Introducing The Darkroom EP

  • Posted on: 5 January 2014
  • By: gordon

I met acclaimed electronic musician via twitter and suggested they combine their love of film photography and music to create an album using sounds from the process of developing film.

Can you tell me about your music and how it relates to photography?

A technique I use is what I call snapshot music. Just like a photograph is a snapshot of a moment, I try to do the same when writing in this style. A good example of this is "Midnight coffee" which is based on a single moment that I felt while in Manchester having a coffee in Starbucks and I thought about how alone you can be when there is a so many people around. I took comfort in that so I tried to create what I felt at that moment when writing Midnight coffee.

To help me along the process of creating my own little world, pictures help in a big way. And it started when I went to Uni, I would search the internet for pictures of cities that people had took just so I could have them as my wallpaper on my computer. But they had to have a certain raw feel to them as I am a fan of things with imperfections. And then I noticed i would write music to the pictures without me realizing and it just went on from there.

My interest in photography began with Instagram and seeing pictures looking like they were taken in the 70s. Modern pictures with imperfections which I later learned where light leaks, noise and out of focus fx's but were made to look old. Then I started to realize I could tell which pictures where taken using Instagram, this got to me a bit because it kinda of ruined the magic for me. So after doing some research, I learned the filters used in Instagram where based on actual film cameras. So now I have a small collection for cameras which I'm still learning how to use but film has a type of mystical feel when using it.

Can you tell me a little bit about each track?

The first Track C-41 as you well know is named after the chemicals you use to develop 35mm color film and is about preparing your lab and getting your film ready to be developed. I did have the idea of using sounds taken from a lab but I couldn't get into one and when watching documentaries on Developing film I didn't find any sounds I wanted to use. The next best thing was to record what I had around me, so you hear what sounds like crackles but that is in fact me taking the negatives I have from my own photos and recording the sound they made when I pulled and shook them. This then runs throughout the entire track, so I guess in a sense my photos are the track in a weird way. I decided to use the sound of a Polaroid then and the sound you hear is of the Polaroid Supercolor 635 CL which again after editing and adding some fx, comes in and out of the track to help give the impression that pics have been taken and are being developed.

I then went about making the track sound like it was being submerged because of how you submerge your film in chemicals in a Patterson tank.

As you hear the track throughout, you will hear the main riff sound like it is trying to move to the top of the track but gets pulled back down and this is to signify the process for the film is slowing taking place and the images are slowly taking place but are no there just yet.

The Second track 'The Developer's Mind' is pretty much what it says on the tin. I just tried to think what it is like to feel when you're waiting for you pictures to develop and this is what came out. I do use a vocal snippet from a short documentary I saw called The dying art of the photographic darkroom and I choose this because it fit with what i was trying to get across in this track.

The 3rd Track 'Light Leaks' is based on the fact that you wait for your pictures to come to life and then finally reveal them when you turn on the light.

To help tie all the tracks together I always had the image of all this taking place in someone's homemade darkroom in an apartment overlooking the city This is why you hear rain and other city sounds which i hide but leave just enough volume so if you listen hard you will hear them.