After The Adventurist was recorded and mastered I played the finished tapes for folks at a few record labels. After about 6 months I found out that my favorite label, Omnivore Records was up for putting out the album. Wow! I was really excited now. So first up, make a video.
I was out in New York June 2016, doing some shows with Al Stewart (yep, Year of the Cat) and I stayed with my film-maker friend Matthew Kohn in Brooklyn. We tossed around the idea of him making me a video of one of the songs and I assumed it would be I Like Cats/You Like Dogs. No, Matt was really sure he wanted to make a video around the song American Cinematography.
Let me tell you a little about Matthew Kohn. He's one of my favorite people on the planet. Not just because he cares about the planet, but because he makes films to help people see stuff that's happening in the cracks and crevices of life on planet earth. His documentary Call It Democracy looked at the electoral process and it's controversies in the 2000 to 2004 election period. Recently he's been finishing up a film in Sudan, about Sudan.
Cool. So Matt wanted to film something for American Cinematography. Problem was his good ideas would take time, and I was only in town a few days, and a cast of organized friends wasn't gonna happen fast. We tossed more ideas around. I talked to Matt about films I liked that looked kind of spontaneous like Pennebakers Dylan documentary Don't Look Back, which seemed so off the cuff.
Or the look of Andy Warhol's films. I have been a big fan of Warhol's Screen Tests for a while. Edie Sedgwick staring boldly and coquettishly at the camera. Dennis Hopper looking so dramatic just via the lines on face/ like a great sculpture. Or the young starlit that stares at the camera while crying, in slow motion a single tear.
I suggested to Matt that we try doing nothing and see what comes of it. And so that is what we set out to do. Rather than have the visuals propel the song forward the film sits back and lets the song do all the work.
And I have to say, its very hard to stare at a camera for minutes at a time. Each one of these series of shots were with Matt setting the camera up on a tripod somewhere in Brooklyn and leaving it alone while I stare back at the black eye of the lens. Its both uncomfortable and intimate. Then I left town and Matt pulled the footage together. So in between the film club nights he holds in Manhattan, and going out to see cool music/art shows and making that film about South Sudan, he made this little film for American Cinematography.
Here's more on Matt....