Director Ben Campbell’s sharp new action short may be complete, but you can’t watch it. Not yet. But you’re going to want to once you hear the film’s theme from Momo.
Filmed in the summer of 2014, Rampage Studios’ latest production had its premier in a little basement cinema in the heart of London at the start of February this year, but the private screening is sadly much in advance of its general online releaase, as the film’s composer, Timo Peach explains.
“It’s a film festival thing. They get terribly snooty about their applicants sharing their films before the festivals’ own dates. So we’re all having to sit on it before we can share it” he says. A constraint that’s frustrating he clearly feels, because it was a great opportunity to write music for.
“It’s an action short. There’s almost no dialogue – it’s all visual dynamic. And I had an absolute blast doing this with Ben” grins Momo.
With a friendship and creative collaboration going back almost a decade now, Ben Campbell and Mr Peach have worked on all manner of projects together before and since Hero – from TV productions, to corporate films and other shorts.
“He’s commissioned me, I’ve commissioned him, we’ve helped each other out and abused each other’s talents all with the hope of making some top creative fun,” says Timo. “Ben created the brilliant worlds of two of Momo:tempo’s music videos, Undo and Conspiracy, which everyone loves. But he’s also enabled me to write so much of my favourite screen music – including scores to short films that produced pieces that Amigos would know from the last LP! Up in the party was written for and samples Ben’s short Sign Language and the massive funk stomper Disfunkshun is actually the theme from his film The Audition.”
An interesting reference, for The Audition is actually a sort of prequel to Hero. Campbell reassembled the cast of his post-college action short to make this new one, almost eight years later.
“There was only the most modest of hairline changes here and there” smiles Momo. “Everyone is still in great shape for a demanding shoot, as you’ll see.”
Writing for this and for a friend proved a lucky combination for Mr Peach, as Campbell gave him some definite Momo leeway – but only so far.
“Ben is like most of my favourite creative buddies, a joy to work with but knows what he wants. A decent creative is going to have a vision for what they’re doing, not be too loose in their brief; the trick to successing it out together is giving in the right way to bring the best out of each other’s talents suitably for the piece at hand. Benny let me turn the score to Hero into a splendid hybrid of classic 70s thriller and more unnerving electronica. He let me do something full-square in the zone for Momo, especially at the moment. I almost put the theme on the new LP! Sadly, there wasn’t room.”
With a budget that couldn’t exactly cover an orchestra, Momo turned to long-time collaborator Pete Whitfield to perform the all important cat-guttery of the score, writing minimal two- and three-part violin arrangements for a dirtier, more ‘warehousey’ production context.
“From the opening shots of the main location, it seemed to me we needed a subtle sense of illegal rave about some of the sound of this,” says Momo, “but I also really very much wanted a nod to classic classy 70s action films and cop shows. So it was a joy to jump between the synths and the often very exposed strings of Pete’s. I just love the end effect, and the challenge of doing such tightly to-picture sequences with him. He’s done a skillfully versatile performance as ever.”
And then there’s that theme.
“When the film does come out, I shall do an extending mix of it. But for now, the cut for the film is still a wonderful wonderful showcase for Pat Hayes, Barney Lowe and Jonny Griffiths’ lightning brass session back in the late summer, as well as Mr Simon Mellish’s additional splendid Mission Impossible-style congas and bongos. I am very happy indeed that Ben’s let me put it out there ahead of the film now” he grins.
“But I can’t wait to share the whole film with people. It’s a very un-film festivally fun thing that Ben and the team have done an amazing job of styling up and the premier party was a fab time meeting those faces I’d often only seen on a screen in my studio.”
“And I defy you to watch it to the end and not wish it was all a trailer for a whole TV show!” Momo winks.
HERO WILL BE RELEASED LATER IN 2014.