Graham Daniels and Mark Vidler of Addictive TV create the perfect integration of audio and visual technologies in their thrilling live show. Using source material from films, TV shows and even musicians from around the world in their John Lomax-esque Orchestra of Samples project, the duo cut and splice different media into one cohesive vision.
We had a chat with Graham Daniels of Addictive TV to talk about wearing many hats, meeting musicians from around the world and why film studios would be wise to tap their talent.
Addictive TV's ad for the new Street Fighter X Tekken video game
Huff Post Arts: What is your creative process like? What does a day of work entail for you?
Graham Daniels: There is no 'normal' day as such. It's one day you're 'the artist' and the next you're 'the producer' having to deal with agencies, film companies, journalists like yourself and so on etc. When the creative hat is on, we usually lock ourselves away for a few days as it's the only way to get things done!
But these days, often with commercial jobs, deadlines can be tight and people need a fast turnaround so we can often find ourselves creating work on the road. We ended up creating most of [the Street Fighter x Tekken remix] in a hotel in Cairo in Egypt during the unrest in December, where people really were fighting on the streets.
HPA: What's been the most memorable experience from the Orchestra of Samples project so far?
GD: [On] our travels, and often with the help of promoters who are booking us, we're filming musicians playing all kinds of instruments and then sampling those recordings to create new music, it's an audio/visual project where we are blending rhythms and sounds from all over the world. And with our work based so much on sampling, to us it seemed [like] such an obvious idea!
As well as in the UK, we've recorded in places like France, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Israel, Brazil (twice!), Tunisia, Egypt and Senegal and have been introduced to musicians playing really unusual instruments, like a Gombri -- an old North African stringed drum used as a bass, or the Boudègue from Southern France. Get this, it's made from an entire goat that's essentially skinned and turned into one huge bagpipe! (You can read Addictive TV's blog post about the Boudègue here.)
Addictive TV live at Sfinks world music festival, Belgium
HPA: What made you decide to work with pre-existing media?
GD: We don't always, and it was never a conscious decision -- it just developed that way because so much of our work is based on sampling. But then that can always leave you open to strange accusations that it's 'not your work' somehow, which is odd. Remove the video from the equation and look at DJs, especially in hip-hop culture, or even mainstream DJs as famous as Fatboy Slim -- all of them build their work from samples but no one says of their music 'they didn't make that'.
I think A/V [audio/visual] is one of those things that you simply either get or you don't.
HPA: You guys use film frequently for source material. What is it about cinema that fits into your performance?
GD: Cinema is immensely important to us, we love it. I think our film remixes can reinforce people's memory of a movie, if you've seen it that is. But if anything movie remixes are reminders that can make you want to see the film again or alternatively, if you've not seen the original film, it can make you more curious to see it! Over the years, we've remixed many movies and had a whole range of different reactions, some people say to us "I love that film" and "I'd forgotten how great that movie is!" to the opposite, with people saying "which film is that you've remixed? I have to see that now!"
HPA: Why do you think so many different audiences embrace what you've been doing?
GD: I guess because it's universal. Images and music are perfect partners, we're all born to see and hear at the same time in perfect synchronisation. And thats what we like to play with, getting in at the point where music and images meet, so you can see the sounds you're hearing. It's creates something much more than music can on it's own. It's having your imagination stimulated by 10,000 volts plugged in through your eyes.
HPA: That is the best analogy we've heard in some time.
GD: Thank you. Just thought that up as i was typing... No rehearsals here!
Watch Addictive TV's video remix of "Slumdog Millionaire" below.