Star-studded Documentary is Pitch Perfect
Bewildered by the homogenous, bland music that comes from major labels these days? So was producer Joel Rasmussen, so he enlisted the support of Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello et al to feature in a vita...
Bewildered by the homogenous, bland music that comes from major labels these days? So was producer Joel Rasmussen, so he enlisted the support of Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello et al to feature in a vital exposé of the industry which, he tells me, must be seen Before the Music Dies.
CM: What prompted you to make this documentary?
JR: It was a conversation that [director] Andrew Shapter had with his brother, a musician who was very ill, commenting on the lack of creativity in the music industry and how it was focussing on pretty young girls. Whilst there’s always been acts like that there’s never been a time when that’s all that was coming out of the major labels.
CM: So how did you go about taking on the American music industry?
JR: We started out optimistic but we thought we’d maybe get one or two musicians or minor industry spokesmen to talk to us. We never dreamed we’d have the New York Times, CNN and USA Today never mind Clapton, Dave Matthews, Elvis Costello.
CM: What sort of opposition did you face from the industry?
JR: None of the major labels would agree to talk to us. We made enquiries with every one of them and they sent us scurrying.
CM: The film features an incredible array of musical talent. How did you get them involved?
JR: We had no contacts to begin with. We found early on that the story was something that people were very interested in and our approach to it was honest and passionate. That combination led people to agree to sit down and talk to us.
CM: What was the response of the musicians to the completed documentary?
JR: The ones that have seen it are incredibly supportive. When we premiered it in the United States we had a concert after it and several of the artists came to support it for free. We had Erykah Badu, Questlove from The Roots, Wendy and Lisa all appear because they wanted to support the film.
CM: What do you hope EIFF audiences will take from the film?
JR: What we’ve been really delighted to see is that when people come up to us after the show they want to find out where they can get music from all these different artists and a lot of them want to make their own music.
Before the Music Dies is showing on 16 and 24 August at Cineworld
Winners of EIFF 2014’s short film awards and two of its documentary premieres have been nominated for 2015 BAFTAs.