Formed in 2016, Cold Arizona is the alt-rock brainchild of guitarist Peter Scott. The instrumentals of the project’s debut self-titled record were recorded in Los Angeles with seasoned musicians: drummer Joey Waronker (R.E.M, Beck), bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Nine Inch Nails) and keyboardist Zac Rae (Death Cab for Cutie). While the lineup was stacked sonically, the band lacked a vocalist — that was, until Atlanta’s own opera trained Jennifer Zuiff (Indee Killed the Popstar) gave the group a voice.
Directed by Eva Midgley, the video for “Open Highway Headstart” reflects the desert environment in which it was shot: full of melancholic despair and struggling to grasp onto any sign of life. Classically trained dancer Nathaniel Hunt takes an external gaze into the internal battle of addiction while Zuiff’s angelic voice maintains a sense of hope. Because if there’s one thing we know, it’s that light finds a way even in the darkest hour.
“The song is about addiction, and I wanted to portray an addict who tries to escape his addictions but keeps coming up against himself,” Midgley says. “Hunt embodied and expressed the character fully through dance — the euphoria, the descent and the despair.”