Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Brendan Canty talks about Burn to Shine Atlanta

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 6:15 PM

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Word spread a few weeks back that the house at 54 Moreland Ave., where directors Brendan Canty ( Fugazi) and Christoph Green filmed Burn to Shine Atlanta, had finally come down after leaving the project in limbo for two years.

But there is still much work to be done before the finished product will materialize.

Chad Radford:  Where does Burn to Shine Atlanta stand now that the house has come down?

Brendan Canty:  We still have a lot of work to do with this thing. Touch & Go went out of business so we're trying to find a home for the project, but we think we know where it's going to go. It won't delay the release, but I honestly don't think that it will come out until the Fall. That's the best hope. November, but realistically speaking maybe even January.

Why did you pick Atlanta for this project?

There are so many factors that go into making one of these:  One of them is having a house that's going to be torn down, but also having somebody who really wants it to happen on a local level. In Atlanta our Friend Lee Tesche was saying let's do this, this is great. So we kind of went on his energy. In Chicago it was Bob Weston in Portland it Was Chris Funk, and in Seattle it was Ben Gibbard. Credit has to be given to these guys for being ground troop organizers. All of those guys were really into it and they had the bands together. That kind of energy carries us a long way.

On top of that there are a bunch of bands that we love Atlanta. I mean really, I love Deerhunter, I love Black Lips, I love Mastodon. Atlanta is just such a great music town. Do you feel like you were undeserving?

No, not at all! I've been writing about music in this town for 10 years and I'm always talking about this identity crises that we have here with the local music scene. But within the last few years it feels like it has really come together, more so now than anything else I've seen during the 10 years that I've been here.

Right, well, that confluence of energy and interest from the people and the bands there is what gets it going. I'm just bummed that it took so long for the house to come down. The Louisville one got all fucked up for completely different reasons, but the other ones have come out pretty quickly. It has stymied our momentum to have two of these things in the can and haven't been able to finish them for so long.

It's the south man. Things move slowly here...

Yeah I know man... But to be honest, they moved pretty slowly in Portland too. I think they're running on a Mayan clock up there.

In the meantime Me and Christoph have also started doing bigger films, like Ashes of the American Flag for  Wilco and we did one for the Decemberists as well. Suddenly we have a business, which is great, but it has taken up a lot of our energies. There's no money to be made on Burn to Shine. It's a great thing, but they're not too cheap to make, honestly.

After I wrote the blog post about the house coming down, a lot of people have asked "what is this?" The music scene is made up of a lot of younger people, and two years ago many people who are active now weren't really dialed-in to the local music scene, and had no idea that you filmed here.

Well cool, let's get it out there so you can prove that the Loch Ness Monster exists.

Was there anything about Atlanta that struck you differently from the other towns where you've filmed Burn to Shine?

Atlanta is an amazing town. It's really different from anywhere else, and it's a real city, which is what socked me when we got there. It's much bigger than you think, and it really is much more urban than you think. The kids themselves who are involved in the music scene there are very diverse as well. It seemed like much more than a city than what I had pictured it. You guys have a pretty good baseball franchise going on down there too, so we tend to think that it's much more of a posh place, but it really is a cool town and it has a lot going for it. Musically speaking, I don't know what I was expecting. I had seen Black Lips, Deerhunter and Mastodon, and shooting these things is always super chaotic and weird and fucked up. But really, nothing surprises me about this project anymore. After the first one that we did the house was so rancid and disgusting... This one was rancid and disgusting as well, but I have to say that meeting people like Tom Cheshire and Lee Tesche and getting to hang out there... it's just a great scene. Everyone that I've met there has been great and that makes it all worth it. That's what you don't see when it comes to this project, but that's what I live for, communicating and talking with people.

I remember tip-toeing around that house and trying to be so delicate with the flash on my camera so as not to be picked up by the room mics, but by the time Carbonas played it became a full-on party.

It was totally insane sounding. When you bring a band into a house, it's like bringing a team of horses into a house! There's nothing delicate about it. I think what Burn to Shine has been lacking is a little bit of the atmosphere of the day, and what an event it is. It's generally a really positive, chaotic and fun time, and we'll see if we can pull that out of this one.

A gallery of photos from the shoot can be found at chadrad.blogspot.com

(Photo by Chad Radford)

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