The most intriguing event in Reading last Halloween saw the Reading/Oxford band Year of the Kite produce their own live soundtrack to the 1922 German silent horror movie Nosferatu at South Street Arts Centre. The band played to a packed house, and the results of their tireless practice sessions in an Oxfordshire church made for a captivating watch.
Well, this summer Year of the Kite are back at it, this time creating a score for Fritz Lang’s 1927 cult silent sci-fi movie Metropolis on Saturday 15 June. I met up with Doug and Matt from Year of the Kite to discuss their Metropolis score, the dystopian film and why on earth they decided to put themselves through the practice ringer to do it all again.
Well, after we’d done the Nosferatu show someone who had come to see it asked us if we’d consider doing another one. We didn’t have a particular film in mind but they suggested Metropolis and we thought, “heck why not?”.
Metropolis is a very different movie isn’t it?
Yes. it’s very dystopian in its feel. It’s clean and not slick and also has a lot of early art deco influences in it. We knew we had to take a different approach to the making of the soundtrack for this one.
So what is different musically to the Nosferatu score?
This time we decide to be a lot more electric, electronic and aggressive than Nosferatu, we took away the strings and only used four members, compared to the six in the first soundtrack. It’s much more synthetic and harsh and at times the guitar sounds very synth like. Therefore it has more of a post rock sound and feel to it. At times there are subtle nods to Can and also loud appreciations of Nine Inch Nails.
How do you put the soundtrack together?
We all watched the film separately and created parts we felt fitted in with certain scenes in the movie, then we met up at the church and tried to glue them together and basically see what worked. It’s not something that we rushed and it takes a lot of time and patience to make it work successfully. We’re sure that the people that come along to watch the show will appreciate the effort it takes to put it together but it never feels like a chore when we rehearse it and hopefully that’s how it will come across on the night.
Metropolis with live score from Year of the Kite is at on Saturday 15 June at South Street Arts Centre. Tickets are £12, buy tickets online.
Steve Reynolds is a Reading-based promoter and DJ. He's the founder of Darklands, Reading's indie alternative club night and has co-organised the DoubleDotBash music festival for the last couple of years.