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On Location with Hamilton Leithauser

The rocker on his first solo album and filming in New Orleans

While jetting from Brooklyn to New Orleans might be something of a long haul just to spend a night on the town, when it came to filming the video for “11 o’clock Friday Night,” a track off his forthcoming solo debut Black Hours, Hamilton Leithauser knew there was no destination better suited to his song than the Big Easy. Still, filming during the build-up to Mardi Gras happened almost by chance.

“Paul Maroon, with whom I wrote a lot of these songs, lives in New Orleans, and he has friends with cameras who were shooting some of the early Mardi Gras parades,” Leithauser says. “It was more of the local scene before it turns into what we all know as Mardi Gras. It’s much smaller and it’s a lot more fun.”

Having fun in New Orleans isn’t new to Leithauser, who visited the city regularly when he was touring with his last band, indie rock darlings The Walkmen.

“You definitely find yourself having a good time in New Orleans—it’s easy to get distracted,” he says with a laugh. “I’ve only spent a couple of weeks there, usually just a really fun stop on tour. Paul lives there and gets to see the day-to-day lifestyle of actually getting things done. When I go, it’s more of a treat.”

Still, it was exactly the distractions Leithauser mentions that made the city an ideal location for his first music video.

“It’s a fun song about nightlife; it’s about a specific time and, for me, the song has a driving hulk to it,” he says. “Getting out and catching the kind of nightlife we did was just a perfect fit.”



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