Living up to everything that the concept of neo-psychedelica promises, Spindrift composes fictional soundtracks in search of imaginary films. Think Peckinpah. Think Morricone. Add a dash of Corman and you get Spindrift. In short, they produce rock and roll for cinephiles.
Not surprisingly, Tarantino has used their music as well as lots of other directors. The band even scored and starred in a film of their own called “The Legend of God’s Gun.” I caught up with the founder of the band, Kirpatrick Thomas, this weekend to talk about their newest album “Classic Soundtracks Vol. 1.”
Tell us about the concept behind the new album.
Over the years, since Spindrift’s inception in 1994, we had a role in cinematic scoring. We gravitated towards it in a way because we have a psychedelic atmospheric quality to our tunes. We started out doing experimental film work, then moved into spaghetti western type soundtracks via Morricone, Nicolai, and Allesandroni. In 2008, we finished a feature film called “The Legend of God’s Gun” (Directed by Mike Bruce). We released the soundtrack years before the film ever came out. It was a major learning experience and got us in touch with many more directors. So currently, all we do is film scoring… And tour the planet. So we figured lets combine the live psych-rock elements with the visual presentation and really have some fun with it. At the same time, its allowing us to create a community of productive artists and directors.
I heard you will create a music video not just for every single from the album but every track. Tell us about a few of the pieces.
All the films will be represented and premiered on IFC. Since several tracks on the album, like “Showdown” and “Red Reflection” have already been featured in “The Legend of God’s Gun” we already had some of the film clips in order. So it was easy to connect the dots. “Theme from Confusion Range” (dir. Simon Chan) was a surreal, horror-exploitation. “When I was Free” (dir. Rob Bray) is an homage to the mysterious photographer Stanley Sanger, who disappeared in the Mojave. “Treasure of the Black Jaguar” is Mike Bruce’s next upcoming action/adventure. “Dust Up” (dir. Ward Roberts) is a upcoming feature that you could call a modern day spaghetti western. “Legend of the Widower Colby Wallace” (dir. Burke Roberts) is a unique and surreal mountain man film set in the 1800’s. Last but not least, “Ghost Patrol” (dirs. Jean Ballest & Sam Barnett) is a ghostly film noir, Ed Wood style homage. There are others to follow.
Give us your all-time favorite ten movie soundtracks in no particular order.
1. Clockwork Orange (Wendy Carlos)
2. Once Upon A Time In The West (Ennio Morricone)
3. Bullitt (Lalo Schifrin)
4. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (Hugo Montenegro)
5. Bladerunner (Vangelis)
6. Superfly (Curtis Mayfield)
7. Lucifer Rising (Bobby Beausoleil)
8. Space Patrol (Peter Thomas Orchestra)
9. El Grande Silencio (Ennio Morricone)
10. Conan the Barbarian (Basil Poledouris)
If you could re-score any film of your choice, which one would you choose? Briefly describe your hypothetical soundtrack.
“Barbarella” would be cool, or something that Tarantino may want to produce and re-release (we already did contribute to the “Hell Ride” score). Most of all I’d like to re-score “Moby Dick.” Or maybe some Godzilla. I’d really like to get more into experimental film scoring, something strictly utilizing the desert and its isolation. Say Tangerine Dream meets Ennio Morricone played by a Native American tribe on a peyote trip.
You just finished a 50-city (!) tour of Europe. Any adventures you care to relate? Did you drive your tour van off a cliff or something?
It was 48 shows in two months crisscrossing all over Europe! Longest tour yet. Definitely had its ups and downs. Our driver fell asleep at the wheel in Basque Country and we all woke up while we were scraping against a semi! Luckily, he swerved the right way or we’d all be dead. Oporto is beautiful, as was Rome, Vienna, Prague, Stockholm, Ghent, San Sebastian, and England. It was a lot to take in. I was sick for six weeks of it with hay fever. We were stopped at several borders and searched (of course). Lets just say, it was the most sober tour I’ve ever done. Thanks to Sweden. Looking back, it seems like a dream. A fairy tale land with Castles, Forests, Dragons, girls on bikes, and McDonald’s (USA! USA! USA!).
I heard that the reclusive film director (and Film Threat contributor) J.X. Williams let you use the credit sequence from “Hollywood Play-Girls” (1966) for your “Shadytown” video. Can you tell us a bit more about the song?
Yes, it’s a pretty crazy story. I had heard of J.X. a while ago while researching films and became a big fan. My favorite film of his is, of course, “The Virgin Sacrifice”. We met up with him in Switzerland, he didn’t stick around long, just came by and said “Hi, tell those guys in Hollywood that I’m gonna break their knees. Thanks for the nice score.”
We contributed to his LA-based low-budget film noir bit “Hollywood Play-Girls” when the title sequence was discovered a few years ago. Sasha Vallely had the song “Shadytown” and we figured it would be a perfect fit. So, the J.X. Williams Archive commissioned us to do something. It was a song she had originally wrote about her hometown of Birmingham, England. We perform all his scores live.
And I also heard you’re about to release another video that uses the opening sequence of J.X. Williams “Space Vixens” (1967). Any back story on that song?
Yes, same sort of deal. This will be the third J.X. release. The first being “Tecumseh’s Curse”. I’m glad its being used in a Sci-Fi. Thats a genre I always wanted to get into. Funny thing is that the “Space Vixens Theme” is actually taken from an old Bollywood film (“Dharmatma Theme Sad”), but the guys didn’t seem to mind. I guess its because we added some spacier elements to the original. From what I know, the film has some risque themes including gays in the military and female domination. I’m hoping we’ll get to score the feature about J.X.’s life. Quite an epic figure indeed.