Loop Festival (March 15th -19th) – Interview with Alcyona Mick. Photo credit: Chuck Ferullo
Pianist/Composer Alcyona Mick is one of the founder members of the Loop Collective. She talked to me about her gig in forthcoming third Loop Collective Festival at the Forge Venue, on Friday March 18th at 8pm, when she will be performing her score for Sunrise, the FW Murnau silent film.
LondonJazz : How did the idea to present your soundtrack for FW Murnau’s Sunrise at the Loop Festival come about?
Alcyona Mick: At the Loop Collective all of us are keen to make the concerts in festival something out of the ordinary, not just regular gigs. Robin Fincker said to me “Why don’t you do one of your films?” This score was commissioned by Seven Inch Cinema and was premiered at the Flatpack Film Festival in March 2010, at St Martins Church in the centre of Birmingham, in partnership with Birmingham Jazz.
I’ve known the Seven Inch people for years, and have often played to accompany silent films. This was a bigger project, not just to play but to score, and it was made possible by an Arts Council grant. The idea of a London premiere at the Loop Festival just seemed like the right one.
LJ: What’s the film Sunrise about?
AM: Murnau was a celebrated German expressionist director who was given bottomless budgets by the studios in Hollywood. It’s a story of betrayal and forgiveness. A peasant couple is befriended by a lady from the city who pretends to fall in love with the husband but her real interest is to sell the couple’s house. The husband attempts to kill his wife but can’t go through with it. It’s about a seventy minute film and was made in 1927.
LJ: What about the music?
AM: It’s for three musicians, Geoff Hannan on violin, Jon Wygens on guitar, and myself. We perform live. Jon has an effects pedal, otherwise there are absolutely no electronics, and we perform it live in front of the movie. The London performance will have the same line-up as Birmingham last year. It got some good coverage. The difficult bit to score was to keep the pace going in the long section when the couple are reunited and relive their romance. The whole film, and particularly that part, is at a very different pace from films nowadays.
LJ: And you’ve been working quite a lot in film recently?
AM: Yes, I’ve just completed a two year masters at the National Film andTelevision School in Beaconsfield. In fact I graduated last Friday. There are 80-100 students, but only three composers. Gareth Lockrane did it a couple of years ago.
LJ: What other projects are you doing currently?
AM: Through the course I’ve been on tour quite a lot with Natacha Atlas, I’ve worked with Rachel Musson’s band Skein, and my trio Blink (with Robin Fincker and Paul Clarvis) has a new album coming out later in the year on Babel.
LJ: What else is going on at the Loop Festival?
AM: There’s a great variety of things on, the French bands, the Irish bands… it will be quite a festival! I haven’t had a major role in putting it together but I did have an involvement in getting Jeanne Added invited . I saw her in Paris and asked her to do the solo project which she’ll be performing at the festival. She’s got a fantastic voice and she’s an incredibly unique singer and musician.
LJ: Thank you, Alcyona.
—-Jeanne Added will perform at 9.30pm on the opening night, Wednesday March 16th. —-The last night of the Festival on Saturday 19th will be recorded by BBC Radio Jazz on 3. —-The Loop Collective Festival is supported by the French Music Bureau Export, Culture Ireland, the PRS Foundation and Arts Council England—-