To mark this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day British Council’s Connect ZA programme and The Space co-commissioned three shorts made through the collaboration of South African and British visual artists and musicians.
We caught up with Auntie Flo who, with Esa Williams, was responsible for the music behind ‘The World is Flat’ by Kent Andreasen and ‘Pied Pipers Voyage’ by Lebohang Kganye.
How did your involvement in the project come about?
We were booked to perform in Glasgow as part of Mandela Day 2014. It was commissioned by the British Council and as part of the event they asked if we were up for working with two South African film makers to create the soundtrack for two short-film commissions. I immediately got Esa Williams (who plays with me as part of the Auntie Flo live show) to get involved and we were introduced to Kent and Lebohang, the film makers.
We didn’t get to see the films until after the soundtracks were well under way. We initially worked to a verbal brief from the filmmakers, following a series of Skype conversations. They told us roughly what they planned to do and showed us some similar work. Our starting point musically was a sample of The Specials 'Free Nelson Mandela' track which we thought was fitting considering the theme. The samples used are unrecognisable in our finished versions but it gave us a starting point.
Having had music videos made for your music, how was it different working the other way around?
Oh it’s completely different. I thought initially we would construct the idea and theme for the films together but it ended up that we worked in a more traditional sense - to a brief set by the filmmaker. Our job was to create the mood, structure and atmosphere that would lend itself to the film. I guess that’s completely opposite to my videos.
Generally would you say your music is visually driven?
Interesting question. Personally I think all music has a synaesthetic quality, where certain songs (or even melodies) have a colour or pattern associated with them. When I’m making a song, I often feel a colour attaching itself to the song - this colour often mutates as more layers are added. The new album I’m making is very much a purple / green colour for example.
What is your all time favorite film score?
I really like Mihály Vig soundtrack work for the Hungarian Director Bela Tarr. The music is so crucial to his films - it tends to repeat, almost ad nuseum, with slight variations and is fundamental to defining the pace and mood of the film. My favourite is the Werkmeister Harmonies.
What would be your dream film to score?
I just worked on remix for Red Snapper’s new soundtrack for the Senegalese film Touki Bouki. I think they’ve done a great job in creating the new soundtrack. For the remix* I sampled the opening cow slaughter scene and added it to the track. Soundtracking a film like this would be amazing to work on.
*Free download of the track
Listen to more music from Auntie Flo here
Get to know Huntleys + Palmers here
and Connect ZA here