I caught a cool interview with To All My Dear Friends (Marc Hennessey), who came to Grand Rapids for a show at Mulligan’s with local bands Four For Smoking and Black Cat Bone (my band). Chad Owen from Flint opened the show with a set of banjo and guitar tunes.
The next day Marc and I took a little walk around downtown Grand Rapids. I gave him my official tour of downtown as we shot scenes for the interview in different locations.
I got Marc to tell me a little about his recording process, how he sets up his songs, a little about the technical difficulties of recording music when utilizing extensive looping the way he does. He told me about his custom violin amp, and his modified Peavey blues amp, and how using a bass pedal on the electric violin creates some interesting tones.
We talked about his songwriting process, and what it is that he tries to invoke in the listener with his compositions. Marc has some very concrete ideas of how he wants his music perceived, and how it should be a comprehensive experience where the audience hears the music, sees the visuals he projects, and feels the sound enveloping the listener. He told me about how he painstakingly labors to tweak his sound and adjusts his gear to make everything as seamless as possible. The goal is not to distract people into thinking about the technology involved; all the knobs turned, buttons pushed, LED blinking demands, backlit LCD displays broadcasting status.
As we did the interview I couldn’t help but notice that we had a certain sensation of improvisation going on with the filming. We went around scouting out locations to use as a suitable backdrop for scenes, trying to mix things up a bit visually. MotuViget was an opportunity to incorporate some actual motion into the interview by shooting on the tire as it swung us around.We were stable, the background moves.
Marc had a good idea to walk around the Calder while we shoot rather than just standing in front of it. I think the movement while talking helped animate Marc as he spoke, as the shapes of the La Grande Vitesse next to him evolved, so did the delivery of his words rise and fall.
I couldn’t help but think that this aspect of the interview was kind of a metaphor for the sound of To All My Dear Friends, rising and falling and evolving as circumstances change, responding to the external environment to create atmosphere and mood and depth.
This was definitely a fun experiment.
- To All My Dear Friends comes to Grand Rapids (analogmutant.wordpress.com)