Lil Nas X explains the powerful intention behind his Satanic smash music video

Lil Nas X in Montero (Call Me By Your Name)

When Lil Nas X created his smash hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” he had more than satanic panic in mind – he also wanted to start an important conversation.

The star sparked outrage with the music video’s vivid Christian imagery, which includes scenes of him giving Satan a fiery lap dance after pole dancing down to Hell itself.

The blasphemous banger tells a story of sin, banishment and redemption, Lil Nas explained – and the backlash was exactly what he’d hoped for.

“I feel like we’ve come to a time in music where everything is nice and nothing is really cutting edge or starting conversations any more,” he told TIME . “I want to be part of a conversation that actually applies to my situation and so many people that I know.”

Specifically, he hopes the song will open up a dialogue about the continuing repression of LGBT+ youth, particularly within Christian spaces.

“I grew up in a pretty religious kind of home — and for me, it was fear-based very much,” he explained.

“Even as a little child, I was really scared of every single mistake I may or may not have made. I want kids growing up feeling these feelings, knowing they’re a part of the LGBTQ community, to feel like they’re OK and they don’t have to hate themselves.”

There’s a lot to take in with the video, and Lil Nas X is definitely not hiding as he has a make-out session with a snake-bodied, three-eyed alien, gets stoned by Marie Antoinette-style versions of himself, and ascends to heavens before pole dancing down into hell.

The “Old Town Road” singer says he drew inspiration from several cultural touchpoints, including Spongebob Squarepants, the queer romantic drama Call Me By Your Name; and the FKA twigs music video “Cellophane”.

In the latter video, the singer, dancer and artist twigs also reaches upward toward a celestial, winged being before descending down a long pole into a purgatorial-like space.

“I wanted to see some things people have done in music videos with the pole — and I felt like twigs did a really amazing job at that,” Lil Nas says. “I wanted to do my own take on it.”

His hellish take has certainly got people talking.