I first met Ben Tallamy a few years ago which firstly I began to discover his film work, whether that was music videos, short films and full length features.
What struck me though looking at Ben’s website was just how multi-talented Ben is, for which Ben is also an accomplished songwriter, musician, director and great in compositing for special effects .
Ben’s latest song/music video for his song To You, We Surrender was made with and stars a host of creative talent from across the South West, which I thought it would be a great opportunity with the new single / videos release, to find out more about Ben’s creative process, influences and you bring a music creative vision to screen.
Over to you Ben :-
JT: Tell us about your new single and how you came up for the concept for the video?
BT: To You, We Surrender is a song about my process as a writer. Musically it felt to me as though it was the lovechild of my last two singles, The Teignmouth Electron and Nettles And Roses.
The piece is full of juxtaposition â€“ the lyrics state the unimportance of the narrator and plead with the listener to see him as someone of little importance but the music and video have a grandeur which contradicts that statement.
In my mind the video would always start as it did â€“ an idealised version of the songwriter at work. I wanted the narrative to be circular but by the time we get to the end, we learn that even the typewriter he works on is little more than a prop. The cast and crew have no respect for him. He owns nothing.
I was actually influenced by the Friday I’m In Love video â€“ it has this theatrical decadence to it but I wanted to subvert that somehow. I think it’s fun to undermine the notion of the thing you’re working at, in this case the music video. When you think about what a music video is, it’s actually totally absurd. Therein lies the joy.
JT: What was the greatest challenge in making the music video?
BT: Every project presents its own problems but in this case it was more of the logistics of the project as a whole. Everything was connected and the shots had to maintain a clear narrative. There would be no reshoots and everything had to be captured in one day. When things are difficult, magic can happen.
JT: Were there any influences in the overall design of the film?
BT: There’s a video by The Mountain Goats for a song called Sax Rohmer #1. It’s a very clever video in that it emulates a single take but remembers that perfection exists in imperfection â€“ we feel the camera and know the space but it is full of trickery and changes shape constantly. I loved the feel of it.
I’ve worked on several projects with everyone but it was very important to me that people had a nice time and had fun.
The team started out as a core group, Amy Eden, Dom Lee, Duke Palmer and Chris Williams. I knew them all very well and trusted them entirely. We all threw in little tweaks and twists in the month before so the concept was clear and fully formed.
On the day we had the help of a few more extra hands and it would have been impossible without them, Neil Ewins, Rhys Denton, Simon Tytherleigh, Andy Robinson and Alex White were all invaluable. Together they made the improbable probable.
JT: Tell us about the location and why you chose it?
BT: The venue was chosen for a number of reasons. It was in an incredibly convenient location for starters. The main requirements were space and the need to control light levels. As it was a theatre, the room could be blacked out entirely which was perfect for us and the hall had enough volume for us to be able to get our wider shots as well as the drone.
JT: In your creative process does the film influence the music or the music influence the film?
BT: I don’t see the need to do a music video just for the sake of doing it. I’m a very visual person and more often than not there is some sort of cinematic concept to my music. That being said though, I work from the notion of the song as a whole, so unless i feel the video is an organic evolution of that, it isn’t going to exist at all.
JT: What next for the single?
BT: As always, I will endeavour to try and connect my music to a wider audience, so the press release will do the rounds. It’s always a balance between time and money though. The music that gets released is only ever about 1% of what I’ve been writing. I’d love to play live more and be able to lay down more tracks in the studio, but I’ve never been blessed with an abundance of money. For now though, I’m just encouraged whenever I hear my music resonates with anyone.
JT: Any advice for someone thinking of getting into music or film?
BT: Learn to love the process. Goals are important but it’s the journey which tempers the artist. Find the joy in failure and relish the chaos that exists when we try to do something incredible. Setbacks are a necessary part of the process and when we begin to understand that, we can let go of the frustration and doubt that occurs when things don’t go according to plan.
JT: Any other creative projects you working on?
BT: I’m actually directing a short film next month set entirely on a yacht. There’s a lot of variables which will make it a challenge but I’m looking forward to the process and I’m working with some amazing people. After that, who knows but I’m still indefatigable when it comes to my work and there’s always something new that I want to explore.
JT: Where can we find out more?
BT: As always, it’s easy to find out more via my website: www.bentallamy.com. I’m on the usual social media networks too and am always happy to hear from people.
JT: Thanks for your time Ben. Good luck with your new single and forthcoming short film.
top image: Bringing a music creative vision to screen To You, We Surrender. Courtesy of Amy Eden
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