South London’s Archive are taking to the O2 for the world premiere of Axiom, the film created by the band and the NYSU inspired by their latest album, and the collision of film and music makes it a particularly apt introduction to this year’s festival.
Over the last three years Sundance London has sought an identity separate from its Park City parent and there is a sense in 2014 that Sundance has finally arrived in London. You only need take a look at the festival events we recommended to see the diversity of new film and music coming to the O2 in the coming days.
The choice to debut Axiom gave us the chance to sit down with Dave Pen from Archive to talk about the formation of the project, their influences and, to begin with, what Sundance London means to them.
‘It means a hell of a lot to be honest. Sundance has such a great reputation for bringing forward excellent talent in independent cinema and film. I am very happy that Axiom is included in London’s Sundance alongside so many great works. I co- wrote the lead song for the film Metro Manila which won the audience award at last year’s Sundance so to be here with Archive and Axiom is especially sweet for me. We knew it was going to be a visual piece of some sort, We didn’t know Axiom the film would come out as it has to begin with. As with a lot of Archive material there is always a visual imagination to the music, not only when you listen to it but we have visuals in our heads whilst writing it also.’
Working with NYSU under the direction of Jesus Hernadez opened up a new arena for Archive, bringing a visual identity to Archive’s music. Pen explained the process and finding common ground,
‘The whole album musically was written and recorded before we met Jesus and the team. We shared a few ideas at a meeting and knew they were the right people to bring the visual side to the music. We left a lot of the film to Jesus and his imagination has been quite brilliant bringing it all to life. It was all very exiting and slightly nerve-wracking as well. We would get little snippets of footage and it would look amazing and would want to see more so it wasn’t really until the whole thing was almost finished that we got to see it all. We trusted them to get what we wanted and the result was better than we could have expected.
The band were aware of the dangers of putting a distinct visual to the music, possibly dampening the power of the music to create images and ideas unique to each listener, ‘It’s always a risk yes but we were very confident with Jesus and NYSU to totally capture a visual piece that was completely Archive so to speak. Both the film and soundtrack are as one which is great.’
This first step into a visual medium posits the question of Archive reversing the process and making a soundtrack themselves, ‘I think so yes, Having already made a soundtrack before I joined Archive I know that if we were to make a soundtrack now, the visuals would have to be something we as musicians could all relate to and then add to musically. I can’t see us doing a soundtrack for a rom-com or Happy Feet 3 to be honest. It would have to be something thought provoking , intense and with real meaning. I definitely think we will be making more visual based music in the future for Archive. Its challenging and fun.’
Considering their cinematic influences (Dave’s rundown – ‘Kubrick, Tarantino, Ben Wheatley (I’m loving his films so far) Panos Cosmatos (Beyond the Black Rainbow was mind-blowing) Brit Marling and Mike Cahill.’) and what we’ve seen so far from Axiom there’s a good chance this will be an eye-popping opening night for Sundance London. You can click here for more info and tickets and see their newly released single, Distorted Angels, below and it’ll give you a good indication of what to expect as it forms the opening for Axiom.