Workers In Song Edinburgh (Preview Version)
A film By Julien Pearly
Matt Norris and the Moon
Edinburgh, 4th of June
Edinburgh is an amazing place for music. It happens everywhere if you look attentively. And if you want to hear completely unknown local bands, I recommend you to walk along the meadows path where you are sure to get into sight of some great fellow musicians having a ball with their instruments.
So that’s how I met Matt, Dave and Tom, while busking with their band The Last of Barrett's Privateers I just walked down the path with my camera then asked if I could film them. I left my card to Dave and the next day he contacted me by email regarding the videos. He also explained that they were parts of two bands with basically almost the same line up. We arranged for a filming session with the other band Matt Norris and the Moon on the following Friday evening before their gig at Maggies Chamber. Both bands have their own song qualities and I will upload the videos of the other band quite soon.
On the day of filming, I listen to the tunes on their myspace (myspace.com/mattnorrismusic ) to have an idea of what we can do. “Before there is frost” is the first track to catch my attention. A beautiful song with touching lyrics, having been through a recent break up myself, the words “I could win you back” ring in my head all day and will do so for the rest of the week. From this moment I can’t think of anything else than this song and think a way to film it nicely. I remember Dave telling me his flat is next to the venue so I ask him if it would be ok to use it for our session. Situated on market fish close, Cowgate would be great scenery for the song. So the first plan is to start with singer Matt alone going downstairs from the flat and walking towards Dave and Tom who will join him at the end of an alley. I don’t have much idea for the rest of the songs but I don’t want to think too much and leave things open. I just keep in mind a little idea storywise to link up the songs: Matt alone first in shot with Dave and Tom waiting and joining him at some point in the song.
So on my way to the meeting point with Jake and Lucia to talk more about what we gonna do, I pass through the meadows path again and guess who I bump into? Matt and some folks playing music, of course! Adam who used to play with Black Cat and Alan from AARON WRIGHT & the APRILS band are with them practicing a song (this year). Testing a kind of folky flute called xaphoon he just grasped 4 days before, this amazing musician can already play it like after years of practice. I take the camera out for a 1st filming session (WISE1.4). After a while they leave to get ready for the evening. On my way to the Cowgate I capture a few moments of music and skateboarding before doing some test down the fish market close to check for the timing of the song. The road is too long added with the stairs we will need to find a different solution. Everybody meets then time to gather at Dave flat to start filming.
In the building you can’t imagine my surprise when we take a tiny lift to go upstairs. A lift! In Edinburgh!? Never saw that before. So I figure out that for the first true Film Song Edinburgh I can’t miss the big clin d’oeil to the people of la blogotheque and Vincent Moon who did it with bands like Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire. They inspired me the idea of these videos and keep being an inspiration for music filmmakers around the globe (that’s why I put it first too). We get ready and find there is enough room for the band plus me inside, but as we want to record using Jake equipment we decide that Lucia will keep the door open to allow him to record from outside. Off we go, matt calling for the lift with tom and Dave inside already. We get the take in one go (WISE 1.1). People arrive just at the end of the song from the stairs, some laughing when realizing that a band inside this tiny place is having a wee jam and is also the reason why they can’t use it. We will hear later that someone complained about the noise and called the cops.
Nevermind! We go outside for the song I really wanted to film since the morning (WISE1.2) and arriving downstairs I notice the French little restaurant in the corner of the street. Why not starting the song from there and have with the frenchy sign introducing the shot. The band will be waiting at the top of the gate with royal mile on their back. We do a first try but then my camera stops half way through. Damn! We go for a second take knowing the band needs to go quite soon so it will be our last try. All goes well until a car just appears from nowhere in this little street, I’m in the middle of the road holding the camera, both matt and me don’t know if we should go on. Suddenly Lucia pulls me on the side and does a sign to the car to wait for the end of the shooting. Amazingly when she does so I keep framing matt guitar then go back to a quieter frame of mind as I see him smiling when he misses a string. For the rest of the song I have doubts if this is the right take and even bump into the cobbles of the pavement a few times. But the atmosphere up at the gate with people stopping by to watch us and this hairy man at the end all smiling and thanking us make the video a jewel of little incidents, so I’m sure now we couldn’t have done better.
Time for the concert and for the band to go, I thank Lucia for her help as she needs to go to work and go with Jake to attend the Tale of two Maggies night. What a night! Organized for a charity cause, Matt and his band are the first to play among a long list of others.
Treacherous Land (WISE 1.3) is a song that goes right through the core of my heart. When I keep hearing the repeated phrase “can’t you see I have tried with all my mind, with all my heart because I might be right?” I can’t stop thinking of the past but also to the reason why I’m filming all these bands. It’s more than for passion and work that I’m doing this, it’s a need, for the present, for the future.
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