Friday, March 30, 2012

Meet the Film Composer: Matthew Carefully

This Sunday, April 1, the Saratoga Film Forum will screen the documentary Brunswick. Joining us will be both director Nate Simms, as well as Matthew Carefully, a local multi-instrumentalist who composed the music for the film. He will be playing selections from the soundtrack on Sunday. The Film Forum spoke with Mr. Carefully via e-mail about his participation in the film.

What is your background? Have you scored other films?

Music has been my main focus my entire life. The creation of, the listening to, the complete immersion in, the dependence on music. I’ve done everything from touring Russia playing drums in a jazz band to sleeping on couches across the U.S. as a mandolinist with The Kamikaze Hearts. Brunswick is my first full-movie soundtrack, though I have made music for trailers, Web series, and more. I had a great time making this soundtrack, am very proud of it and look forward to making more music for film in the future.

What are some of your other projects?

Currently, I’m working on a debut album for this instrumental acoustic guitar duo with Hunter Sagehorn (from the band Alta Mira) called Rosary Beard. This album should be out in early May and I am very excited about it. We’ve been working on the music for a few years now and are happy to finally be sharing our songs in recorded form.

I’m also working on recordings and some possible live performances with David Greenberger. He’s the wily gent behind the Duplex Planet zine and culture series over the past few decades. Our project is a band called “David Greenberger & A Strong Dog” which features local musicians Kevin Maul on guitars and Mitch Throop on guitars as well. I’m playing a floor tom and a garage sale Casio keyboard. Our first local performance will be at the Saratoga Arts Fest this June.

How would you describe your music?

I call my music “bedroom pop” primarily because most of my recording occurs in what could be used as a bedroom. There are more layers to that—many of my best ideas come from that half-asleep/half-awake time before and after drifting off; “pop” used as a reference to memorable, repeatable sections of music.

How did you get involved with Nate Simms and the film?

Nate and I found each other five years ago; he was already engaged with this movie project and I was eager to work on a project like this. Even just a one sentence description of the project was enough to get me signed up. The subject matter and the imagery easily evoked sounds and music for me—a great match. The editing and finishing of the film took quite a long time, so as it went, I’d share bits of music I was working on as Nate would show me sections of cuts he had been working on. I think we worked well together and I look forward to seeing where this project flies off to.

The theme of the film is that Brunswick is trying to balance economic development with retaining its essential rural character. Is there anything you’d add to that?

I’d add a dose of community/family drama to the mix as the issues you mention are illustrated in the movie by the story of farmer Sanford Bonesteel and the fate of his farmland in Brunswick. I think the movie begs you to ask these exact questions to yourself and your community members and families. What kind of growth is “healthy”? What is the best use for the land around us? Do we need another parking garage? These kinds of questions need to be asked and answered by everyone in every city.

Is Brunswick the only town you know of that is dealing with these issues?

It feels like there’s no way Brunswick could  be the only town dealing with issues like these! This is what’s most important about the movie to me; we need to be aware that a very large generation of farmers are beginning to pass on and while it is tempting to want to put something there in its place, perhaps there should be more talk of sustaining that land and nurturing that land to remain something vital and sustainable for future generations instead of locked in some failed development project idea.

What would you like viewers to come away with after watching Brunswick?

I would hope that viewers will be inspired to talk to their neighbors, go to their town board meetings, be involved in community government and simply be available to know more about what kind of decisions are being made about their surroundings. These decisions should be made by everyone in a community, not just a select few. 

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