If you’ve watched any of the shows in the Archie Comics universe over the last year or so, then you are already a fan of Valerie Broussard’s music. The Philadelphia native is the mind behind the music lurking in the dark corners of Pop’s Chock-Lit Shoppe or Greendale in Riverdale. It’s no surprise that her latest track “Killer” is as steamy and slightly spooky as anything on The CW.
Told from the perspective of a woman in a romance with a womanizer, the music video for “Killer” — premiering exclusively on Refinery29's The Drop — the song was inspired by true crime podcasts, and puts a morbid spin on traditional heartbreak. “Stories of serial killers are captivating pop culture right now,” Broussard recently told Refinery29 over the phone of her video. “We all thought, ‘Well, you can’t really write a song about something like that,’ and then we proceeded to write a song about something like that.”
Ahead, Broussard explains what it’s like hearing her music on one of TV’s most popular shows and the crazy way she found her creepy co-star.
Refinery29: What was the initial inspiration behind this song?
Valerie Broussard: “The idea of the song started when I was talking to the guys from The Gifted, who co-wrote and produced this song with me, about our love of true crime podcasts. Stories of serial killers are captivating pop culture right now. We all thought, ‘Well, you can’t really write a song about something like that,’ and then we proceeded to write a song about something like that. It compares the idea of a serial dater with the idea of serial killer. The notion that the notches in one’s bed post that are a source of callous pride for so many people. [We’re] taking that idea and turning it into this sick collection of all the people you left in your wake on the modern dating scene.”
Tell me about the concept behind “Killer.”
“The video started out as really high concept, but then we simplified it. I remember Lauren Dunn, our director, talked about doing something with voodoo. Then, sort of by chance, I saw Logic’s video for ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind’ where he’s covered in blood. There’s a lot less plot in Logic’s video than in ours. I remember sending it to Lauren and saying ‘What if instead of a voodoo doll, it’s a heart, and every time the heart got stabbed, I started to bleed from the chest?’ It’s a morbid idea, but it was so fun to execute.”
It’s very bloody. What was it like working under those conditions?
“The blood is made out of maple syrup, which is less intense than you think, but you smell like maple. We were kind of unsure whether the blood gag that we rigged inside my shirt was going to work. It worked the first time. We only did one take of that, and it was perfect.”
You have a crazy story about casting your lead actor in “Killer.”
“My manager Ryan Abraham, Palm Tree Records’ Ben Harvey, and Rida Naser of SiriusXM were at a restaurant and we [were talking about how we] wanted a guy who reminded us of Penn Badgley in You. My manager was like, ‘Kind of like [that guy,]” and pointed to our waiter [Nick Cafero]. Rida was like, ‘Why don’t you just ask him if he’s an actor?’ I was like ‘No, that’s so weird, that’s so embarrassing,’ but Rida just ended up going rogue and asking him. We sent his reel to the director and she absolutely loved him. He was incredible.”
After seeing your music in various TV shows, does a favorite moment come to mind?
“One of my favorites was around this time last year, the first season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. My song is featured in the very last scene of the first season, when Sabrina has sort of ‘changed,’ and she’s walking through her school [to] my song ‘A Little Wicked.’ It was definitely an ‘Oh my God’ moment. There was another one in Riverdale, I think it was the first episode of season 2, in which Archie is in the hallway of his house with a bat. I’ve gotten such an amazing reaction from the fans, and I’ve been lucky to be on Riverdale three times. The night that ‘Killer’ comes out, I’ll have another song on Riverdale. The song is called ‘End Game.’”
Check out the video below: