Salt Lake City’s SubRosa recently released their most triumphant album to date, For This We Fought the Battle of Ages. This album is a crucial marker in the band's repertoire; musically, their trademark mix of haunting doom and innovative chamber music skyrockets to new heights, and lyrically, the album explores difficult and immediate issues relevant in America today.
The song “Troubled Cells” and the accompanying video (premiering today on NPR) directly address one such issue and serve as an artisic expression and vehicle of activism. In November of last year, the Mormon Church made a change to their handbook with heavy consequences for LGBTQ members who choose to marry, and any children they might have. Since the passing of this policy, multiple suicides among Mormon LGBTQ have occurred. Many of those who have taken their own lives since last November 5th were under the age of 20. SubRosa vocalist Rebecca Vernon made the decision to write “Troubled Cells” to speak out against these directives.
This video was shot in the forests and deserts of California by a hand-picked crew of film industry professionals from all over the country, all of whom donated 100% of their time, skills, and resources to make this project possible. The film was co-directed by Danica Vallone and Thomas Dekker.
The video for “Troubled Cells” premieres just after the anniversary of the Church's policy change (November 5th, 2015).
This is particularly impactful as suicide is now the leading cause of death for children ages 10-17 in Utah. Many link this increase in suicides to the escalating anti-LGBTQ/gay marriage rhetoric from the Mormon church in recent years. LGBTQ individuals are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and 8.4 times more likely if they come from a highly rejecting family and community.
The band commented:
“The SubRosa song ‘Troubled Cells’ was written for all LGBTQ individuals around the world who face oppression and exclusion from religious communities.
It was inspired by a new policy affecting LGBTQ members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), released Nov. 5, 2015, declaring that gay members of the church who marry will face excommunication. The policy also forbids children of gay parents to be baptized until they turn 18 and then, only if they formally disavow their parents’ lifestyle. This came on the heels of escalating rhetoric against same-sex marriage and relationships from the church for many years.
Since the passing of this policy, multiple suicides among Mormon LGBTQ have occurred. Youth are particularly vulnerable to negative messages from church culture. Many of those who have taken their own lives since last Nov. 5 were under the age of 20.
SubRosa has friends and family within and without the church deeply affected by this policy change. Many individuals—both straight and gay—are in turmoil, both those who have left the church in protest, and those who stay in the church, dedicated to incite change from within.
In SubRosa, we believe that art can help change the world. Therefore, we feel compelled to speak out about what is happening, and to reach out to those most affected—LGBTQ youth. This desire compelled us to write ‘Troubled Cells’ and partner with filmmakers whose ambition matched our own to create the song’s accompanying video.
The ‘Troubled Cells’ song and video is a reminder that if we feel we have the luxury to avoid examining our deepest prejudices, we do so at our own peril and the peril of our children.”
For more information, please visit www.troubledcells.com.
If you are a young person in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the Trevor Lifeline now at 1-866-488-7386. Their trained counselors are here to support you 24/7.
See SubRosa on tour in support of For This We Fought the Battle of Ages:
November 12 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
November 13 Glendale, CA @ Complex
November 14 Oakland, CA @ Golden Bull
November 15 Sacramento, CA @ Starlite
November 16 Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
November 17 Vancouver, BC @ Cobalt
November 18 Seattle, WA @ Highline
November 19 Boise, ID @ Neurolux
December 10 Denver, CO @ Black Sky Fest