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Found Sounds for Found Footage

Interview with Legowelt

Found Sounds for Found Footage

28-10-2014 | 11.05

The next installment of New Music For Found Footage is around the corner, and it will be Danny Wolfers aka Legowelt taking the reins this time around. He will be creating a live score to a number of late 1970s and 1980s video art films from the LIMA archive. In addition to his illustrious electronic music career, Legowelt has worked with projects on film before. He recently played a live score for the classic Werner Herzog documentary “Aguirre” at the Gent 2014 film festival, so we are excited to see what he will be putting together for us this week. We managed to ask him a few questions about the kinds of approaches in film that have influenced him in the past and how they might help shape his upcoming performance on Thursday.

What were your first thoughts when the opportunity to do New Music For Found Footage came about? How motivated are you to do live soundtracking at this stage of your career?
"I have done these things before, it's very interesting to do soundtracks because even if it's an ‘addition’ to something that already exists, you can change the whole vibe or idea of an image, or make it more or less intense or more comical, sad, happy or melancholic. I did a few soundtracks lately, I just did the score for a documentary about Erich Von Daniken, the guy responsible for popularizing the "paleo-contact" and ancient astronauts hypotheses. Last week I did a live soundtrack for Herzog's “Aguirre Der Zorn Gottes” at the Gent Film festival and later this year I am going to score a Scottish thriller, so I am really into it lately."

Would you consider film a big part of your life? How influential has film been on you as a producer in the past?
"I watch a lot of films and dabble about with my own short movies, I really would like to make more movies but it takes a lot of time and effort. I have released a lot of "fake" soundtracks for movies that only existed in my head like the Smackos - UFO onderzoek 1983 album, which is an imaginary Dutch movie about two astronomy students that get involved in a sinister UFO story. It's kind of like W.F. Hermans meets Lovecraft. I would like to make this movie for real one day, or make it into a computer adventure game."

Is there a film you have enjoyed recently where the music has been very special or powerful to you? Is there a particular composer who has inspired you?
"One movie that comes to my mind of which the soundtrack impressed me a lot, is Paul Verhoeven's The Fourth Man. You can count good Dutch movies on one hand and this one is definitely on one of those fingers. The soundtrack was composed by Loek Dikker and the atmosphere is really fairytail-esque, changing from timid romantic themes to dreamy majestic waves; and it fits the movie perfectly. A particular composer that inspires me a lot is Morton Feldman, I would describe his music as patterns of unstable strange shadows, blurred sinister harmonies with intense feelings that are lurking in the nether regions of your mind."

What change does it have on your approach to music when it is being composed/performed as a backing track to a film rather than for solely listening? What do you find most challenging about the transition?
"Well, it has to fit into the images of the film one way or another, enhance the story and its moods. It's part of something else, you collaborate with the images. When you make (non-soundtrack) music by itself, these images are just in your mind and it’s for the listener to conjure their own images. The challenge mainly lies in getting the right feel of the movie and of course the directors demands. Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with that last thing for the Found Footage project, because I guess I have carte blanche for this."

Assuming you have put together some ideas already for the upcoming project, how would you describe the music you will be performing for us in a few words?
"I probably will use the same concept as the movies, i.e. using "found footage" so I am going to use "found sounds". I will try to have each of the five movies with a different atmosphere and also work with contrasting sounds to that of the images. I better start working on it today haha!"

Text: Ben Rogerson