Archive for the ‘Anita Doron’ Category
Sebastien Grainger never wanted a Grammy, he just wanted to park his band van in front of the El Mo. For a fabled time, and back before Sebastien became famous with Death From Above 1979, the legendary live music used to host a popular UK music dance party on its top floor while rock bands burned up the stage downstairs. The young musician-in-waiting went there every week for the girls and cheap beer – and inadvertently discovered how to make rock music you could dance to. Since achieving international success with DFA and forming his latest band Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains, the singer/guitarist/drummer has witnessed his share of magic nights at the El Mocambo – and caused a few of them himself. In conversation with his bassist and cohort Nick Sewell, Sebastien recounts how he came of age at the legendary bar beneath the neon palms.
ANITA DORON is the director of the feature The End of Silence and the documentary Finding Body and Soul. She has helmed music videos for Sarah Harmer and Prairie Oyster but has an open mind and curiosity about all music genres and a fearlessness to dive into unmarked territories – rock dives included.
LL: Give us your “elevator ride” pitch; what’s your film about?
AD: My goal was to be as authentic as possible to the music and place and whatever came of the meeting of Sebastien and the El Mocambo. It shows the meaning of the relationship between them and the effervescence of the coming together – the El Mo represents everywhere in the world one comes to break one’s perception of what music is and the process realize who you really are. It features a conversation between Sebastien and Nick [Sewell, his bassist] which I hope conveys the memories in a genuine exchange.
LL: You had met Sebastien before, so what did you learn on this shoot that surprised you?
AD: I first learned about Seb’s music through his mother – I spent about a year with her doing a doc about a play she was in. What surprised me this time was how much he talks about dance music and its role in his life. Also, that a big part of his development as a teenage human being included drinking his mom’s gin in a soccer field.
LL: What’s the secret to making a film that looks good on a small mobile screen and also the cinema?
AD: Being saturated and monochromatic at the same time. Docs can’t control colour too much but I tried with Seb’s film to stay within cyan and green and to contrast with colours that represent equally strongly.
LL: This is your third City Sonic film. What would you say is your favourite thing about the series?
AD: Going far enough with musicians for things to be stripped away and they are just themselves. You extract something, then film it. The other is listening to music and learning about the venues and finding something completely true to both.
One of the first ideas for shooting Sebastien was to involve his bassist Nick Sewell, a music legend in his own right (ex-Illuminati, Tchort). We set the duo loose in and around the El Mo, and they ended up on the rooftop. There, in the bright light of day they told us the stories of some of their darkest nights.
Since the split of his band Death From Above 1979, Sebastien Grainger has been making his own mark on the city with a great solo album (featuring his back-up band The Mountains) and regular live appearances at spaces big and small. He can most often be found living and (and occasionally DJing) on the west side of town but when it comes to his musical evolution no place in town had more impact that that legendary rock bar on the edge of Chinatown, the El Mocambo.