When I had my serendipitous run-in with the filmmakers of Blood Into Wine, they mentioned that I should stay after that screening to check out their other film, The Heart is a Drum Machine. I’m really, really glad I did.
Obviously, I love music. But sometimes I don’t see the forest for the trees. I’m so focused on my next show, the logistics, the writing, the promotion…that I forget the underlying motivation for it all. It’s all about the music.
The film is beautifully bookended with the story of the Golden Record, which was put aboard the Voyager in 1977 to represent human culture. The rest of the film is a collection of interviews with musicians, sound engineers, actors, and scientists (why no bloggers?!) talking about music in general terms- why they make it, why they consume it, feelings, physical reactions…deep, meaningful stuff.
The subjects are as varied as could be (click for my show reviews): Wes Borland, Ivar Bjornson of Enslaved, George Clinton, Britt Daniel, Kimya Dawson, John Frusciante (who almost put me in tears just looking at his deteriorated physical state), Courtney Taylor-Taylor, Maynard James Keenan, Billy Morrison (perhaps the most hilarious story), Matt Sorum (with an unexpected supporting statement for the Backstreet Boys), Mickey Avalon, Juliette Lewis, Gene Hoglan, Charlie Clouser of NIN, Fairuza Balk (Sapphire!!!), Bob Ludwig (mastering engineer for pretty much everything important), and many more. The breadth of talent interviewed send it’s own message- while we all have different tastes, conflicting ideas, and alternate viewpoints- the underlying motivation ties us together: we all love music.
The scientific elements in the film appealed to my psychology background. I think we spend a lot of time thinking about how music affects our mind, but not as much on how it physically effects us (well, outside of moshpit injuries). I found these parts fascinating and much easier to digest that This is Your Brain on Music.
It also helped me to realize that- while I put ‘my’ musicians up on a pedestal, I really have more in common with them than I think I do. The same way a musician feels about having to get the music out of them when they play, I feel about writing about my music experiences.
The Heart is a Drum Machine really made me take a step back and think.