MUBI and slate have put together a list of their best film posters of 2014. we’re honoured to say that our poster for memphis came in 7th place, and must again thank adrian curry who put the list together for the recognition. it goes without saying that such an accolade would have been impossible without the belief and support of tim sutton and the rest of the film’s crew. it’s not often that a relationship of this kind allows such a level of artistic freedom, and furthermore that this is one particular collaboration that’s only just getting started.
after a brief hiatus, singapore’s underscore magazine has relaunched with its ‘arrival’ issue. included amongst its pages are two essays of note; one by 65daysofstatic guitarist joe shrewsbury — a piece which in fact opens the magazine; the other i wrote to accompany some photographs i took of a post-hurricane sandy manhattan 2 years ago.
here’s an excerpt from the latter:
as i walked around captivated by the things i saw, i stopped occasionally to send messages to the internet using my phone. observations, sensations and imagery as i best i could translate into words, shivering slightly with excitement in this unkempt, eerily unfamiliar, home city of mine.
“brooklyn reaches out its sparkling arm of a bridge tonight, cars dripping down it. the inky towers of manhattan stare quietly back.”
“a family quietly opens a hydrant with all their tupperware waiting thirstily in the trunk of a car.”
“the occasional cab down a street reveals people on benches, talking together in the dark. shivering cigarette tips like fireflies.”
“expensive apartment blocks dead monoliths bathed in moonlight. candlelit windows flicker here and there, like everyone’s watching TV in sepia.”
and so on.
you can read the rest of the essay here, and you can see the original set of photographs i took here.
of course nothing compares to owning an original copy of underscore. the latest issues is hardbound with canvas and sports a handwritten cover. if you have the means, do grab yourself a copy.
the video above is for ‘thanks for calling,’ the new single by our friend and long-standing collaborator, alessandro cortini. a man of many side projects, we have been fortunate to be most closely involved with sonoio, arguably his most lyrical outlet to date. it’s no secret that the dialogue between us is a constant thing, but it was around the time memphis was being shot that our discussions regarding a video for the song really started to bear fruit. the treatment matt sundin and i put together was a personal one that we felt tied strongly to the lyrical themes of the record and also harked back to the european filmmakers that had featured so heavily in all of our upbringings, for one reason or another.
that summer we found ourselves on the ground in los angeles. our producer,?friend and hero?katharine o’brien had already introduced us to the fantastic director of photography, monika lenczewska, and we were scouting locations, machetes in hand, in the creeks of the santa monica mountains. monika’s enthusiasm and humour as we hacked through the undergrowth planning each shot breathed new life into the project, to say the least.
soon enough emails were flying back and forth with various crew members and our crazed psycho-drama was beginning to look like a reality.
casting, always the rogue element in any film, certainly took us to the brink. we’d crawl out of building sets deep in the forest and find ourselves sitting in a coffee shop or in front of a computer picking gunk from beneath our fingernails, looking at actors and actresses. the trick of course with this film was that we had to find someone willing to play not just the swanky LA party goer, but also the sunbaked, blood-soaked, creek fiend.
with an entire nation of poison oak cleared away, half the garbage in the surrounding 2 mile radius dragged into one spot and a crew of 20-30 people making a home somewhere long a trail through the forest, we hit the first day and watched marshall allman awake from his fall; delirious, smashed and looking for little more than a sip of water.
naturally things got out of control and as marshall was dragged away by some curious ‘locals,’ we got into our fair share of technical scraps too. as he pretended to piece together the reasons for why his world had been turned upside down, we?hauled machinery around rocks, through undergrowth and in and out of ponds.
as the day went on we threw everything we had at marshall to try to keep him down. including a spectre of his wife, played by a rather radical looking daveigh chase. pretty soon he was telling us exactly how he planned to kill everyone in sight.
technically speaking one of the highlights of the shoot was hugh bell bringing a prototype of his incredible MOVI rig to the set. when the ground is basically all big rocks, this thing kept the shots looking and feeling like we were floating like a feather across the landscape. naturally it also allowed us a few evil dead style movements through the forest, which was cool. having hugh on set meant he could take apart the rig in a split-second to make any necessary adjustments as we moved forward and tried new shots — an advantage we never took for granted.
all the while we just tried to keep track of things.
the next day and night we were in a convoy of cars racing around corners on one-way roads throughout the forest canyons. first we did a few runs with monika and hugh sitting in the back seat of the mustang, then, with an enormous camera strapped to the back of another truck like the outboard motor on a boat, we set them off by themselves. we then coaxed marshall and daveigh deeper and deeper into a screaming match via a walkie-talkie hidden in their car, as we swept back and forth across dark canyon roads — our lights out, unaware what might come from the mist at us with each new bend.
it was a two and a half?day shoot that ended by the side of the road early on a saturday morning. all of us, exhausted but content, stared down into a fog filled canyon stretching out toward the ocean. as our 1965 mustang’s headlights cast our shadows into the early morning mist, we wondered equally if we’d got every shot we needed and how good bed would no doubt feel when you’d driven yourself into the ground in this way.
editing the film was a tough process, as is always the case. there are many ways to skin a cat as they say, and this one was often screeching as we did it. we ended up with not just 3-4 different edits of the video, but also two entirely different mixes for the song itself. in the end alessandro made the call as to which combination should be the ‘official’ cut. however we also agreed that one of the other cuts made a good accompanying piece in terms of the different interpretations of the narrative. edit-wise it doesn’t vary hugely, but the colour grade, sound design and song mix set it apart in ways that are worth experiencing — the song mix in particular couples well with the new sound design and puts a different emphasis on the percussive elements of the outro.
giles was interviewed for huffington post a couple of weeks ago. the piece, which sits?in their small business section,?is important to us as it expresses concisely how far we’ve come as a company and where we stand ideologically to this day. it’s not often?you get?an exact thing you can point at whenever people ask you where you’re at, but now we have one. a huge thanks?to brian kil for granting?us this opportunity to be this outspoken, and on such a high platform.
65daysofstatic, no strangers to touring japan, asked us to put together a small promo clip for their forthcoming japanese tour. using footage we shot the last time they toured out there, this piece gives you a little taste of what it’s like to be right there with them on the road to such places.
in the last days of 2013 whilst on a longish trip back to england, i sat down with my brother to watch a film called call girl. we didn’t know anything about it – in fact i’d picked it up because i liked the typography used for the film’s logo. it was close to midnight, we filled our whiskey glasses and slung the disc into the playstation. i said one word during the entire viewing. in fact i said that one word twice. the word was ‘fuck.’
call girl came out in 2012. it’s basically unheard of here in the US, and even harder to get a physical copy of. heck it was tough enough to find a pressing of the soundtrack that anyone would ship to england, let alone new york. whether this is to do with the controversy that surrounds the film, or simply because for some reason it failed to pickup a good distribution deal, is unclear.
call girl documents a political catastrophe in the 1970s that is still such a sore matter for those involved in sweden, that the film had to be heavily edited after it’s festival screenings in order for it to make the public domain. without going into the story, i’ll add that it’s one of the most beautifully written, shot, edited, scored, acted and packaged films i’ve seen in a long time. after watching it i immediately picked up a copy for a friend in england, and have since screened my copy for as many friends as i can in new york.
soon after returning from england i began to steal an hour here or there amongst my regular projects, to piece together notes, take screen snapshots and cut together various layouts. a day or so ago a much larger film related project landed – one that would truly require every second i had left in each day – and i had to save the files, export them and put this particular aside to rest.
there’s no real need to go into why the posters turned out the way they did, but they certainly follow my long-running ethos that the artwork supporting a film or record should in every capacity echo the tone, message and overall aesthetic value of that work. i hope you enjoy each of the 10 editions i’ve put together in different ways, and ultimately take the time to see the film (and buy the soundtrack) as soon as you can.
my gratitude to daniel carlsten who’s typographic work on the film drew me to it. my congratulations to mikael marcimain for such masterful directing, to hoyte van hoytema (let the right one in) for a level of cinematography the likes of which i wish every film could be blessed with, and lastly to mattias bärjed for an incendiary soundtrack. one i am still trying to get on vinyl.
tim sutton’s new feature film MEMPHIS is having it’s US premiere at the sundance film festival this week. the film stars the incendiary singer willis earl beal and chases, in the form of a filmic essay, the ever-fleeting soul of the creative process. as some of you know we have had the great honour of working on this film and you can read more about that in an interview we did with black book magazine here.
since putting together the posters for the film, we’ve created a small teaser site to celebrate the sundance acceptance. additionally the film has since been written up in dazed & confused magazine. to say that it’s a thrill to see the film (not to mention one of our photographs) in that legendary periodical would be an understatement.
here’s wishing the whole memphis film team all the success at sundance and beyond. it’s not often enough that films as experimental and searching as this get this sort of recognition.
thanks to indiewire you can view a brand new trailer for the film below. do please immerse yourself for a moment. to paraphrase one of my favourite songs – nothing quite like the feel of something new.
lastly, if you have the means – see willis earl beal perform live. he’s touring europe in february and i can honestly say that there are very few out there of his caliber. lyrically, musically and performance-wise, he will most assuredly smash you to pieces.