Diplomacy is the name of the game — literally. Hovering over the negotiation-based board game back in 2017, Jack Falahee (who plays Connor Walsh on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder) and Tim Wu (also known as Elephante) began gearing up for their long-awaited collaboration.
The two childhood friends from Ann Arbor, Mich. carved two different paths in the entertainment industry for themselves. Falahee, an NYU Tisch School of the Arts alum, still spends most of his time on-screen as HTGAWM is in its sixth season, whereas Wu turned his “elephant in the room” hunch while initially dabbling in the corporate lifestyle into his DJ moniker and dance producer career. With a bevy of live gigs under Wu’s belt and Falahee’s skill for reciting lines, a joint musical career might have started as “a knee-jerk idea,” according to Falahee, but it turned very probable.
“We have different stories. I really like the idea of Diplomacy as almost the art of negotiating or bringing together two sides,” Wu says. “Whether that be the acting world and the music world or, like, the old kind of music we like, but then with the new style…it’s just all these different contrasts that have emerged through the work that we’re doing.”
The two longtime friends constantly kept in touch over the years before both settling in L.A. and deciding to create a joint project: Diplomacy.
“A lot of [our writing] deals with looking back at stories that we tell ourselves and our past — our individual stories but also our shared past from Ann Arbor,” Falahee says. “Also, the uncertainty of our careers and what the future holds.”
That uncertainty followed the two during their first songwriting session, until Falahee relinquished his diary to Wu so they could pick out stories that would form the lyrics to seal their newly-minted partnership.
Alas, the “Silver Lake Queen” was born. Titled after the city in California where the band was also conceived, “Silver Lake Queen” is the first single to be released under the joint Diplomacy band label. The track studies an enchanting woman who carries herself in a mesmerizing majestic fashion and is inspired by a real person Falahee met out and about in Silver Lake.
“She had this magnetic, almost otherworldly swagger,” Falahee tells Billboard. “We wanted the video to echo that same sort of attitude — it’s dark and moody but has a real energetic kick to it.”
In the band’s debut music video, the compelling character in question prances around other dancers in her floating pink gown. All eyes remain on her and her hypnotic moves, from the viewer to the other characters in the clip — with even Falahee and Wu falling victim to her spell.
The video juxtaposes the titular character dancing and Falahee and Wu performing but finally merges the shots together as she comes to mystify the two. The bandmates turn away from the Silver Lake Queen and her charm, only to continue serenading her.
And the bewitching chorus syncs perfectly to her sensational groove: “She’s the Silver Lake Queen, she’s a lucid dream / A gin martini and nicotine fiend / She’s a dark soul with a heart of gold / Got me jumping up whenever I’m told,” Falahee croons.
When Wu met her in real life with his bandmate, he immediately knew “she was made to have a song written about her,” he says. And luckily enough, he had the perfect riff to go along with it.
“Jack had told me a story about the Silver Lake Queen and at the time, I thought he was making it up or at least exaggerating, but one day we actually ran into her when we were bar hopping, and it turned out all of his wild characterizations were true,” Wu adds.
The song and accompanying visual are due for public release Friday, Oct. 18. Their debut EP is set for release in early 2020.