RedHook: “I couldn’t find a song that resonated with what I was going through”

Australian alt-rockers RedHook released their long-awaited debut EP to fan and industry acclaim in 2021. In fact, the title track, Bad Decisions, was selected as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition. However, the band’s latest single is even more emotionally powerful because it was inspired by personal trauma. [TW // sexual violence]

RedHook photographed with blue and purple shadows cast on their faces against a blue background

Alice vanquished the Jabberwocky in Irwin Allen’s film of Alice in Wonderland by convincing herself that the monster didn’t exist. Heartbreakingly, Emmy Mack felt compelled to use the same tactic after being sexually assaulted during the band’s first overseas tour. She denied her trauma, and the real monster who caused it, so she could ‘go on with the show.’ Unfortunately, her standard coping mechanism failed her too.

“One of the main ways I cope when horrible things happen in life is by listening to music. But when this happened to me, for the very first time I couldn’t find a song that resonated with what I was going through. Isn’t it strange that we’ve heard so many stories about high-profile male predators in the heavy music space over the past few years, and yet there are so few songs in the genre that deal with sexual assault itself from a female perspective? I really wanted to help change that.”

Emmy Mack, vocalist

“Wake me up ’cause this isn’t real”

Mack directed the video for Jabberwocky. She combined fairytale and dream iconography with the realities of contemplating trauma, but carrying on and rocking out all the same. Therefore, we see screaming as part of the process of coming to terms with what happened as well as part of the song.

As the song cycles through earnest, psychedelic and heavy sequences, the barriers between dreams and reality start to break down.

“I’m far too scared of feeling like the victim/I always used to play the hеro/
So let’s play pretend that’s still who I am/not even fazed.”

Stevie Knight (Stand Atlantic, Yours Truly) produced RedHook’s single Jabberwocky. James Paul Wisner (Underoath, Paramore) mixed it.

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