Celebrated drag performer Sharon Needles returns with her second album, Taxidermy (out Saturday, order here on iTunes) — and Billboard has the exclusive premiere of the set’s first video, the Halloween-ready “Dracula.”
The clip, directed by Santiago Felipe, is full of “homages to famous vampires of cinema,” Needles tells Billboard. “We tirelessly worked for a day and a half without sleep to make sure we could bring all those looks [to life in the video].”
Watch the clip below (and watch for the Lost Boys tribute, filmed on Coney Island):
Needles — who won the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2012 — notched a top 10 album in 2013 on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart with her debut effort PG-13.
“When I wrote PG-13, I had just won RuPaul’s Drag Race, all my nightmares had come true, and I was a brat,” Needles says. “I was a privileged brat overnight. I went from a punk rock drunk downtown clown to seeming to have everything at my access. I wrote my first album almost as an entitled child. Taxidermy is written by a much more precarious, untrusting adult.”
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Needles says her first record “sounds like a movie soundtrack,” with influences from the worlds of punk, metal and electronic music. The new set, however, is more grounded in pop and dance beats and revolves around the “concise concept” of love.
“Love is a universal thing that everyone understands. Love, like death, is the only thing that binds humanity. So I wrote a love record. A melancholy one at that.” (To note, Needles’ favorite track on the album is the contemplative midtempo tune “Dead Dandelion.”)
As for the Halloween holiday itself, Needles — whose bio says she “lives every day as if it were Halloween” — jokes that the day has become a lot more stressful in recent years.
“Before my time on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Halloween was my favorite day of the year since I was a little kid. It’s the day we worship the macabre and live vicariously through the costumes that we wear. Now Halloween is a big ol’ pain in my ass. [Laughs] Because I work so hard during the season, and I’m always trying to outdo myself every single Halloween. Like Ministry’s song said, ‘Every Day Is Halloween.’ And that’s kind of a mantra to me, that every day I put on a Halloween costume and I let them have it.”