Feature: Project. Heartbeats
FEATURE: Project. Heartbeats
There is no doubt that over the last year or so promoters have really gone that extra distance in Glasgow. Be it extravagant visual experiments, complete club transformations or even parties in secret or previously unused locations, the simple DJ, soundsystem, dancefloor set up just won’t cut it anymore. Innovation is very much key to getting yourself noticed in this city, and that applies not just to promoters, but also producers, artists and anyone else trying to leave their mark. And it’s perhaps for this reason that both Heartbeats and new club-orientated cinema experience, Project caught our attention.
Having launched last month with the premier of LCD Soundsystem’s essential ‘Shut Up And Play The Hits’, Project's approach to the audio-visual relationship is something that has to be applauded. Securing James Murphy for a Q&A session, as well as Optimo’s JD Twitch and JG Wilkes for the afterparty, the launch was a huge success, proving that attempting something different can, and usually does pay off. This Friday Project returns with its next premier, a screening of ‘Heartbeats – The Documentary’, something which has been in the making for the last nine months and focuses on a subject much closer to home.
Founded in 2010 by Chris Stevens aka Megamegaman, Heartbeats has provided a home for some of Glasgow’s finest up and coming producing talent, forming the basis and support network for aspiring artists to make their name. Taking the form of a close-knit collective, they have released a number of themed compilations for free download, featuring early work from Mia Dora, Sega Bodega and Barrientos. Directed and edited by Guy Thomson, ‘Heartbeats – The Documentary’, follows the collective as they produce, perform and party, using exclusive footage and interviews to reveal the group’s dynamic and why it works so well. With an afterparty planned at Flat 0/1 and the premier itself taking place at newly-established bar, Inn Deep, you can expect Friday night to be an apt celebration for Heartbeats and Project alike.
Check out and download Heartbeats Vol 6 below as well as an interview with Heartbeats founder Chris Stevens and documentary director Guy Thomson below:
Synth: Ok, well I guess the obvious place to start with this is how the documentary came about? Obviously Heartbeats has been on the go for over two years now, at what point did you decide to start documenting it?
Guy: I had been living in London for a few years and after moving back to Glasgow I heard Ryan (Kid Robotik) had one of his tunes remixed by Chris and Hamish from Dirty Basement. I had known these guys prior to moving to London and I thought it was interesting how this came about considering they have completely different styles. So I guess I first heard about Heartbeats from Change Your Tune Vol: 2 onwards, I met Chris (Megemegaman) not long after and sort of joined in the scene that had been developing whilst I was away. I began to study television & film around this time and decided I wanted to create something on my own without the restraints imposed by my course. I also wanted to take advantage of the professional kit I now had access to. It seemed that having joined Heartbeats, and with the wide variety of artists on show, it was something I myself was interested in documenting and thought would appeal to a wider audience. Chris was pretty up for the idea after I suggested it to him so it just started from there really.
Chris: I’d like to take credit here, but it was all Guy’s idea.
Synth: For those who may have not heard of Heartbeats and what you guys are doing, can you give us a bit of background on the collective and how it all began? Did you envisage it still going strong two years on?
Chris: I'd be lying if I said I knew we'd be at this point. I thought of the first release as a proof of concept; a means to an end to gather and promote Glasgow's diverse selection of electronic musical talent. The idea to create a focal point came first, and the compilation idea came second. I put the first compilation out in August 2010, and it feels like all of a sudden we've got 7 releases and a documentary behind us, I didn't see that coming. I'm not gonna spoil my own show though, you'll have to come to the screening to get the full story.
Synth: There’s been quite a few artists who have started out and contributed to Heartbeats in the past, including Slow It Down, Barrientos and Mia Dora, do you think it’s important to have that support network of artists when you’re just starting out?
Chris: Undoubtedly. I'd been performing and producing for a number of years before I moved to Glasgow, admittedly I was in much smaller places than this but the sense of camaraderie and cooperation between musicians was much stronger. Being a part of the collective makes it much easier for someone to get involved in the scene, get some releases out, play some shows and learn how to use their tools better.
Guy: I think it’s definitely helpful. There is such a wide variety of artists in Heartbeats with a lot of the guy’s running nights and it helps give everyone a better platform from which to access one another, and play each others nights. It would be harder to go it alone I think without that support, or at least take longer anyway.
Heartbeats at Flat 0/1: good times
Synth: Focusing on the documentary then and with reference to Guy, how difficult did you find collating the material for this? We can imagine it getting a bit out if hand at some of the parties – any amusing moments?
Guy: There were two main problems I had with collating the material. The first was that I had to find a way of making something that included as many collective members as possible, but be of a reasonable running time so it wouldn’t become monotonous to watch. The second problem was that I only had access to kit from my college at certain times. I basically had a window of a few weeks in March from which I had to conduct the majority of the interviews. The kit had to be returned on these days by 4pm, so it was really hard to organise with some folk working Monday to Friday etc. I couldn’t get everyone I wanted interviewed unfortunately, but this also kept me from having a completely ridiculous amount of material to edit down. I shot the interviews on Sony EX3’s and I filmed the live stuff on Mini DV. I used whatever other cameras I could get my hands on for the rest of the footage. There was also some existing archive material that made it into the final cut. In terms of amusing moments well, I had a lot of laughs interviewing everyone, that’s where the majority of the humour came through. The DVD’s that are going be available for free at the screening will have some bonus features at the end which contain some bloopers and things like that. At he parties I was joining in, going as mad as the rest of them once I had filmed what I needed from the night.
Synth: And how does the documentary take shape? Can you talk us through your vision for it? Obviously it’s been a long time in the making, how closely does the finished product meet your initial focus?
Guy: When I began researching the collective for interview I found not as many people knew each other as I had expected. There are pockets of folk that had heard of each other through gigs and nights and stuff, but overall it was quite segregated that way. I ended up with a lot of footage, so the edit has taken me longer than I expected. New parties and events and releases were going on all the time so it was hard finding a point to stop collecting footage and begin the final edit. Also because it was filmed over about 9 months or so, keeping the continuity in order became a bit tricky and I had to keep going back and changing parts. I would say that overall I’m very happy with the way it’s turned out as I never expected it to become such a large project. It has been quite a big part of my life for the last year, so in a way I’ve got mixed feelings about it coming to an end. I’m pleased everyone will get to see it soon.
Chris: I had no idea what to expect, I trusted Guy's skill as a director and especially editor, but I just hoped he'd get enough footage to translate the open-endedness and spirit of the whole thing. I think he's done a great job.
Synth: Following the premier on Friday there will be an afterparty at Flat 0/1 featuring some of the collective, what should people be expecting from that and what are your plans for the future of Heartbeats?
Chris: You'll be able to catch members of the collective playing a mixture of live and DJ sets at Inn Deep immediately after the screening, including a debut from Sneaker Blue that I'm really excited about. IntegraTV are great live and they'll be at the official afterparty at Flat 0/1 along with some of our finest luminaries. Next up will be Volume 8, title TBA...
Guy: We plan to film and make a feature on the screening and after party at flat 0/1, so that will be something to look forward to. The screening will have free copies of the finished documentary for folk who come along as I mentioned earlier. The list of acts confirmed for Inn Deep & Flat 0/1 so far include; Dirty Basement, Kid Robotik, Binary Zero, Mirrors, OhMega Sir, Integra TV, Wolfspit and Sneaker Blue. In terms of the future of the collective, apart from contributing to the music releases, I’d like to work on some music videos for some of the artists. Since we began making the documentary there have been some larger events featuring a strong Heartbeat contingent where the guys have got to meet and play with each other more than in the past. There has become quite a strong core appearing consistently on the last couple of compilations so it’s becoming a bit of a closer community I would say.
Project. Heartbeats will premier at Inn Deep this Friday at 8pm. There will be an afterparty featuring members of the collective at Flat 0/1 from 11pm. Entry is free for both events.
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Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/175062172618282/