MULTIMEDIA COLLECTIVE BUILDS NETWORK OF ARTISTS

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS AND VIDEO BY WILL FISHER

While their home base isn’t exactly the “Fortress of Solitude,” located in the middle of the Arctic Tundra, The Cold Collective, headquartered in Richmond, Va., is no longer a secret society. On July 16, 2016, the brand will launch its debut projects and shine some light on the rising talents in this growing  digital community.

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DC MUSIC DOCS LAUNCH WEEKLY WEB SERIES

VIDEO PROVIDED BY DOMINIC ELLIOTT

Dominic Elliott and Mylie Durham IV began playing music together in 1997 when the pair started their first band, FREELOAD, while attending Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md. Since then, the two local musicians, who’ve grown up in the Washington, D.C., metro area, continue to perform in various ensembles. 

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COMIC BOOK ARTIST TURNED FILMMAKER SCOTT HANSEN BRINGS MOVIE AND MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCTION TO VIRGINIA BEACH AND BUILDS DIGITAL THUNDERDOME WITH “THE MOST TALENTED PEOPLE” HE KNOWS

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS AND VIDEO PROVIDED BY SCOTT HANSEN

When Scott Hansen entered college, making music videos and full-length feature films wasn’t exactly the first thing on his mind; however, he has always had a passion for the demonic and sinister creatures dwelling in his imagination. Inspired primarily by 1980’s horror flicks, Hansen turned his attention from making comic book characters to bringing his dark obsessions to life in both music videos and movies. After a brief stint in Los Angeles, Hansen brought his talents back home to Virginia Beach to build his brand as a director and producer, creating his first feature film

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INDEPENDENT FILMMAKER LES OWEN CREATES HIS FIRST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY, “THE SILO EFFECT: THE TREEHOUSE SESSIONS”

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTO AND VIDEOS BY LES OWEN

Owner of LDO VIDEO and Treehouse Dreams Films, Les Owen has been involved with filmmaking for over 20 years, making marketing videos for companies in the Richmond and DC areas, as well as filming concert footage of The U.S. Army Band and other more alternative acts. After creating his own video production company in 2001, Owen became inspired when his son Steve’s band SILO EFFECT decided to enter the studio for their first professionally recorded album. Owen saw immense opportunity to document this transition in the band’s career, so he set out to film his first ever music documentary. In the process, he learned valuable insight about how indie film and indie music genres cross over and the roles they could play in the local music scene.

How did you get started making your own films and documentaries?

In 1989 I started working with a small video production company, but it wasn’t until 2005 when digital video technology became available to the public that I decided to do something with it as a career. I used to play in The U.S. Army Band, and I helped to create a video that would be played along with our performances. In 2001, the opportunity to be the Video Producer for The U.S. Army Band became available, so I traded in my instrument for a camera. After that, I started my own company and produced marketing videos for companies and performance videos for local bands.

Tell me about the documentary “The Treehouse Sessions”, which you filmed for your son Steve Owen’s band, SILO EFFECT. How did the idea for it come about?

Having been a musician my whole life, there were times where I wished my experiences could have been documented. My son Steve asked if I could film them in the studio, but  it was my idea to turn it into a documentary. It was the first music documentary I had ever done, but I wanted to capture this unique turning point for the band. They were experiencing a new creative process with new technology in a new environment. No one knew how it would turn out, and the fact that the outcome was so unpredictable, I wanted to see how it played out. They had a plan, but they didn’t know if it would be successful.

In your opinion, how do the audiences for indie music and indie films cross over?

I think that audience has an appreciation for the underdogs that don’t have the financial support of an industry machine behind them. They are so committed to their craft that they will do whatever it takes to make it happen. The energy and originality is there, and I think that the people recognize the same mentality.

Are there any other local bands in Richmond or throughout the commonwealth working with other indie filmmakers that you are familiar with?

No I don’t. I don’t think that there is a strong enough connection locally, but both groups would benefit from interacting more. Filmmakers always need  music, and there could be a mutually beneficial relationship between local filmmakers who use local musicians. It’s a symbiotic relationship.

Have you worked  with any other bands in the area?

I have worked with some band’s in the DC area, which is where I currently live, but not in Richmond, and that usually comes down to finances.

What are your rates for your services?

A lot of the time I  weigh it based on the nature of the project, but if the band and I can come to an agreement on the creative aspect of it, and it’s something that I’m excited about, I will do everything that I can to make it happen.

Are there any other local bands from Virginia that you would like to work with?

NO BS! BRASS BAND would be fun.

Do you have any upcoming projects that are currently in production or post-production?

It’s not music related, but I am currently working on a documentary on World War II veterans that I traveled with to Europe revisiting old battlegrounds.

As a veteran filmmaker, do you have any advice you can offer to aspiring filmmakers and documentarians?

Actually I do. One of the toughest things about shooting a film is how much you have to do by yourself–from shooting to editing and writing to financing and conceptualizing. Out of everything, the creative process of coming up with new shots is the most fun. Once you nail a location, you tend to stop thinking, and  the creative process takes a backseat to what is happening in the moment. That said, I think it is more beneficial to have someone else help make the creative process easier.

For more updates on Les Owen and his upcoming projects, be sure to subscribe to his YouTube and Vimeo channels. If your band is interested in working with Les, you can contact him at lesdowen@gmail.com.

“THE DYSFUNCTIONAL 757”: A DOCUMENTARY OF THE HAMPTON ROADS MUSIC SCENE

 The Dysfunctional 757INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY JOEY TRASK

Earlier this year, Director Joey Trask and Executive Producer Korey Hood, who are co-founders of Lost Terminal Productions, began work on their first major documentary about the Hampton Roads music scene and its various genres in hopes of making a video “pop-up book”. With support from local bands and personalities within the scene Trask and Hood began work on documenting local shows as well as getting insights from bands, fans. Although no firm release date has been set, the project is expected to be released sometime next year.  I had the chance to talk to Joey and Korey about their project and what people can expect from it.

First off, why do you think the Hampton Roads music scene is ‘dysfunctional’?

Joey: The way we see it is that it lacks the structure and unity compared to other scenes in America. While we were filming interviews with some of the bands, there was a recurring theme of describing the scene as a dysfunctional family, and that really struck a chord with me and Korey.

Korey: Everyone was saying how their respective scenes are like a family, but RHINO CEROUS was the first bands we interviewed to call it a dysfunctional family. After that, it snowballed from there.

I read on your website that this is your first major film project together. How did you get the idea to do the documentary?

Korey: Joey and I are always trying to come up with ideas to entertain people. He has also been doing show and highlight videos, so we decided to make a movie about it.

Joey: It started out as an off the cuff idea, but in the fall of this year Buddha’s Place, which has been one of the main venues on the Peninsula for many years, was being shut down. That is really what compelled us to rush into production so we could include its closing in the documentary. We filmed the last show there in mid-July, and we haven’t stopped working on it since then. When filming shows we go in with a general idea of what we want to capture, but we do it by the seat of our pants. Fortunately, what we have so far is coming together very cohesively, and once we have more material to work with, we will be better equipped to piece it all together.

The music of Hampton Roads is definitely diverse with genres ranging from heavy metal to reggae, country to hip-hop, and everything in between. How do you plan on featuring the various genres of the local music scenes?

Joey: We have really been making an effort to step outside our comfort zones. Our personal music tastes mainly stick to hardcore, metalcore, and heavy metal, but we wanted to diversify as much as possible to more eclectic music tastes so the film isn’t so lopsided towards heavy music. Filming this documentary has given us the opportunity to break into other music scenes that have been unchartered territory for us. We have been invited out to lots of shows, so we are being more selective in the ones we choose to go to by scheduling the next couple months and prioritizing them. We haven’t covered any indie music yet, but we will be filming one at the Norva very soon.

Director Joey Trask (left) and Executive Producer Korey Hood (right)

Director Joey Trask (left) and Executive Producer Korey Hood (right)

Can you disclose some of the bands that you will be featuring as well as some of the ‘various personalities of the 757 music scene’ that you will be interviewing?

Korey: So far we have interviewed members of THE NORTH, RHINO CEROUS, and NATURE’S CHILD, as well as a few others, but we also want to interview some of the bigger bands in our scene like HONOUR CREST and AUDIOSTROBELIGHT.

Joey: We want to get as many big name bands as we possibly can to boost the attention to our film, but we also don’t want to ignore the lesser known bands to help promote them. As far as the personalities we will be interviewing, we want to diversify as much as possible, but at this point we have spoken to very few people outside of bands. One person we did speak to though was the owner of 757 Bandwire, which was one of the first interviews we did at the last show at Buddha’s Place. We are also interested in interviewing booking company owners, promoters, venue owners, and especially the fans. Our goal is to get the perspective of as many people as possible.

Do you think that there is hope for the local music scene to continue to grow and strengthen itself?

Korey: I truly believe that it can grow. HONOUR CREST was just signed to Rise Records, and AUDIOSTROBELIGHT, as well as a few other bands, are signed to major labels and touring. I think that’s important because it shows other bands that it is possible to get out of Virginia and be successful.

Joey: It does have potential, which is one of the biggest ironies of the title, but for the film, we wanted to tell it like it is without putting a Walt Disney sparkle on it. I do hope that it will inspire more motivation and unity at all angles, but right now it is very disorganized.

Why do you think that the scene is disorganized?

Joey: The fans have a high school clique mentality, and they are very closed genre minded. The hardcore kids go to the hardcore shows. The metal kids go to the metal shows. There is also the age gap of the 18 to 24-year-olds that want to make music as a career, and there are the 40 to 50-year-olds that play in dive bars for fun. We hope our film will help bring the different groups together.

Production on the film is set to be finalized in January, but how do you plan to release it to the public?

Joey: We haven’t quite figured that out yet. We have thought about making DVDs and handing them out at shows, or we could go the film festival route. We are still considering our options and who our audience will be. Once we are further into post-production, we will have a better idea of what it is worthy of and who would want to see it. We are still at a cross roads.

For more information and updates on the release of “The Dysfunctional 757”, visit the Lost Terminal Productions website.

THE CLASSIC LP: KEEPING THE HIP-HOP SCENE ALIVE IN VIRGINIA IN THE WAKE OF MAINSTREAM MEDIA’S LACK OF FOCUS ON MUSIC VIDEOS

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INTERVIEW BY CHRIS SUAREZ

PHOTO AND VIDEOS PROVIDED BY THE CLASSIC LP

Music videos have been said to be a dying medium for musicians and bands.

If the death of music videos came about because MTV decided it would be more profitable to air original reality television shows instead of music videos, then young cinematographers are bringing them back.

A prime example of this select group is THE CLASSIC LP, whom his family and friends know as Josh Bart-Plange.

A self-described cinematographer and entrepreneur, THE CLASSIC LP began shooting music videos for his friend’s involved in the Northern Virginia hip-hop scene about two years ago. He says that his love of music made him want to get involved with the scene in any way he could.

“I’ve always been brought up around people who have done music, so I always wanted to get into music,” says Bart-Plange, “So first I tried to produce, but that didn’t really work out, so I decided to pick up a camera one time and that came to me naturally.”

The inspiration to become a cinematographer came about only a short time before THE CLASSIC LP brand was initiated. Bart-Plange says that artists who released a number of casual videos, not just music videos, encouraged him to visually document his friends who were trying to make a name for themselves in the hip-hop scene.

“When MAC MILLER and WIZ KHALIFA were getting big, I’d always watch their day-to-day video blogs – now they’re huge. I watched this interview once with this producer [named] Harris Martin, where he said WIZ [KHALIFA] gave him the best advice. He said, ‘If you’ve got a computer and talent, there’s no reason you can’t be famous because you’re putting everything out to the world.’” That idea left an impression on Bart-Plange, who says that belief inspired him to pick up a camera and start shooting.

While music videos have become a sort of burgeoning medium, with MTV no longer really showing music videos except for on MTV Hits, MTV Jams, and mtvU channels, unsigned bands and artists are finding low-budget, but talented videographers and cinematographers to make videos for them.

YouTube, with its user-friendly interface and channels, allows both musicians and cinematographers to compile their work and instantly makes their videos available for anyone. You can also find quality, high definition videos on Vimeo.com, which many cinematographers are using as well for hosting and sharing their music videos.

THE CLASSIC LP has shot, directed, and edited videos for top Virginia hip-hop artists such as SHANE, CITY, and SHIFTSPINKZ. Bart-Plange says he’s known each one of them since middle school.

Bart-Plange has also been involved in shooting music videos for members of the Virginia based FA$TLIFE MILITIA, which is comprised of artists BUCKY MALONE, SKYYHIRY, SOLO, and a whole slew of other producers, engineers, and graphic artists.

In addition, SILENT TREATMENT, which is a production company that’s been a client of THE CLASSIC LP has had Bart-Plange filming their open mic/slam poetry nights, called Spirits & Lyrics at City Tavern Grille in Manassas. Every week, THE CLASSIC LP has posted a recap of each Tuesday night’s event and is currently involved in filming a short documentary film about the charity work that Silent Treatment is also involved in.

Another group that THE CLASSIC LP has recently started working with is Distinguished Gentlemen’s Marketing Group (DGMG), which does parties and events at various venues throughout the area. DGMG is also responsible for the Squared Circle Battle League, which is a rap battle competition that’s held at First Break Cafe in Sterling. A number of artists that Bart-Plange has also shot a few videos for are also involved with the group.

While hoping to make the most of THE CLASSIC LP moniker, Bart-Plange is also working to further develop his skill set. Recently, he started an internship with Cool Kids Forever Films, which is a Washington DC based production company that has had videos featured on MTV, VH1, and BET.

In addition to shooting music videos, THE CLASSIC LP also has worked with models, companies, businesses, and groups that have him doing other videographer and photographer work, but Bart-Plange admits that shooting music videos is his favorite thing to do. He takes pride in working with local artists and helping the greater music scene here in Virginia.

For more videos and updates from THE CLASSIC LP, subscribe to his YouTube channel.