SOUNDTRACK PREMIERE: WOODSHOCK
STORY / KRISTY BENJAMIN
By now, I am sure everyone is dying to see Woodshock, the directorial debut film of our favorite sisters Kate & Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte. Because we know from their work that their ability to create beautiful things has made them acclaimed in the fashion world. It seems naturally their transition to film would be a feast for the eyes as well, and you would not be wrong. However, there is another major element to this movie that brings all of their visual magic to life, and that is the score to this film.
I had the privilege to speak with award winning and renowned composer Peter Raeburn about working on this gorgeous film. Peter surpasses what it means to compose with his combination of unique approaches, immense attention to detail and extreme care for each project individually. Even in our phone conversations, the preciseness of his use for words, or wonderful pauses as he searches for them, shows how much he cares to insure the perfect match to his thoughts. From listening to the music for this film you just know this amplifies for him, as each tiny sound and frequency shines through each frame. Below you can read our conversation, have the first listen to the magnetic music of this film, and check out the trailer! Woodshock hits theatres Sept 22 via A24 with Soundtrack Out tomorrow on Milan Records
Peter, Hi! I didn’t realize we were pulling you out of a session I’m so sorry about that! But thank you for taking the time to speak to Ladygunn, we are excited! What are you working on?
I am working on a new film score… deep in a scene … of heavy stuff… but beautiful though.
So awesome. Well, I guess jumping in first off we would love to know, how did the Woodshock project come to you?
It came through the director and the supervisors kinda searching for the right person to work with and they found out about different projects I worked on and Linda Cohen, the music supervisor was working with Laura and Kate to cast a composer and they were looking for a female composer and they picked me! (laughs)
They heard and saw other work I had done over the years and felt a common thread, an aesthetic that they connected with. The project came to me as something that was really special it was kind of half way through its edit … and I had a connection straight away really, when we spoke, and as soon as I saw the film I was taken immediately just by its incredible beauty I feel like I was watching a moving painting the whole way through. I was immediately taken.
I don’t doubt that! and takes me to my next question. When you are asked to work on something is it always a situation where you get to see something before hand and you decide by the visuals of it, or do you sometimes just get a script and make your decision that way?
I actually wrote something on just having read the script and actually that’s one of the themes that appears in the film I was inspired by the story initially by the way Kate and Laura spoke about their film, before I saw anything in fact before I was even confirmed as the composer.
Thats amazing… I mean, music is so important, that is such a tricky job, I could never do what you do, with just a script? THAT is amazing! (laughs) We of course want to know, how was it working with Kate & Laura. It sounds like it was a really good fit off the bat
Yeah it was completely. It was both so fun and really energizing and kind of connecting as we did straight away, they’re like, they’re really good people I just don’t mean they are good people to work with. They are good people in their hearts and so we connected on that level. And how they are interested in important issues as well as the love of, I suppose beauty… in a way. They have a really specific sense of beauty whether that goes into their images, the story, or the sensitivity of music, very specific. That’s really the best you can have going into a collaboration.
Yeah! I would think that working with people that have such a visual eye that is so specific or like a painting as you said would be a dream job for a composer since it’s all there for you. Adding your magic to their magic must be a lot of fun.
I very much work from inside the film, inside of the main character Teresa, and try to do what the images aren’t doing and to really delve deep in the film and kind of call above it.
You mentioned that role of the forest is crucial in this film, in preparing or working on this project did you seek out to go and spend some time in nature yourself?
I spend as much time in nature as I can. The film explores amongst other themes the relationship between humanity and nature and the experience of life and death. It is Teresa’s relationship with the Redwood forest, these incredible trees that she touches and identifies with, that informed the birthing of the score. I worked with a particularly evocative bird call that was recorded during the shoot in the redwood forest. It just has such a thing about it and it became an integral ingredient in my instrumental palette, cohabiting with vocal, orchestral and homemade sounds in the musical world of Woodshock.
With the film there’s not a ton of dialogue. The score is very integral. Is that an ideal situation for you or does that put more pressure on you?
Well I think the score is like Teresa’s inner dialogue and it functions as the interplay between her and the redwood forest and trees. It’s the power of the unconscious and the power of dreamscapes being used as a way to conjure up the sonic imagery that we need in order to experience what is happening inside Teresa and inside the spirit of the film.
Yeah I can imagine that would be a lot of fun for you to do!
It is also really enjoyable working with dialogue and sculpting around words. It’s a really important part of what I do but this is a film without a huge amount of dialogue but what is there is really important.
Yes. Absolutely. It was so beautiful, it is like you said, a painting. It was really great.
Did you feel uncomfortable when you watched it or, how did you feel? Now I’m interviewing you (chuckles)
At times. I think. Cause it’s you know, it’s realistic in her… anyone can easily just kinda loose their mind I think. And with the frequencies and tones you used, messes with you a little bit, in a good way, just in the sense that you are feeling what she is feeling.
I do have depression and anxiety personally so I understood it I think… I found it to be…I thought you really nailed it. It was great. It felt real.
I totally agree when I watched it in Venice recently that discomfort which is challenging in an important way. That it’s real and it’s a kind of dreamy reality of the experience of all the things we were talking about. Love, grief, suffering, longing and regret, guilt and so many mixed emotions… and existential issues that are in play. There’s so much going on and you are in this non linear scape. I think thats really a credit to Kate and Laura and Kirsten in their collaboration to have gotten this pure performance.
I agree with that she was so amazing.
You know I can’t say that I still 100% understand the film because I think it does have room to be open for interpretation but I definitely FELT the film. It felt very personal and very real. I think with the score you went where some people would be afraid to go. The risk was there, I’m glad you took it.
The WOODSHOCK Soundtrack will be released FRIDAY Sept 15 Pre-Order here: http://hyperurl.co/woodshock