La Blogothèque Tue, 03 Nov 2015 11:29:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 S01E01 | Cillian Murphy Tue, 03 Nov 2015 09:47:47 +0000 -

How does music influence the work of actors, directors, photographers, designers, chefs, writers or painters? How do the artists who are not producing, playing or writing music themselves use it in their own art? This is what we will try to understand through “Music is my radar”, a new series of long interviews that we will post regularly on Blogothèque and
- Version française -

sunshine-626Cillian Murphy in Sunshine - Danny Boyle (2007)

He stars in big Hollywood blockbusters as well as in great indie movies shot in his native Ireland. He is the unforgettable face of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, of Inception‘s heir son, of Christopher Nolan’s Scarecrow in Batman Begins, and transgender hero Kitten in Breakfast on Pluto. He is also a man of theatre, and has been playing, with overwhelming precision, Birmingham’s troubled gangster Thomas Shelby in British TV show Peaky Blinders for two seasons already.

Cillian Murphy seems to be a discreet man anyway, someone who deeply enjoys talking about music rather than “about acting and the business” as he says it himself. Once singer and guitarist of a rock band, the Irish actor shows a visceral love for music that he uses in his work regularly, and impeccable music tastes which led him to collaborate with the likes of Feist, Money, I Break Horses, Nils Frahm and Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll.

28dayslater-626Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later – Danny Boyle (2002)

How would you describe your relationship with music?
Music is what I wanted to do originally. I wanted to be a musician. I started playing in bands (Sons Of Mr Green Genes – Ed.), and I suppose for me, it was the first way I had of expressing myself creatively through writing songs and performing them. I felt really comfortable onstage. It seemed to be kind of a natural place for me from a very young age.
At that time, I had never, ever thought about acting. It was always about being a musician. I wanted to be a drummer, but then my parents wouldn’t buy me a drum kit, so I got a guitar instead. I didn’t want to sing, I just wanted to play guitar, but because we couldn’t find a singer I said, “Alright, I’ll do the singing(laughs). It ended up happening very gradually like that. And then it got very, very serious when we got offered a record deal…


That same year, I began acting onstage, and it seemed to fill the gap that the music left.


And you turned down this record deal because your brother, who was also in the band, was too young at the time?
Yeah. Which was, in retrospect, I think, the right decision. Just at that time, exactly that same year, I began acting onstage, and it seemed to fill the gap that the music left. Acting has since become the most important thing, I suppose, in terms of expression, but I’m still hugely passionate about music. I listen to it everyday, and it kind of informs my work and who I am, a great deal.

Cillian Murphy – “So New” (Disco Pigs soundtrack)

Was it a nice, maybe smooth transition to go from performing live as a band to performing live in plays?
Yeah, I found it very exciting. I was very lucky because I worked with very good theater-makers from a very early age. And the first professional show I did was a big success – it took off. What I liked about it, though, was that it was just me making the decisions. It wasn’t, like, five guys arguing in a garage trying to decide on who plays the tambourine (laughs). It was just me going, “Okay, I’m going to be in this play.” Obviously, acting is a collaborative process, but it doesn’t involve so much discussion when you want to make a choice, because you just listen to the director.
I also found it very liberating, just disappearing into these characters. And very quickly, it became more important than music. And I must say also that, now, looking back, I think my abilities as a musician are quite limited (laughs). I felt there was only so far I’d be able to go. With acting, it kind of felt like there was a lot more potential there to learn, to improve. That was how the transition kind of happened, and then it just progressed on. Music became a different sort of friend to me, more like a companion than just an inspiration. It sort of changed its role in my life.

Is music something visual for you? Do you have images in your head when you listen to music?
No, for me it’s more about emotions, really. In all art – in books, films, plays or music – I’m really interested in what alters you emotionally, you know? What makes you feel different or reinforces something that you’re feeling. I don’t want to go to a gig or to a film and just come out going, “eh.” I want to feel changed and altered emotionally, and I like the way music can do that.
It’s also – and I’m sure you feel this way, doing what you do – a constant exploration. You find one band and then it turns you on to another band, and then you’re on to another band… It’s like an endless adventure that you’re on all the time and I love that about it. Now it’s so easy these days to just Google stuff. I remember going to the library in Cork city, and having to rent out cassettes. And then copying the cassettes, and all that stuff. I’m not a purist though, I think they’re both good. All this technology is great for sharing, you know.


Music helps me to get into that emotional space that you need to get into for a part.


In an interview you did with English music website Line Of Best Fit two years ago, you said that you use music in your acting all the time. Can you explain how?
In very simple ways, really. I suppose, to expand on what I said earlier, music helps me to get into that emotional space that you need to get into for a part. I will find a song or a number of songs that, I think, will help me get to the place that I need to get to for a scene or for a character. Then I’ll just put them on and they’ll help in the preparation, or they’ll help step into that headspace.
For example, this film that I was doing this summer is set in 1978, so all the cast have put together a Spotify playlist of all tunes from 1978. We just had that music on all the time. We discovered all these amazing tunes, like bands I’d never heard of, and really famous tunes as well.
Then, when I’m doing theater, I might have one song that I listen to just before I go onstage to get me into the space.

Playlist 1978 hits

Do you use music to concentrate?
Yeah, it can be to focus, when it comes to work. But then I use it a lot just to relax as well.


In terms of choices that you make as an actor, I’ve always been much more inspired by musicians than other actors.


Would you say that you use music as a tool, as an actor?
No, I don’t think I use it as a tool. It’s more like a source of inspiration or sort of, something to help me along. And, you know, in terms of choices that you make as an actor, I’ve always been much more inspired by musicians than other actors, in terms of attitude, outlook and just doing the work that you want to do. And trying not to take the easy choices.

That’s interesting, because if you think about it, a lot of musicians are playing a character onstage. So there’s like a big similarity between acting and playing onstage. When you go to a gig, do you sometimes see some kind of acting onstage that you particularly relate to?
Oh, completely. I think it’s different for different bands. Some bands are very, very theatrical, and some bands are not. But there are always elements of performance, particularly for the lead singer. There’s always that element of sort of… going outside yourself. Sometimes, it’s very obvious that the singer is playing a character. And sometimes it’s not.
What I like about live performance – and it’s different in films – is that sort of transcendence, where the performer and the audience kind of click, and all of a sudden they’re outside themselves. It’s really rare and it doesn’t happen that often, but it’s what I chase in theater all the time, and also when I go to a gig. When it’s a really good gig and the music is just surging through you, that’s when it’s special.

Like an epiphany? Yeah, exactly.

A Clockwork Orange at London Arcola Theatre (2012).

I’m going back to when you started acting : you saw A Clockwork Orange (the musical play adapted from the book by Anthony Burgess himself – Ed.) in Cork when you were younger and you said in different interviews that it’s the first play that made a big impression. Do you think it was also because of the big part music plays in it?
I don’t recall if there were songs, if it was like a musical… It certainly had a lot of music in it, because it was set in a very famous nightclub in Cork called Sir Henry’s. They knocked it down but it was a major venue for dance music and and alternative music in general – Nirvana played there back in the day, opening for Sonic Youth. It was such a great club.
They had the play upstairs and it was just dark. There was a DJ and they had all this dry ice, all these guys on stilts, some guys had Mohicans… It was promenade theater, you weren’t just sitting down. The ”droogs” (“friends” in Nadsat, the fictional argot Burgess invented for A Clockwork Orange – Ed.) were kind of like intimidating you and following you around. It was the most exciting thing I’d ever experienced. I couldn’t believe that I was experiencing this thing. And then, I immediately went to the theater company and asked for an audition, but I don’t recall if the music played a special role in impressing me that much.

In the book, the play or in the movie, A Clockwork Orange’s lines have a crazy musicality, mostly because of the slang Burgess used in it. Do you pay attention to the musicality and the rhythm of the lines while reading a script or a play?
Yeah, for sure. It’s really important. In fact, in the first play that I did, called Disco Pigs (by Enda Walsh – Cillian also played in Kirsten Sheridan’s movie, adapted from the play – Ed.), my character was talking in this kind of invented language, a cross between Cork slang and baby-talk. You could probably say that it was inspired by Burgess… And it was very, very musical. Language is the second most important tool you have as an actor, your body being the first, so its musicality is important, yeah.

Cillian’s monologue in Disco Pigs by Kirsten Sheridan (2001)

When you’re learning lines or reading a script for the first time, does the flow of the words sound like a song in your head?
I think everything has a rhythm, but there’s such a huge difference between acting on stage and acting in films. They’re very different disciplines. Beckett has actually famously said that it’s not about meaning, it’s about rhythm. People we’re always asking: “What does this mean in your plays?“. And he said: forget the meaning and think about the rhythm. And he would particularly say that to his actors. It makes a lot of sense, particularly when you’re performing, for some reason, things would just click with another actor, and all of a sudden, you’re in this rhythm together, and it clicks with the audience. It’s not about what the message is. The language is doing the work for you, like a song.

What happens when the flow or the rhythm of a line feels wrong to you? Do you talk to the director about it?
Yeah. This movie I was doing this summer, Free Fire, is directed by Ben Weathley. He’s written it as well so it’d say: “Look, can I just say it in my own words, because it’s not really sitting right in my mouth. Can I just say it this way?” You still deliver the same information, but you’re just doing it in a slightly different way, and he was cool with it. It’s just about trying to find the truth in it. It can never sound false, I guess.

Breakfast on Pluto trailer – Neil Jordan (2005)


I have a problem with biopics in general, musician biopics, because my opinion is always, “Go and listen to the records. They’ll be more interesting than some actor in a terrible wig.”


There’s a common thing, between a lot of the movies you’re in: they’re always linked to music in some way. Either because they’re set in a certain music era, like in Breakfast on Pluto (in which his character evolves in the glam rock scene – Ed.) or Hippie Hippie Shake (film about Richard Neville’s life as the editor-in-chief of famous 60s satyric magazine Oz – Ed.), or because you play, sing or pretend to play in it, like in Disco Pigs, The Edge Of Love (by John Maybury, 2008 – Ed.) or Watching The Detectives. Is it something that particularly attracts you in a movie?
Yes, there has been a bit of that. I can’t help it, I love playing the guitar or sing (laughs). But it has to make sense within the film. So I wouldn’t take a job just to do that. It has to be a good story. I’ve happened to do it in a couple of films, but that wouldn’t be my reason for taking the film.

Cillian Murphy sings “You Really Got Me” in Disco Pigs (2001)

I’ve also been offered a few biopics and musicals in the past. I think I’ve been very careful about choosing those. I have a problem with biopics in general, musician biopics, because my opinion is always, “go and listen to the records. They’ll be more interesting than some actor in a terrible wig(laughs).
For me, watching a Scorsese documentary on George Harrison or Bob Dylan is far more revealing than a proper movie. I think it’s impossible to convey somebody’s whole life in 90 minutes. Maybe if you pick a segment of their life, sometimes it works. But I’ve always been of the opinion that if you listen to the records, or watch a good documentary, it’s better than a fictionalized version of a musician’s life. This tends to be reductive. It never works for me.

Gavin Friday & Cillian Murphy – “Sand” (Breakfast on Pluto soundtrack)

Have you ever seen 24-hour Party People (by Michael Winterbottom, movie released in 2002 which tells the story of Manchester music scene through the life of Tony Wilson, creator of famous Factory Records label – Ed.)? It’s a very hybrid movie between documentary, fiction and mockumentary. What do you think about this way of celebrating music?
Yeah, that worked. Again, I’d be very careful about it, but that is a good example, I think, of one that works. But there’s not a lot of them.

Cillian pretending to be a rockstar in Watching The Detectives by Paul Soter (2007)

What does it take to play a musician for you?
First of all, I think you need to be able to play (laughs) ! I hate when guitar players can’t play or sing. You know who was really good? Oscar Isaac in that Coen Brothers movie (Inside Llewyn Davis, 2013 – Ed.). He really played and sang. I thought he was brilliant in that film. I think that’s essentially what you need to know about music to play a musician.

peakyblinders-626Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders (2013)


In that scene at the end of Sunshine, where the sun is coming towards them and it’s like ecstatic and weird (…), we were listening to a lot of Sigur Ros and really intense classical music insanely loud to try to get that feeling of what that might be like.


Going back to what you were saying about having a playlist on Spotify on set this summer, does that kind of playlist also help you build your character’s background, or see the world as he sees it?
Again, it’s more about the feelings, more about the way these songs make you feel. And then using that. In that scene at the end of Sunshine where the sun is coming towards them and it’s like ecstatic and weird, when Robert (the character he plays – Ed.) knows he’s going to die, but actually thinks it’s like some communion with nature, Danny (Boyle – Ed.) was like: “We’ve got to find the most euphoric music to shoot this !” So we were listening to a lot of Sigur Rós and really intense classical music insanely loud to try to get that feeling of what that might be like. That’s how I try to, or how our directors will try to use music.

Sunshine ending scene (2007)


I don’t really like when there’s music all over a film. Then it’s telling you how to feel.


You’ve acted in movies with great scores – Sunshine, Inception, Broken or Tron: Legacy (by Joseph Kosinski, 2010 – Ed.). Do you pay attention to scores when you sign in for a movie?
It’s the director’s call, who’s going to score the film. But I’m always really excited when it’s somebody that I like. I mean I’m a huge Blur fan, so I thought that was amazing that Damon Albarn did the music for Broken. And I love Daft Punk (who did Tron: Legacy soundtrack – Ed.).

Broken soundtrack – Rufus Norris (2012)

I think the directors need to know how to use music correctly, though. I don’t really like when there’s music all over a film. Then it’s telling you how to feel. I don’t really like that.
I do this TV show called Peaky Blinders (which tells the story of a family gang in Birmingham – Ed.). It’s set in the 1920s in Britain. I remember when they told me they were going to use contemporary music on it – The White Stripes, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Arctic Monkeys, The Kills : I was like “No! You can’t put contemporary music on period!(laughs). But then I watched it, and it works. It really really works.

Peaky Blinders soundtrack, seasons 1 et 2

Would you say that this contemporary music helps connect the audience to the show and break the historical barrier?
Yeah, I think you’re probably right. It probably does help. What also helps is the fact that these characters are quite outlaw characters, and the music that the directors have put in it is kind of outlaw, rock’n'roll stuff too, particularly in the second season. I was really happy with the music in that, because it was more like PJ Harvey.

Peaky Blinders season 1 trailer 

You actually brought Flood (producer of PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, Depeche Mode records, amongst others – Ed.) on board for the soundtrack of the second season, right ?
Yeah, Flood is a good friend of mine. The director (Colm McCarthy – Ed.) loves PJ Harvey, so I said I could maybe ask him. I did, and then he asked Polly, and she said she’d loved to do it, so that’s kind of how it came about (laughs). It’s lovely when that happens.

So you got kind of involved in the soundtrack in some way?
Well, I helped put them together, yeah, which was nice. And, you know, it got to be PJ Harvey, which was pretty cool. I thought that having a female voice on the second season was really nice as well, because it’s such a brutal show in many ways. I think the contrast does work.

PJ Harvey“When Under Ether”, featuring in a Peaky Blinders episode

Did you adjust your acting once you knew Peaky Blinders was going to feature contemporary music? Or is it something that you don’t pay attention to?
The latter. That’s all to do with the edit. You have to find the truth in the character onscreen, and then trust the director to cut it, and trust whoever’s doing the score to put it right. In the second season, “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave became the team track, so that was always sort of a mood. But I’d have to leave that to the director for the cut, really.

“Red Right Hands” by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in Peaky Blinders

So you didn’t adapt your horse riding to Nick Cave’s song (laughs) ?
No! (He laughs) Because you don’t really know what the opening scene credits are going to be, you know? It would be probably a little risky to start thinking like, I’m going to walk in a certain manner so it’ll suit the song.

breakfastonpluto-626 Cillian Murphy in Breakfast on Pluto

Do the emotions you get from a script translate into music in your head? Have you ever thought “oh, that scene would go so well with this song” while reading a script?
I’m constantly going around listening to songs and going “Oh wow, that would be such a great song for a soundtrack“, or “Whenever I direct or write my own film, I’m going to ask this guy to do a soundtrack” or “Wouldn’t that be amazing over this element“. I’m always thinking about it like that, but when I read a script, first, I try to concentrate on if the story makes sense. The music stuff comes later.


I have all Nils Frahm’s albums.


Is there someone you’d ask to do a soundtrack for you?
Yeah, he’s just actually done one now (Victoria soundtrack, by Sebastian Schipper, released this year – Ed.), so I didn’t get him in time, but Nils Frahm.

We know Nils very well here at Blogothèque! We filmed him for one of our Pocket Parties a while ago. Have you guys ever met?
I’ve been communicating with him over email. I’ve never actually met him but I interviewed him for a magazine. He did a Late Night Tales compilation, and I’m doing the spoken word on it, at the end, written by my friend Enda Walsh. I’ve never seen him live. I just missed him in Dublin. I’ve missed him so many times through work, which is really frustrating, but hopefully, in the future, I will see him live. I have all his albums. He’s really, really special.

It’s not the first time you’ve collaborated with a musician. You got involved in Orbital’s Paul Hartnoll new project, 8:58 – you talk on some of his songs, right? How did this go?
Paul just sent me this piece of text while I was shooting. I didn’t hear the music, he just sent me the text, so I recorded it into my iPhone (laughs) and sent it back as a sort of a demo to say “Look, do you want it like this?” Him and Flood, who produced that record as well, said “We love it, we’re going to put it on!” So it’s just a recording on an iPhone, which is kind of great. Again, I love the way technology can do that nowadays. I just picked a mood for it. Paul wanted it kind of slightly ominous, you know. So it was really quick. And then he cut the song around it, or kind of edited the song around it. I love it because it’s like an old school Orbital dance song. It makes you want to dance.

You were also featured in one of his music videos, “The Clock”. How is acting in a music video different than acting in a movie or a play?
I did a couple of music videos. I did one with Feist for her song “The Water” a few years ago (Cillian also appears briefly in I Break Horses’ “Winter Beats” music video – Ed.) but that was very different. Paul had this idea, and we shot it in one day. There was a lot of silly dancing involved, and I always love dressing up, so it was a bit of fun. I loved Orbital growing up, and I like doing things like that, when you’re friends. Nobody’s doing it to make any money. It’s just about making this little tiny piece to go with this song, and it’s just people who both like each other’s work. We just had a bit of fun and he’s a friend of mine, and I really liked it.

8:58 – “The Clock” music video, feat. Cillian Murphy (2015)


I have a long history of trying to make friends with musicians, because I’m just like a groupie.


“The Water” must have been a very special experience because it’s not a classic music video: it was directed by a musician, Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew, and it’s surprisingly about the absence of music as half of it is silent. How was it to be involved in this video?
Well, the story of that is… (he bursts into laughter). I have a long history of trying to make friends with musicians, because I’m just like a groupie (laughs). Kevin Drew interviewed me for some magazine. I’m a huge fan of Broken Social Scene music, so then, we just became friends. I used to go and see their shows, and we’d meet up after. That’s how I met Leslie, when she was playing with them.
Kevin had this idea for that song. He called me so I just flew to Canada and we shot it. It was kind of a film to accompany the song. It was not really like your classic music video. We had a lovely time out in the snow, shooting it. Kevin is a really good director. He should make a feature film, because he’s that talented. He has all these fantastic stories in his head. He’ll sit you down, drink a bottle of wine, and he’ll just tell you all these different films, scene after scene after scene. He’s a really smart guy. People just didn’t know what to make of this video I guess, because not much happened in it. I think that’s a really beautiful little film.

Feist – “The Water”, feat. Cillian Murphy (2009)

Did you listen to the song a lot before shooting this?
Yeah, I did. We also listened to it a lot while we were shooting, and we listened to other music as well, like Brian McBride. We were in the woods, in the snow, Kevin had his little boombox, and we were playing this really kind of sad Brian McBride music while we were shooting the scene in which the mother and the son say goodbye to each other. You can’t do that while shooting a film, but the great thing about a music video is there’s never any sound.

When The Detail Lost Its Freedom - Brian McBride (2005)


Generally, I don’t like music videos when the band are in them.


And then you went on the other side of the camera to direct Money’s music video, “Hold Me Forever”. Why did this band and this song in particular attract you as a director?
I’ve always wanted to direct a music video. And I was telling that to Simon (Raymonde, founder of Money’s label, Bella Union – Ed.), but I was like, it has to be the right song. Because if I don’t feel strongly enough about it then I don’t want to invest all this time and effort into it. He sent me “Hold Me Forever” and he said : “Well I think you might like this one” This song is so emotional. It blew me away. I couldn’t stop listening to it. So I said “Absolutely, let’s do it” I met Jamie (Lee, Money’s leader – Ed.) and we really got on. I didn’t have an idea at the time, but then I just kept listening to the song, and all of a sudden, I thought about ballet dancers, which is funny because I had never been to the ballet at that time (laughs). I’ve gone since, but I just thought it would be really nice. I called Jamie, and he said he really liked the idea.
Generally I don’t like music videos when the band are in them. I think it’s much more interesting when they’re not. Or if the band are in them, I like when they’re not playing, when they’re actually doing something else. I don’t generally like narrative music videos either. I think it’s better if they’re just images, but that’s just sort of my personal preference.
Anyway, so that’s kind of how it came about. I loved directing this video. I loved going and renting the truck, picking up the cameras, the lights, getting everyone to work for free, going to the edit and going to the grade – all of those things that you never get to see as an actor, because you just turn up, learn your lines, say them, and then go home to your hotel. It was very different.

For me, Money’s songs are both really powerful and intimate at the same time. Was the fact that you chose to film dancers in close-ups a way to recreate the two sides of Money’s music?
Well, I wish I had thought of that (laughs). It makes a lot of sense. I suppose the music was speaking to me like that. When you look at these ballet dancers, they’re so unbelievably strong, but at the same time, they’re so fragile, so small and so delicate. I was fascinated by that. I love close-ups in film. I think it’s so powerful. I can watch close-ups for hours – if you put the camera close up to someone, you can just watch them think or move. I find it really stunning. I’m not really interested in a wide shot, I don’t know why. So it just seemed to work for the song: it’s very much about yearning and longing – I think you get that a lot in performances as well. The song is about reaching for something, and I felt that we’d try and convey that in the dancers. They’re reaching for this kind of perfection, but their bodies are always limiting them, to what they can really achieve.

As a director, did you see the movements of the camera as a kind of dance? Like, it had to have rhythm, just like in ballet?
Yeah, it was very interesting. I wanted the camera to be moving all the time. And then I thought it was very important to cut it with the song, but not like obviously to the song. Do you know what I mean?

Yeah. Why was that important to you?
Because it shouldn’t be sign-posted or telegraphed. You should let the audience or whoever’s watching it feel it for themselves. You shouldn’t cut straight away on a beat, but to cut off the beat, I think is important.

Would you do it again?
Yeah, I would do it again. I haven’t been asked (laughs)!

You should do one of our Take Away Shows! We won’t pay you either and we’ll let you rent the truck and edit the video yourself (laughs)! Well, you never know! Again, it has to be something that I absolutely adore. And then, you have to be able to get on with the band. So yeah, I would like to do it, but the thing is that it takes a lot of time, organizing it.

Is there a particular music video that made a big impression on you?
Oh, yeah, so many. Actually, I think I did a playlist for that Line of Best Fit interview with “Coffee & TV” by Blur, “Lotus Flower” by Radiohead. I love this one in which Thom Yorke is dancing.

Five of Cillian’s favourite music videos for Line Of Best Fit

Apart from Sigur Ros during the Sunshine shoot, is there a band or a song that you keep going back to and that is linked to a particular movie you did?
It really depends. I love certain albums that remind me of certain films. I kind of curate them for each project. Each has a different playlist or radio station that I make up, so it changes. Recently, I’ve been listening a lot to this Irish band, The Frames, that I used to love growing up. I hadn’t listened to them for a long time. Their songs are really powerful, and it really snaps me back to being 25 again. I like to do that with albums you haven’t listened to for a long time. Then you come back and realize why you loved them in the first place.

inception-626Cillian Murphy dans Inception de Christopher Nolan (2010)


Danny Boyle got Godspeed You! Black Emperor to play the opening sequence in 28 Days Later.


This is going to be my last question : Who would you suggest that I should interview next?
If you could get Danny Boyle, he would be great to talk to. He’s one of the guys that I’ve worked with that is unbelievable passionate about music. If you think about the Trainspotting soundtrack and how he used music there… And Danny got Godspeed You! Black Emperor to play the opening sequence in 28 Days Later ! Those guys had never been on a soundtrack before. It was the only time they ever allowed their music to be on a film.
I just saw them play in Dublin a few months ago and they were unbelievable. Five guitarists, two bass players, two drummers… It was a wave, a tsunami of sound. It was beautiful. And they played the track from 28 Days Later (“East Hastings – Ed.) at the start. This film is very special to me. I haven’t watched it in ten years so hearing that track live brought me back. It reminded me how powerful their music is. And then I met them afterward – they were cool guys.
Going back to Danny, he’s got such a brilliant ear for music. He’s made quite a few iconic scenes in cinema, through music. People will never forget Trainspotting. It’s never got old. The last time I watched it, it didn’t seem dated to me at all. It seemed really fresh. So yeah, try to speak to Danny, he’s a busy man but he loves talking about music.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 28 Days Later opening scene


Cillian Murphy will be starring in Matthew Joy new film In The Heart of the Sea on December, 9th, 2015, as well as in Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, Jozef Gabčík’s Anthropoid, and Peaky Blinders season 3, all expected for 2016.

You can also listen to the mixtape he just did on Fractured Air website for Sounds From A Safe Harbour Festival, curated by The National’s Bryce Dessner (his previous mixtapes are here and here.)

Transcript: Lauren “awesome” McCracken.

Very special thanks to Craig Bankey for his precious help.

And a big thank you to photographer Richard Gilligan who kindly allowed us to use his beautiful shot of Cillian at the beginning of this article. Go see his amazing work on his website:

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Juan Wauters Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:46:56 +0000 Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Juan(s) Show!

Last December, Juan Wauters and his accomplice Tall Juan didn’t simply show up and play a couple songs from their upcoming album.

Lost in the middle of the enormous Place de l’Étoile (filming in front of the Arc de Triomphe was like their dream come true), windswept and drenched by the rain, we were in a bit of a tête-à-tête: Juan Wauters – defying every unspoken rule of the very dogma of the Take Away Show – directly addresses his audience, dedicates his songs (with a quick history lesson) and graces the camera a thousand times with direct eye contact and coquettish dance moves.

The subtle cinema of this colorfully-clothed Uruguayan obviously does nothing to diminish his songs – anti-folk, simple and direct, making his character even more endearing.

Tourists who braved the element that day weren’t mistaken, by the way – the carefree Juans were knighted and appear today in the vacation photo albums of at least 55 very enthusiastic Chinese tourists.


Translated from French by Lauren “Awesome” McCracken.

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The Districts, again Fri, 25 Sep 2015 10:30:20 +0000 It’s the story of the kind of meandering stroll we know so well here at Blogo: a walk across the city and its nooks, during which the goal is to find a place in which a band can play a song for us to film. It requires a workable setting, in terms of image and sound, that also reduces as much as possible the risk of being thrown out forcibly by any security personnel before finishing the take.

This was by no means the case for the spot where we decided to film this third video of The Districts, whose merits we’ve already praised at length with the release of their first two Take Away Shows.

What got into us as we passed this bridge, home to two tram lines which sit only feet apart? Don’t ask me. Let’s just say that we wanted to film in a place as unique and unpredictable as the song at hand, and that we found it.

I’ve already explained it here: The Districts are a band unlike the others, and “Long Distance” isn’t formatted like any 3:30 rock hit. Its strength is in its duration – a long, unexpected break which seems like it never wants to stop. There’s a calm after the storm, and it lets us come back down slowly, leaving behind us the tension accumulated at the piece’s beginning.

It all happened very quickly but also, weirdly, very slowly – shooting on this median strip, a platform of only a few square meters, for more than six minutes. It was a strange sight. The beginning of a sunset that didn’t really want to come out from behind the clouds. Trams passing in both directions as stunned passengers wondered what exactly we were making, perched on this lucky piece of concrete. The vibrant intensity of Rob’s voice. That little bit of panic in his eyes.

At the end of the take, a passerby asked us for a cigarette. We had just enough time to give him one before four RATP agents appeared, angry and dumfounded that we had not considered the danger of our location (and of the nearby power lines). They scolded us as the irresponsible children we were, momentarily reverted thanks to this group of guys – barely legal but with talent beyond their years.


Translate from French by Lauren McCracken.

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Take Away Uganda : The Polyphonic Spree & The Very Best Wed, 23 Sep 2015 09:03:17 +0000 We’ve all had a life experience where we were so moved that we immediately tried to translate it into words for our loved ones, an exercise in futility hoping to relay some small glimpse of what we felt by defaulting to grandiose adjectives like “amazing” and “community” and “UN-believable.” Words that could be more appropriately replaced with “indescribable.” We do this in hopes of placing the magic we experienced into the hearts of our loved ones who weren’t there to experience it with us.

When we traveled to Uganda a few years ago with The Polyphonic Spree and The Very Best it was one of those trips: indescribable. Luckily, where words fail, Blogo prevails and we have this time capsule to share with you all.

The intention of this film was to create a collaborative musical mosaic of moments in a time and a place where being free of fear is a new reality not taken for granted and worth celebrating.

The contributors were from all over the world: a heart-forward quasi-family of Texans, a Swedish DJ, a Malawian singer, a half-Kenyan-Nigerian-born-raised in Holland/England/Ecuador guitar player, a pair of French artists, some Americans and of course our incredible Ugandan hosts and musicians.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this film possible, especially our beloved Ugandan father, Janani Norman Okot who performs at the beginning of this film and has since passed on.

If you’d like to support organizations in the region please look into the following:

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Weyes Blood Tue, 22 Sep 2015 12:26:02 +0000

Natalie Mering is in love with a dead man, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.

Before the weather (thankfully) changed suit in the direction of fall, and as the stars aligned to allow Mary Lattimore temporary passage to a remote part of New York City, deep into the furthest climes of Rockaway Beach, the three of us courted sunset in the company of a long decomposed corpse named “Robert” to set a soul to peace eulogized with the comfort and clarity of the songs of Weyes Blood.

“Bad Magic” to animate the bones and set them to waltzing in the surf… “Cardamom” as a rare material in the alchemy.

“The blind see through me,

see through me.”

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Leon Bridges – River Wed, 08 Jul 2015 14:36:33 +0000 It’s one of the Paris neighborhoods where tourism is sacred, where everything else is contingent upon it. Notre Dame, its tourists and cops both on foot, its cathedral and bike cops, its overpriced bistros and Segway cops, all there to interrupt the slightest burst of life, to suspect anyone who is not in the middle of taking a selfie.

We’ll keep the rest of that story for later (the cops were very wary of a soul singer). We first choose to show you the reward. We spoke with three frustrated musicians, forced by the police to put away their instruments. We got rejected by four bistros who were reluctant to host some musicians on their terrace. One of them finally said yes. We were under the trees, it was a beautiful day, but the environment was heavy. Until Leon sang ‘River.’


We watched him earlier that day humming to himself as he took small dance steps on historic bridges, using his whole body to serve his groove: Leon does not play, he has the soul of a child, he is a child of soul, he is swept away by his songs, he is their puppet. There, again: he was sitting at a bistro table, and just as he began to sing, his eyes were no longer focused. He was no longer there, and we were left with his peaceful gospel, the old trees around us, and the wind rustling in the leaves. What’s nice is that Paris, until then unwilling to let us play, was suddenly welcoming and open to us. That’s not easy to come by.


Translated by Dylan Hofstetter

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Darkside: the live DVD recorded in Nantes Tue, 30 Jun 2015 16:03:46 +0000 It was March 21, 2014. Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington, together under the name Darkside, appeared on the Stereolux stage in Nantes as part of their tour that would finish six months later in New York. 

They were concentrated. They had their eyes fixed on their machines and pedals. There was a packed crowd. There were crazy light shows and graphics. And there was, of course, fire under the ice, both haunting and carnal songs from Psychic that seemed to be, like on the album, sensual, erotic, lustful and a loss of control.

We were lucky enough to film this show, and today with great pride we announce the live DVD of Psychic is available on Darkside’s new website (which also offers cool t-shirts and tour posters). You can also stream the video via the site Qello. Hurry up, there are only 1,000 copies available.

We’re also taking advantage of this announcement to thank the entire Darkside team, Jake, Nico, Dave, Arte Concert and TV Nantes for whom we filmed this show, Stereolux who graciously hosted us, and of course, our sound and film team who, once again, accomplished an incredible work for which we are very happy to share with you.


Translated by Dylan Hofstetter

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FFS live at the Bataclan Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:54:40 +0000 FFS, or Franz Ferdinand + Sparks, the crazy Scottish showmen that need no introduction, have channelled a 1970′s California psychedelic vibe into a crazy album and tour that passes through Paris this Friday.

The good news is that we will have our cameras ready at the Bataclan on June 26th to film and broadcast, through Arte Concert, the supergroup concert titled “Piss Off” (we’ve been listening to it on repeat for weeks).

See you Friday night to watch FFS live. And danse in your living room.


Translated by Dylan Hofstetter

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Adrian Crowley Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:26:21 +0000 The streets of Belleville gently awaken. It is cold, the sun shows itself on the facades and makes us squint our still tired eyes. At the bottom of the corridor of the Palais du Commerce, just above the silent Java café, the large glass window radiates. In a handful of arpeggios, Adrian moved before our eyes through the arcades of the Starlight Hotel. A voice that has thickened throughout his albums guides us slowly through room after room, until the opposite wall where the street takes over and business resumes. A few minutes later, in the hall, the singer sits on a chair to tell us our fortunes. All those who listen know he sees the truth, and that each of his premonitions will be confirmed in the coming weeks.


For over fifteen years Adrian Crowley has shaped his songs without a career plan, without a media strategy, while never revealing anything. His last album, released by Chemikal Underground, featured haunting strings with brass and choirs that envelop the singer’s voice without ever affecting the simplicity and elegancy of interpretation. You can understand Adrian has little to envy of more well known artists simply by watching this fresh February morning for yourself. You’ll be surprised he is not more well known outside his circle of loyal fans.

Translated by Dylan Hofstetter

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ALB – The VidéoMusical Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:20:33 +0000 ALB’s real name is Clément. And Clément is wild. Clément is a whirlpool, a flood of energy, of ideas. This is felt in his playful music, which hops between genres. One could see this by watching his clips (one which will invade your computer), a fact confirmed when we embarked on his VidéoMusical.

We will invade the market!
It would be cool to record the video with some friends on a roof…
I know a chapel where we could play.
Or maybe take over a restaurant ?
I have access to a football stadium, where it would be cool to record the song !
Oh, wait, with fanfare and choirs, the video would be nice on a lawn.
It would be great to film that with a drone!
Wait, we could go sing karaoke. Better yet, I’ll save my own karaoke song and sing over at the Curt’N Club…


Well, we did everything together. It was a great adventure, filmed as if we were in another time. A carefree time.

Translated by Dylan Hofstetter

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