Eternal Something (UK | 2017, 21 min)

Directed by: Daniel Brandt

Eternal Something is an experimental music film comprised of hundreds of Youtube videos downloaded and composed over the period of one year. The idea is to capture the anxious reaction we all feel from too much freely available information at our fingertips, especially from use and accessibility of information on social media in our current generation. It doesn't allow us peace and restrain, because we can't disconnect, and so we're constantly engaging and on tenterhooks and highlights the dark and negative aspects of technology and with it, humanity's influence on society. The film is based on the music of Daniel Brandt’s album under the same name released in 2017 on Erased Tapes Records and is narrated by Canadian poet Beaver Sheppard.

Interview:

An Interview with Daniel Brandt, director of “Eternal Something,” conducted by Caleb Dawdy, Curator of Art & Experimental Film

CD: To start, I’d like to ask what your first major experience with filmmaking was, and if “Eternal Something” is that occasion, what about this music inspired your desire to pair it with imagery in this way?

DB: I studied film directing at the Academy Of Media Arts, Cologne from 2005 until 2011, shot lots of music videos during that time, and graduated with a 30 minute short film called “Soapland“. During the time at the Academy I also started a music project called Brandt Brauer Frick with Jan Brauer and Paul Frick which took over most of my time--touring and releasing 4 albums since then. I also shot a lot of music videos during that time but basically “Eternal Something“ was the first time I went back to making a kind of short film, and not only a video for a certain song.

CD: The format of your film is both engaging, and relatively familiar in that we are all so used to information delivery at frenetic speed like this. Was this form of storytelling inspired by your own score, or were you always looking to tell this story and created the music subsequently? How did this process begin?

DB: When I finished recording the album for "Eternal Something“ I had the idea to make a film only with footage I could find on Youtube and tried out a few short edits with some material and felt it worked well with the music. Then I went into downloading tons of footage and started to create the film. The storytelling was mainly created through the footage I found and I kept on having new leads to more footage and it became a kind of organic process.

CD: The editing of this film is certainly crucial to its success. In broad terms, what was the labor involved in gathering these clips and how long did that take?

DB: It took me a year to create the film. Most of the time went into researching, downloading and filing all the clips. The first version of the film was around 60 minutes long and I wanted to cut it down a lot which was a hard process as I needed to get rid of a lot of material that I really liked.

CD: How did you decide on the layering and organization of your material?

DB: First, I organized the material in folders with the best parts already cut out so it was easier to include them. I then created certain sub- and head-chapters and arranged the film from there.

CD: What are your major influences in the world of music?

DB: It’s hard to pin down to a few influences, I am generally influenced by a broad range of different musical styles. When it comes to my own music, my major influences are probably American Minimal Music of the 60s and 70s, Detroit Techno, Jazz, and Indie-Rock.

CD: And again, what are your major influences in the world of film?

DB: My favorite directors are Jean-Luc Godard, Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick and David Lynch.

CD: What were the largest hurdles your found yourself up against when making this piece? Were there any “accidents” that worked in your favor?

DB: Very often it was hard to find exactly the material I was looking for. I was looking for certain footage that I needed for the story but couldn’t find it with the obvious keywords in the search engine so I needed to spend a lot of time to work around this. Definitely some helpful accidents happened along the way, especially finding material I hadn’t thought of by looking for something completely different.

CD: What is it you hope to convey to your audiences when showing this film? Is it a certain message, or perhaps just an emotion?

DB: For me it’s mainly about the craziness and the contradictions of the world we live in today. But I am sure that everyone who watches it will find their own perspective within the film. It’s the inner attitude of every viewer that adds to the film--it influences the viewing experience in different ways.

CD: Could you tell us of any work you’re producing that we can keep our eyes open for?

DB: Last year I started an online TV channel called STRRR (www.strrr.tv ) where international artists, musicians, filmmakers, curators, etc., are showcasing and talking about their favorite clips of the web within one hour long episodes. It’s somewhat connected to “Eternal Something” as the foundation is again Youtube material but this time organized in a different way. So far we had people like director Ana Lily Amirpour, BBC radio host Gilles Peterson and Serpentine Gallery curator Hans Ulrich Obrist doing shows for us.