No country for old Film Stock
By: Katei Cranford
Eddie Garcia is a man of multimedia.
The Pedal Fuzz writer and publisher, producer and engineer at WFDD, and musician behind the fiercely ethereal 1970s Film Stock will premier his live score to the Coen Brother’s modern classic, No Country For Old Men, as part of the RiverRun International Film Festival on April 6.
“Making primarily instrumental music, and being a big film fan, it’s something I’ve been wanting to do,” Garcia said regarding his motivation into motion pictures. “I’m that person talking about the score or sound design after watching a movie.”
“I wanted a film I could play with, not just over, “ Garcia said of what attracted him to No Country For Old Men. “The movie basically has no music except for a few quiet drones. Having a blank slate was extremely enticing.”
Plus, “I’m a big Coen Brothers fan, and a big fan of stark, gritty thrillers in general.”
“Tonally, I’m certainly playing into some of the film’s eeriness, as well as the Western setting, but in a way that’s 1970s Film Stock,” Garcia explained. “It’s alternately atmospheric and visceral.”
“I like tension, in music and film,” he added.
And No Country For Old Men is tense.
The Academy Award-winning film from Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, is a Western-nuevo laden with the Coen’s signature takes on morality and crime following the chain reaction set off by a $2 million discovery after a drug deal gone wrong.
It’s heavy. And dark. And highly-regarded.
High stakes, though Garcia remains undaunted. “I’m excited at the possibility of augmenting, or almost remixing how people feel about certain scenes in the film via music,” Garcia noted. “Clearly the movie is perfect as is, I’m just adding a little something unexpected.”
Musically-speaking, “I’ve told a few people that it kind of sounds like Neil Young scoring a horror movie,” Garcia added.
Though Garcia’s songs have been used for documentaries, No Country marks his first attempt at explicitly writing for a movie. “I treated it like I was actually given the assignment of scoring the film,” Garcia noted of his process.
“Playing a score live is a different beast though,” he explained. “I had to find ways to glue musical threads together–or suddenly stop all sounds–things that would be easy in a studio situation, but require a little experimentation played live.”
The experiment is paying off. Getting the rights to a major film is arduous in itself, let alone landing a festival premiere.
“It’s kind of mind-blowing” Garcia said of performing at RiverRun. “I’m grateful that they’ve given me this opportunity, and I’m keeping hope in my back pocket that I’ll meet some filmmakers who might want to collaborate in the future.”
Though it’ll be his inaugural experience performing a score, as a film buff, Garcia is also looking forward to experiencing RiverRun from the audience. “The Late Night Shorts are my favorite every year,” he said. Miles Davis: Birth Of The Cool, Starfish, Teen Spirit, Freaks, and Fanchon, the Cricket are also on his list of flicks to see.
Looking to the future, Garcia doesn’t have plans to tour the score–though he’s willing. “I’d love to do a little touring with it, no doubt, but there are logistics involved with doing a big movie in terms of securing screening.“
A digital release of his recorded score, No Country For Old Film Stock, is slated for late spring.
As for film-related endeavors, Garcia is excited to have some ideas in the works, though he remained secretive with details. “Part of the challenge is finding films with no pre-existing score,” he explained. “I’m not opposed to doing the ‘jam with the movie with its sound off’ style either, for a live event.”
Returning to his audio roots, Garcia intends a 2019 release of This City, This Tulpa, an improv recording made from a live headphone event at the Wherehouse Art Hotel.
Summer plans include laying tracks for a new 1970s Film Stock album, tentatively titled Third Anthem. Garcia intends to add vocals, drums, and “perhaps a few guests,” to his small army of effects pedals.
“I may even go to a proper studio for that one,” Garcia said, “we shall see!”
In the meantime see what he’s up to at the RiverRun International Film Festival where 1970s Film Stock will perform an original live score to No Country For Old Men, 7 p.m. on April 6, at Hanesbrands Theatre in Winston-Salem, NC
Katei Cranford is a Triad music nerd who hosts the Tuesday Tour Report, a radio show that runs like a mixtape of touring bands, 5:30-7pm on WUAG 103.1fm.