Emily Un

The Seattle band THEM finds healing in destruction in their latest video for debut track "BAD 4 U." In the video, the group of 16- to 19-year-old girls draw inspiration from the new pop look of artists like Olivia Rodrigo. They push early 2000s nostalgia, with the soft glow of a box TV illuminating the band's faces in radiant pink and blue tones.

While sticking to their signature bright, playful aesthetic, the video sets us in a typical teenager's bedroom, talking on the phone, while contemplating the ups and downs of a bad relationship. "We wanted it to look like a coming-of-age film, with loud saturated colors and a very nostalgic feel," the video's director Genesis Dacayanan told me recently.

THEM—which got its band name from combining all of the first letters in the band members' names: the T for Thompson, H for Hudson, E for Ellie, and M for Maia—remarked that it was such a surreal experience to get to work with their friends and local artists Genesis Dacayanan and Emily Un on the video. "We all know Genesis and Emily from school," THEM told me. "Genesis is 18 years old and Emily is 19. It's so cool to be able to say the entire video was made by people under 20 years old."

Emily Un

Initially formed in 2017, THEM took the stage for the first time in West Seattle, playing at West Seattle Summerfest and open mics at the Skylark Cafe. Since releasing their debut single, "BAD 4 U," they have turned heads and gained notable praise from KING 5, Audiofemme, as well as charting #5 on 90.3 KEXP within the first week of its release.

While local youth bands have popped up here and there throughout the years, there hasn't been a youth revival as impactful as the '90s grunge scene that took hold of Seattle and never let go. THEM is a part of the blossoming new wave of young artists dominating the local scene, alongside artists like Mr. Dinkles, Mirabai Kukathas, and Queen Chimera.

The band has a bright outlook for young people in the local scene, telling me that "Seattle is one of the only places where local artists are not just accessible," but there are "also resources to aspiring youth." THEM says they've benefited from communities and organizations like Mode Music Studio and Seattle Theatre Group, and been mentees of artists like Eva Walker (of The Black Tones), Shaina Shepherd, Sassyblack, ParisAlexa, Chong the Nomad, and Sharon Van Etten.

This group is an absolute treat to catch live, and you can see them perform on December 12 at Seattle's historic Paramount Theater for the Nevermind 30th Anniversary Screening and show featuring THEM and The Black Tones.

Emily Un