Netflix's new teen series I Am Not Okay With This has everything: hormonal acne, sexual awakenings, daddy issues, and a girl who blows things up with her mind when she's angry. The show, which stars IT star Sophia Lillis as the super powered Syd, also introduces a new band, Bloodwitch. It just might save her life.
In the IANOWT premiere, Syd's neighbour Stanley (IT's Wyatt Oleff) introduces her to the music of Bloodwitch. The band is mentioned in Charles Forsman's 2017 graphic novel, which I Am Not Okay With This is based on. And for the Netflix series, a founding member of Britpop band Blur, Graham Noxon, and 16-year-old singer Tatyana Richaud brought the band to life, going as far to record an entire Bloodwitch album, which is now streaming.
That wasn't initially the plan. I Am Not Okay With This creator Jonathan Entwistle asked Coxon, who was the composer on Entwistle's other show The End Of The F*cking World, to write a song for the moment when viewers finally get to hear Stanley's favourite band. He ended up with "Fly," a haunting track that instantly turns Syd into a fan. But then he just kept writing Bloodwitch songs.
When the Blondie-esque track, "Hey Little Girl," popped up in the trailer, fans went searching for more info on Bloodwitch, which for clarification sake is still a fake band. "That's lovely," Coxon tells Refinery29 over the phone. "I wanted it to sound like a real band."
For Coxon, it kind of was a real band. He came up with a whole backstory for Bloodwitch: the female-male duo started in 1983 when they were between 16 and 19 years old. They were influenced by the Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Bloodwitch is "sort of a mixture of a lot of bands that I loved when I was a teenager," the 50-year-old Coxon admits. But, he would classify the band's sound as “cute folk horror," which he feels complements the show's natural charm.
Over email, Richaud, a music major at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) and daughter of IANOWT's editor Yana Gorskaya, told Refinery29 that the band has a "raw, kind of vintage sound, but it's also romantic — but not in any kind of maudlin way. Kind of like Syd and Stan's whole vibe."
It's Bloodwitch's music that helps the teens bond on a deeper level. "Stan being into this obscure, cool band, makes him instantly more interesting to Sydney," Richaud writes. "It's kind of like the voice of their relationship throughout the show."
Coxon wanted the made for TV band to help these teen outcasts feel a little less alone. But admits the music he wrote for the show also brought him back in time. "It just makes me feel like being 15," he says of listening to the album, which he thinks of as the band's greatest hits compilation.
Listen to the record all the way through, Coxon says, and you'll hear the subtle changes in the band's sound over the course of their career. (He believes the punk track "Motorcade" was Bloodwitch's debut single and that they mellowed out with age.)
Coxon is already thinking about the next Bloodwitch album should I Am Not Okay With This get picked up for a second season. He's also looking to get Netflix to sell Bloodwitch merch and hopes fans will help him convince the streamer to do so.
"It would be cool if people just made their own and gave us some ideas about what it should look like," says Coxon, who wore his own D.I.Y. Bloodwitch shirt repurposed from his favourite Blondie tee to the recent I Am Not Okay With This premiere. "I might Twitter that.”