’s terrifying. That’s one thing about NYC, is that you don’t get so many of those spooky abandoned old houses. Or, I’m sure you do, but most of the time it’s more just a condemned building or something, and it just doesn’t have the same effect. Now, where did you film that “Stella” video?
We were in Brooklyn. People say New Orleans is the most haunted city or whatever, but honestly, New York is one of (if not the) most haunted cities, it’s just that nobody who lives there gives a shit. [Laughs] All the hauntings go by completely unnoticed. There are just so many people that you assume nothing could be the cause of some other force, it’s just the millions of people around you.
Totally. I think that sheer number of people actually becomes most apparent to me on Halloween, weirdly enough, because of the size of the crowd that turns up to that parade in the West Village. Are you guys big Halloween fans? (I mean, I would assume so.)
It’s my favorite holiday. I love Halloween. It’s great. I think it’s so surprising how our culture is still so into Halloween! I mean, that’s why I love it; it’s just such an old, weird, kind of fucked up pagan festival about death and scary things, and our culture still embraces that. It’s a reminder that we’re not that fluffy of a culture. We still at least have Halloween.