William J. Locker has been sitting on the song “Livin’ In Denial” for a while. He’s decided now is the time to release it, along with a striking music video.
Locker is a veteran of the Iowa music scene. In addition to teaching drum lessons at Central Iowa Music Lab, he’s worked as a session musician at Sonic Factory Studios, which is owned by his brother, Jon. He’s also a member of two cover bands, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Pianopalooza, and he writes and records music with his wife, singer-songwriter Nella Thomas.
Locker released his first solo record, “REDHEAD,” in 2015, and since then has released original songs with videos made by his friend Stefan Egeberg Hansen, known professionally as FRESK. “Livin’ In Denial” is their latest collaboration. The song has gone through many changes since Locker began writing it in 2017.
“‘Livin’ in Denial’ was one of the songs where the melody just popped in my head,” said Locker. “Back then, it was ‘Livin’ in the Lie,” and it stayed that way until I decided to work on it more in 2018. After messing around with the lyrics more, it became “Livin’ in Denial” in the end.
“Lately, my songs have been a journal to spit my thoughts about how I see the world in our current political climate,” said Locker. “It was never my intention to write politically driven songs, but the moment just does it to me. I always try to spin my words so it could mean more than one thing to listeners. I try not to be too literal.”
Locker recorded “Livin’ In Denial” at Sonic Factory Studios in 2018 and 2019, performing all of the vocal, guitar, and drum parts. (Jon played bass, and Neil Stoffregen played the organ.) However, he ended up releasing a different song, “Hook” instead, because it “sounded more finished.” He feels now is the right time to release this new song.
“Releasing it now couldn’t be more appropriate with the Covid-19 Pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement front and center on people's minds,” said Locker. “I hope the song serves as a mirror to look at ourselves in this moment in time and make some positive changes in our ‘normal’ lives.”
The video for “Livin’ In Denial” features a bold artistic choice: Locker’s face is obscured for the entire length of the video, with one or two smartphones showing a variety of other faces. Locker said he wanted the “Phone Faces” to be the “star” of the video.
“The idea came from mostly, ‘what cool effect could we do that catches the eye and is cheap to pull off,’” he admitted. “At the same time, it is a symbol of how addicted we are to screens, which is mostly how we communicate nowadays, especially during the pandemic, with FaceTime and Zoom meetings. My face pops in one of the screens a couple of times during the video, but that’s it. This is a time to highlight the beautiful diversity in our world.”
“Livin’ In Denial,” along with the rest of William J Locker’s music, is on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.