Q + A with Monsieur Adi

Monsieur Adi

Monsieur Adi has been a firm favourite here at Public Description.  Our first interview was in 2013 while I had a weekly radio show. After researching different artists I stumbled across a slick and addictive remix done by Adi of a Lana Del Rey track ‘Born to Die’.  From that moment I was hooked on Monsieur Adi’s music. I am not alone as he became a sought after musician, producer and remixer due to his elegant musical offerings.

Since 2010 he has been creating official remixes for artists such as, Ellie Goulding, Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey, Bastille, Laura Mvula, and The Kooks. In 2014, he debuted his brilliant single “What’s Going On?” featuring vocals of A*M*E.

Adi has established himself as one of the most consistently creative and dynamic artists around 

Public Description is thrilled to have caught up with Monsieur Adi for a short Q&A to find out how he has been coping during lockdown and what we can expect from him in the near future.

 

Elle: We have missed you at Public Description. How have you been spending lockdown?
Monsieur Adi: That means so much to me! Thank you. I have been working on some various projects. Luckily I had planned for it to be a quieter year.

ElleWhat positive would you take from this period?
Monsieur Adi: The positive is that I have been able to get in touch with myself on a very deep level as well as
connect with my friends and family more, despite the social distancing.

ElleHave you found it difficult during this time to be creative?
Monsieur Adi: At the beginning of the pandemic, I just completely shut down and could not create even if I wanted
to. My anxiety, something I have been dealing with, just multiplied heavily. But through some inner and
outer work, I was able to get back to it and am feeling happy.

Elle: It sounds like it was quite challenging for you for a while. I am so pleased to hear you over came this and are excited to be back. Is there any advice you could give to anyone else starting out right now during this time?
Monsieur Adi: Breathe, haha. Even after I have been in the industry for a while, it feels like I am just starting
out. I’d say never lose the fun and joy of making music if you can.

Elle:The suspension of live music under lockdown has been devastating for artists, how has this impacted you?
Monsieur Adi: To be honest, it has not impacted me so much as I prefer the production side of things as opposed to performing live and I had already planned to make it a really quiet year in terms of being out and about.

Elle: So the most important question is can we expect to hear new music from you soon?
Monsieur Adi:It’s funny… I said I was not going to make music to release ever again, but a year ago I was at a concert of the Soweto Gospel Choir in Amsterdam and while they sang “Amazing Grace”, emotions just flooded me and I said I have at least one album left in me. Ever since then I have been working on it. It’s different, but full of heart and soul.

 

Elle: Sounds intriguing. Any planned collaborations coming up?

Monsieur Adi: Yes, I am working on some projects for others which is super exciting!

Elle: Which artist and song do you play on repeat right now?
Monsieur Adi: I have “My Love” by Inez on repeat ! It’s so beautiful.

Elle: Is there anything about the music industry that you would like to change?
Monsieur Adi: I’d change how social media numbers are the measure used to determine an artist’s talent. I think it is very short-sighted. But I could also just be very old-fashioned, haha.

Elle: Lastly, what is the positive you will take from 2020 so far?
Monsieur Adi: It was the year that everything changed and I found myself after having lost that many years ago.

Thanks to Monsieur Adi for this interview.

Q + A with Devrim Karaoglu

Devrim Karaoglu 1 by AG phot

Thank you to Producer/ Songwriter Devrim Karaoglu for taking time to chat about your Love for Music and how your career has excelled.

How did you get started in the music industry?

I started remixing for some big Turkish artist in the year 2000 (Tarkan ,Ajda Pekkan).  Later in 2001, I started producing for various artist in Istanbul until 2006, when I moved to LA to finish Tarkan’s English Album (Come Closer).  Since then I live in LA

How do you decide with which artists you wish to work?

It’s hard to saysometimes i go to shows and fall in love with an artist or I hear something on the web that speaks to me.  My management also connects me with different writers and artist.  For me, it’s important to get in the studio to get a vibe first.
It’s always exciting to meet new artist.

What was it like to work with Lana Del Rey?

It was lovely. Lana is an incredible soul /poet/ artist /
Her and Rick Nowels write beautiful timeless songs together.  I have co-produced with Rick songs like Summertime Sadness, Dark Paradise etc.. 

Who are your favourite artists?

I think Nelly Furtado is my all time favorite artist . Her song “Say it Right’ is probably one of my favorite tunes …timeless.
I also recently discovered Dua Lipa .She definitely has a long career. Really love her voice and writing.

Do you have any special musical talents i.e. do you play the piano / guitar etc Who influenced you and what music styles do you listen to?

I started playing the turkish saz at an early age .Later on I learned the timpani and played with a youth symphonic orchestra in Germany for 7 years.
At age 14, I started playing the keyboard/synthesizer . My main influences were Pink Floyd, Santana,  Yello, Depeche Mode,  Police, Sting , Art of Noise , Ravi Shankar, Youssou N’dour and a lots of Turkish classic and folk music. I love connecting eastern and western elements in my music.

Are there any albums you’ve produced that you felt were exceptionally great but that didn’t get the attention they deserved?

Not really

Do you have a favourite musical project that you’ve worked on?

In 2001, I have produced for a first time an album for Mete Ozgencil, an award winning  Turkish artist, who is well known in Turkey for his songwriting and video directing.  The album has been listed in the Top 10 Album List of that decade. It’s sort of a cult album now.  I am very proud of it.  

Do you have advice for young people who want to become music producers?

Listen to arrangements and chord progressions of your favorite songs.

Analyse mixes and frequency positioning of instruments but don’t try to imitate, be unique and timeless.

Don’t use to many trendy production tricks that will sound out of date in 2 years and also have a good basic knowledge of engineering .

Besides your interest in music , what else do you enjoy to do?

I work so much in the studio, in my free time…I usually socialise with friends, watch movies or documentaries.
I also love cooking food, it’s like writing a song for me…very meditating.
Sometimes, I do make graphics and animations on the computer but that has slowed down in the past years.

What does the rest of 2016 look like for you?

There is a couple of projects I am very excited about for this year.
One of them is Faye Medeson, who is an incredible Neo-Soul Artist from Sweden.  And also there is Troi Irons, who is signed to Def Jam.  She is an incredible artist, singer and writer with strong lyrical melodies coming out this year.

I have also decided to put my own songs into one umbrella this year with some Guest Artist featuring on it…be surprised!!

BEgdiblCYAAGhD4

Follow Devrim on…

Twitter: @dkevrim

Facebook: Devrim Karaoglu

Email: info@dkevrim.com

 

Film Director: Dimitry Kalinin | Uncovered

Photography: Roberto Vivancos 

 

Public Description caught up with exciting new film director Dimitry Kalinin, on set of one of his latest short films.

Elle: Dimitry, thank you for sparing some time to discuss your recent project and allow me to catch you in action filming ‘Holy Smoke’. You look quite at home being busy on a film set.

Your background is originally in banking, when did you realise you wanted to get into filmmaking?

Dimitry: I always loved theatre and films. Banking was a means to an end- to pay for my family in Siberia and to save money for my study as well as my projects.

Elle: A Writer/Director’s first film is often something deeply personal, could that be said for your first introduction into film?

Dimitry: My first film, called “Over” is a deeply personal film, which I filmed in West Cork, Ireland. I worked very closely with my writer, my partner; we were the only people in this remote cottage half way up a great hill, overlooking a sea loch. The solitude and melancholic beauty shaped the story and how I filmed it.

wholly smoke

Top Left: Dimitry Kalinin in action
Bottom Left: Dimitry on set
Bottom Right: Scenes from Holy Smoke with Nickolas Grace and Timothy Walker

 

Elle: Can you tell us your influence for writing Holy Smoke’?

Dimitry: I simply wanted to make a light comedy set in a church.

Elle: ‘Holy Smoke’ has an excellent cast. How did you decide upon choosing who would play your characters?

Dimitry: I decided that I want to approach actors I personally knew and whose  performances I have admired.  I met Nickolas Grace about 7 years ago at a wake. I could not believe it he was talking to me. I saw Brideshead Revisited in Russian as young man and in Germany as well. I approached a friend in common to ask him to see me. I sent him the script and few days later I had his number and we had a coffee in Notting Hill for few hours. He was incredibly generous to give his time for a student film project as was Timothy Walker.

I have known Timothy for some time. He recommended to me the  Raindance courses where I did my first filming making and producing course. Timothy is an amazing character actor and I wanted him to play three different roles in my film- like Alec Guinness in  “Kind Hearts And Coronets”. But the time for the filming was very tight and the make up artist would have needed time to do make up for a vicar, bishop and an old Lady. Timothy would have been superb playing all the roles.

By chance I went to see a play in the Old Vic Tunnels where I saw James Messer on stage. I thought he was perfect for the part as an Altar Boy. I wrote him a letter backstage asking him to see the script. He said yes to me as well. I could not believe it that I had got such an amazing professional cast. I was dancing in the street.

Elle: In three words, how would you describe ‘Holy Smoke’?

Dimitry: Flamboyant, funny and smoky

Elle: What other films have you completed?

Dimitry: I have made three short films. Two films I made with the same writer- my partner Stephen Dawson with whom I am now working on a documentary. I also worked with a Parisian writer who wrote a very personal script about a secret marriage. We filmed it in December last year.

Elle: Do you have aspirations to act in one of your films one day or prefer to stay behind the camera?

Dimitry: I don’t think I want to act now. I prefer to be in charge of the situation. I love working with actors. They are my Gods and I am their slave and they know it.

Elle: Film making is often a time consuming job what do you do to relax?

Dimitry: Going to the gym. Gym is my meditation time where I can listen to my music and think about new projects. I love motorbiking as well. All my activities are connected with music. I even ride the bike listening to music.

Elle: What can you tell us about your directing style?

Dimitry: Gentle, I plan everything in advance and need to stay calm during the shooting.

Elle: When do story ideas usually hit you?

Dimitry: I love having a conversation with friends on a one to one basis. Spending an evening with creative or engaging people gives me a buzz and ideas for other projects. That is how I got my ideas for the documentaries and I am doing an adaptation – The Diary Of A Madman by Gogol with Timothy Walker.

Elle: What’s the best advice you could give someone new to filmmaking?

Dimitry: Just do it with any equipment you have. Your family and friends would love to take part in your film.

Elle: Finally where do you want to go from here?

Dimitry: The next big step is to make a feature film. That is already written in outline and a full script and all the other thousand preparations are underway.

holy smoke
Holy Smoke stars:
Nickolas Grace
Timothy Walker
James Messer
Nickolas Grace on the set of Holy Smoke

Public Description would like to thank Dimitry for his time and wish him every success with his two films which have already received rave reviews.

Photography: @robertovivancos

Interview | Photographer: Roberto Vivancos

 

901783_10200726673106363_252754474_o

Public Description caught up with photographer, Roberto Vivancos to find out what inspires his work and love for photography.

 

Roberto: “First of all, thanks for having me, it’s a pleasure to be interviewed by you and to make a contribution to your blog.”

“I think I was just way too ahead of that time. Ha!”

When did you take interest in photography?

“At the age of 9 I received my first camera which was a Fuji Polaroid and right away, I was hooked, amazed by the wonder of it. The act of simply pressing a button to capture a moment before your eyes and watching it develop and print right there in a matter of seconds on a small piece of photographic paper was just incredible to me. And years later, while I was at University studying IT Engineering, I was quite literally the first person in my city who owned a digital camera (an HP photosmart of just 1.2 megapixels). I remember carrying it everywhere I went, taking as many photos as I could in order to learn the basics of photography and at the same time, reading as much as I could get my hands on about the art of photography.”

“I have a little anecdote about it as digital cameras were such a novelty at that time. I was stopped one time by two policemen in my hometown back in Spain while taking pictures as they apparently didn’t like the fact that I was shooting a certain something somewhere, so I was politely asked to hand over to them the film roll. When I informed them that my camera actually didn’t have a film roll but instead had a memory card, they thought I was making fun of them and consequently got fined as they simply wouldn’t believe me.”

“I think I was just way too ahead of that time. Ha!”

 

Whose work has influenced you the most?

“I would like to say that my style is very much inspired by cinematic visuals. As far as I remember, my work has been influenced by many facets of the entertainment industry, from manga and anime to film and movie posters to name a few. Speaking of which, I love the styling of the characters of Dragon Ball by the artist Akira Toriyama and the way lights and shadows are used to define their features and make them appear more dramatic. I would definitely say that movie posters have also been a big source of inspiration, mainly from the sci-fi genre due to the cinematic effect of contrast between rim lights and dramatic shadows. I just love that.”

unspecified

“One of my latest discoveries and new found photographer guru, is Dylan Patrick, a Jedi Master of the Cinematic Headshot. I think we have several things in common in terms of our aesthetic and technical preferences and his work really inspired me to create a revamped incarnation of the Cinematic Headshot.”

unspecified

“Peter Hurley is another incredibly talented headshot photographer whose style is one that I’m quite fond of. Not specifically in terms of technique but more about  the way he directs the subject to utilize their features to bring out their beauty and vibrancy. Not to mention my personal favourite the infamous squint; Google Brad Pitt for reference.”

“I’d say my style is a mix of the above mentioned headshot masters – Dylan Patrick in terms of  lighting, editing and framing and Peter Hurley in his direction and general attitude towards portraiture (I love an on point squinch.)”

“Movies of course have also been a big source of inspiration. Films such as Star Wars and The Matrix, to name a few, have driven me to perceive every picture I take as if it were a frame in a Movie.”

unspecified-2

What makes your photographs stand out from the average photographer?

“What could be regarded as a particularity to my photography, or let’s say, my signature, is the contrast between light and shadows, the so called chiaroscuro. I always rely on histogram expansion to include as much information as possible by enhancing contrast to create striking and appealing images.”

“There is always something about my subjects. A message trying to get across or a secret that is hidden in an attempt to bridge the gap between the viewer and the model. It’s all in the eyes.”

unspecified-3

What does photography mean to you?

“I am the kind of person who stops in the middle of the street, looks up and makes a square frame with his hands to a click sound. Cheesy I know! I love to live life collecting snapshots of moments frozen in time.”

“Had I to choose between words or images to express my thoughts and feelings, I’d certainly go for the latter. From my point of view as a creative, I genuinely enjoy telling stories through visually riveting and compelling images. I feel more comfortable when conveying a message involving the visual sense and I apply this philosophy to pretty much everything, from street photography, photojournalism, headshots to visual design, as well. That’s why photography has become such an essential aspect of my life as well as its pure driving force.”

 

Is it fair to alter reality by adjusting images in post-production?

“In my opinion and coming from my background of photography, I would say it most definitely depends on the kind of image and its purpose. You might not want to alter a headshot drastically as it is essential that the actor needs to look like his picture on the page as he does in real life when he walks in for an audition. I usually edit these types of photos by making tweaks to allow the subject to look as they would do on their best day.”

“On the other hand, there is another side of me that loves to play with reality, to alter it and bring forth new environments as well as physically impossible situations or extraordinary, out-of-this-world settings with crazy makeup and imaginary realities.”

unspecified

How important is it for a photographer to connect with your subject model to bring out their true self ?

“That’s the key part of it. You might have the best equipment in your studio or outdoors, as well as the best weather conditions for that perfect shot, but if the subject is not highly engaged with every part of their body and soul, the picture won’t transmit any particular vibe nor will it tell a story. I always tell my clients to focus on the reflection of themselves in the camera instead of the very device and I also ask them to gaze out and think through the lens.”

 

Locations and weather conditions are critical aspects to a successful picture. How do you plan if unpredictable factors occur?

“The very nature of an unpredictable factor is exactly the impossibility to predict it. But that’s also the beauty of the essence of it. When the unexpected happens, when you catch that glimpse or that glint of sunlight on a rainy day, that’s where the magic happens.”

“Besides, logistics and gear preparation are crucial. I always make sure I get spares sorted before a shoot.”

 

Could you describe the process of a photo shoot set up in your studio?

“I like to study my subjects before they actually come to the studio (I carry out a bit of Facebook  stalking a.k.a research to check their best side and study the shape of their face, cheekbones etc.) to direct them in the best possible way and enhance their traits.”

“I have a setup which is more suitable for guys with soft boxes and more cinematic and dramatic lights – my favourite – and a re-interpreted version of a classic clamshell-style layout for girls with a beauty dish and a reflector.”

 

Colour vs Black and White, which one is your favourite and why?

“I rarely shoot in black and white. I am a visual designer and I love colours. As humans, we see the world around us in colour. The same applies to headshots, by trying to capture the most veritable representation of the subject at that very moment and providing them with that special extra chance to get a part at an audition. When an actor walks in for an audition, he shows up in real life colours.”

 

Do you step out of your comfort zone to be creative?

“Most definitely. First of all, if you don’t do it, you might end up getting bored doing the same all over again and nobody wants that, so I constantly strive to push the boundaries. Then, by not keeping oneself up-to-date on new things and the latest techniques means becoming obsolete. That’s why I always try to experiment new things, techniques, different light setups, different environments… you name it.”

“As an artist, it’s a must to get out of your comfort zone because you aim to create magic and magic only happens when you think outside the box. I also apply that way of thinking to life itself.”

 

What advice would you give to an amateur photographer starting out into photography?

 

unspecifiedActor | Jon Campling

“The first advice would be that as a visual artist, whether he be a photographer, a painter or a designer, the main objective is to tame the light. You use light to shape a scene or subject with highlights and shadows, to create something visually appealing. When someone sees your work, their brain scans shades and lights to recreate a visual representation, so understanding how light affects our subjects and learning about the quality of light, its properties, fall-off etc, is paramount. By broadening my knowledge of light, my photography and my interface design have increasingly become better.”

“Another recommendation would be, invest in your lenses rather than in your camera. I think one of the most common mistakes is to use up your budget for the body of the camera to the detriment of the lenses. For me, this spells out a big No. It’s better to save a few hundred quid on the body and get a better quality lens as you will get better quality images, at least from a technical point of view.”

“As humans, we tend to look and walk ahead but it’s always good to take a look back, to look up above and just everywhere. Let your gaze roam free.”

“Finally, I’d say: When in doubt Shoot! the only bad picture is the one you don’t take so… whether you’re shooting with your phone, DSLR or compact camera, always bring something to shoot with as you never know when the magic moment will occur.”

unspecified
“Among the perks of suffering from jetlag, I’d definitely list being awake at 5am to capture this spectacular sunrise picture on the Thai island of Koh Yao Noi.”
unspecifiedA local paddling his way through a floating market near Bangkok.
unspecifiedFive Japanese girls in Shibuya subway station.

“Check out my work on www.robertovivancos.com, my Twitter and Instagram accounts @robertovivancos and my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/robertovivancosstudio.”

 

Special thanks to Roberto Vivancos for his interview with Public Description.

Vindata | Leaders not Followers

vindata

(This interview done originally with publicdescription.com in 2014 )

I’ve been a fan of Vindata for a long while now. I was first introduced to them by my Phoenix FM presenter; Vixter, who has been fiercely supporting Vindata for a long while. Regularly playing their tracks and telling anyone who will listen that they will be the next big thing, so how smug are we now that BBC Radio 1 have only just caught up and started playing one of their tracks off their next EP which was aired on Skream & Benga.

You will be blown away by this LA based duo too. Take my word.

 

Elle: For our readers could you tell me who forms Vindata and how you guys formed?

Vindata: Vindata is made up of Branden Ratcliff and Jared Poythress. We met through mutual friends around 2007. We started this project in 2010 after realizing how much our musical background and upbringing we had in common.

 

Elle: How would you describe your music style?

Vindata: We have a very broad range. It’s mostly based off what we’re feeling at any given time. Some call it Future Bass, Future R&B, Chill trap or whatever name they just created. We actually like not being bound by a specific genre. It gives us plenty of room to grow as artist.

 

Elle: What is your musical influence?

Vindata: Well, we grew up in Church so Gospel definitely had a huge impact on both of us. But we also have roots in Hip Hop and R&B.

 

Elle: Who would be your dream collaboration to work with?

Vindata: The Neptunes, Kanye West or Timbaland.

 

Elle: Which person do you feel you have learned the most from in life?

Branden: My Mother,

Jared: My Father.

 

Elle: Any plans to come to London soon?

Vindata: Hopefully, London has always been one of the places we wanted to visit first. We really respect and admire London’s appreciation for the arts.

 

Elle: What can we expect to see from Vindata?

Vindata: We finished our second EP titled “…For One To Follow”. Have been really excited for this, as it further elaborates our path we’ve chosen and what we’re currently feeling.

https://soundcloud.com/vindata

vindata.bandcamp.com/

Nitin Sawhney | Illusion and Reality

Nitin-Sawhney-2013-36-x-24-IN-91.5-x-61-CM-oil-on-canvas-Private-Collection-web-Cleaned      Album artwork, Paul Benney

Dystopian Dream is the edge between illusion and reality, which I guess is what life and death feels like to me.

In Nitin Sawhney’s own words, he is a composer, producer, and molecular accident. In my words, Nitin is a humble, intuitive, and meticulous genius.

Nitin’s love and possibly, obsession with music, began at the tender age of 5 years old when he trained initially as a classical pianist. He would then go onto learn jazz piano, guitar, flamenco guitar, and Indian classical percussion. The relationship Nitin had with music would also be a form of escapism and a way of soul-searching for Nitin.

Using music as a translation for Nitin thoughts and emotions has meant that each studio album created has been a cathartic release. Dystopian dream is no different. In this interview with Nitin, I get to find out in his own words, what his latest album represents to him and what keeps the multi-talented workaholic awake at night.

 

ns 22-crop-u6740

 

What does Dystopian Dream represent to you?

“This album started with my dads passing a couple of years ago, which I found really difficult to deal with. I was trying to find a way of expressing everything I was feeling at the time.”

“I have always been into looking at different ways of looking at the universe, and at looking at life and death.”

“Some of the ways at looking at the universe, is to do with an interest in Eastern spirituality and Hindu philosophy and some is to do with how I look at physics and what happens to particles. All kinds of things to do with quantum physics interest me, and I kind of think that when someone passes away that maybe they slip into another universe.”

“There is this concept in quantum theory around the multiverse. That the universe is multi layered and that our universe is not the only one, but that there are many universes that exist parallel to each other. That is also in Hinduism, God is depicted with many arms and each of those arms represents perhaps a different reality. So I was just playing with those ideas in my head.”

“I was there when my dad passed away and I felt I didn’t know where he had gone. That was the issue I had. I thought ‘He can’t have just gone?’ It was a kind of internal and external struggle. So what Dystopian Dream is, is the feeling of being on the edge between illusion and reality, which I guess is what life and death feels like to me.”

“Over the last few years I have been lingering on the edge in my head of this reality, and wherever my dad went, which I couldn’t really let go of very easily.”

 

With your dads passing, has this made you feel more religious?

“No. I feel that religion quite often, is when a religion becomes corrupted or distorted by people’s egos, that try to control other people for their own reasons.”

“I never really related to religion, and never related to this idea of belonging to a collective way of thinking about spirituality.”

“Spirituality is a very personal thing to me and it’s very individual. I do think there are a lot of good things that come from religion, but which should also come naturally. Trying to be selfless, conducting your life with integrity and not being an arsehole to people. That should be a natural function of how you lead your life. It shouldn’t be that you need some kind of other eternal motivation, and it shouldn’t be that it comes from people’s needs to control you or tell you how to think and feel.”

 

Do you feel you got some of the answers you were looking for?

“It’s a difficult thing. I once said Dystopian Dream feels like the light down an infinite tunnel, and that’s what it feels like to me. You don’t ever really get the answers until you die, but then, maybe even then you don’t. An album for me is a cathartic experience and an artistic expression. So it’s about exorcising demons or feelings, that you at times feel are difficult to cope with or are therapeutic, but at the same time having an awareness that you want to organise your chaotic feelings into something that feels musical. I use the grammar of music to try and create something that I feel is moving or powerful or emotional.”

 

Collaborations on the album

“It’s definitely great having a name like Joss Stone, but also good having some of the young up and coming artists on this album, like J’Danna. You can hear with J’Danna that she has got a really amazing voice and is phenomenally talented. She has a touch of Macy Gray about her. You can hear that huskiness which I really like.”

“Eva Stone is a really talented young artist. She has a very similar tone to Eva Cassidy and also Joss Stone. It’s an amazing voice.”

“I seem to meet these artists at a very early stage of their career. All these artists that I come across, go on to do really well. I was working with Ellie Golding at the beginning of her career and I met with Rita Ora and Ed Sheeran. I was supposed to produce an album with Ed at one point. Also, Taio Cruz was in my band for 2 years.”

“I am drawn to great voices and it’s exciting working with such young talent.”

 

12291199_10153718815123057_4370022817552920322_o

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

“I was really proud of composing the Human Planet score I did for the BBC. There are many reasons why. I love what the series represented. It was about human resilience, and what it represented across the world and also about showing the diversity of humans. It was a beautiful series.”

“I had to do 400 separates pieces of music and orchestrate them all for the ‘National Orchestra of Wales’ to play. I was doing 50 minutes of music a week for 8 consecutive weeks running. It nearly killed me. I ended up with pneumonia at the end of it. It was a phenomenal ask and it felt like a mountain but I felt like I managed to climb it. It was the hardest thing I have actually ever done just because it was relentlessly creating music, but it was creating music with an amazing amount of inspiration from all these beautiful images and experiences of human endeavour. I felt really proud of that score.”

 

Is there anyone you would really like to work with?

“I think Thom Yorke would be number one on my list if I wanted to work with anyone. I just think he is an incredible artist and he has always stayed true to that. He hasn’t compromised at all. He has been really successful but on his own terms. Also I love the guys from massive attack.”

“But then, I also loved working with Mala from Digital Mystikz. We did a track together. So I wouldn’t mind working with him again.”

“I really enjoy working with Anoushka Shankar. Anoushka is a close friend. I’m godfather to her son Zubin and I was present at Pandit Ravi Shankar bedside when he passed away. I was producing her album at the time ‘Traces Of You’ in San Diego.”

“We wrote a track together called Fathers from the album, because my dad passed away a few months afterwards, the both of us were trying to deal with all of the grief we were feeling. So there was a kind of synergy that came out of what we were feeling at the time.”

“She’s an amazing person. She really does her father proud because she’s a brilliant sitar player and she has incredible technique and knowledge of classical music. I also knew her husband, Joe Wright, before they married. I had worked with him. Joe is director of Atonement and some of the biggest films in the world, Pan being more recently. So it’s nice knowing them as a couple now.”

“I have been lucky that I have worked with a lot of the people I really wanted to work with.”

 

ns 5

You are constantly busy. What is an average day?

“I don’t have one. I only get about 4-5 hours sleep. I get excited about the day. I have always been like that. That whole concept of seize the day, is quite a big thing for me. Not being a nut about it, but I think it is important to actually enjoy the moments you have, and I always recognise that I am really privileged with what I do. I have an incredibly blessed life and I recognise that.”

 

What worries you?

“What worries me is the amount of bullshit that is out there being bombarded to people everyday. There is an incredible amount of lying that is going on; and distorting of facts. Unfortunately people accept it. Also, what worries me is Islamophobia, and seeing junior doctors having to go on strike, yet more money is being spent on bombs. If they could spend just a fraction of what they spend on bombs, it would actually save the NHS.”

“I feel surprised that we are in a so-called democracy yet everything is so carefully orchestrated in terms of information received and how much power or little power people have.”

“Everyone should be able to speak out but dissent has become stigmatised. I was one of the people that marched against the war in Iraq. There was 1 million people maybe more, and Blair just went ahead and did exactly what he intended to do without even caring. Then the next time there was a protest there was only a hundred thousand, because people felt disillusioned.”

“You have to recognise reality to change it and I think how you go about changing it, starts with education and awareness.”

“It sounds like I’m going off on a rant in regards to the state of the world but I find it disgusting. It is George Orwell’s vision in a way. His dystopian perspective and that is partially why I called this album, Dystopian Dream, as I feel that we are living it to some degree.”

ns 19-crop-u6731

 

 

 

Special thanks to Nitin Sawhney  for his interview with Public Description.

 

Purchase Dystopian Dream here: Amazon and iTunes.

http://www.nitinsawhney.com/

http://www.wangramirez.com/en/news/

Human Planet – Nitin Sawhney

www.paulbenney.com/paintings/

Twitter: @thenitinsawhney

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NitinSawhney

Photo credits: nitinsawney.com

 

Interview | Introducing Stealth

STEALTH’s deep gravelly tone provides a strong richness to his new song, ‘I Don’t Need Your Love’, which is taken from his soon-to-be released EP, Intro (out March 25th). Stealth has proved to have a much sought after voice recently with collaborations that include Nitin Sawhney, Netsky vs. Metrik and Roger Sanchez.

Stealth has received great support from the likes of ‘BBC Introducing’ and ‘Music Week’, and with his debut EP scheduled for release this year; 2016 is looking to be the year Stealth comes into his own. Public Description caught up with Stealth in-between his studio time, to find out more.

“I’m really proud of what I have done, and I’m just glad that other people are getting it.”

Have you always wanted to be in music?

“My family weren’t really musical but music was always being played in the house so it was a big part of my upbringing. I then started doing gigs at pubs and clubs in Birmingham to earn some cash.”

“I decided I wanted to progress with my music so I went to music college, went to The Institute of Contemporary Music (ICMP) in North London.”

“I had wanted to be in the RAF originally, until I decided I would get shot a bit less in music.”

Who are your musical influences?

“When I was very little, Elvis Presley was a big influence. Then growing up, the likes of Howling Wolf, Etta James, and Muddy Waters all became big influences for me. Even artists like The Doors. For me it’s mainly old school stuff, which I draw my inspiration from and you can hear that in what I do.”

“I have done a lot of dance records but for me it doesn’t feel as much like me. When I’m doing my own stuff it just fits my vocals and I feel happiest. It took me a while to find that but I feel that I’m there.”

“I believe in staying true to myself. It depends what you are in the music industry for. For me it’s not the money but longevity. I feel you never truly die until people stop talking about you. My main aim is to make music that people will still want to listen to in 10-20 years time.”

 

Tell me more about your collaboration on the Roger Sanchez Track?

“I wrote a piano track with one of my friends, that wasn’t really for me and didn’t fit with what I was doing at the time. Sometimes that happens, and when they are good songs, you don’t want to just sit on them. So we sent the track off to a few DJ’s and Roger really liked it. He did his own thing with it and kind of took it somewhere else that worked well with his style. Roger is a really nice guy and very similar to Nitin Sawhney in that he is very supportive.”

 

How did the Nitin Sawhney collaboration happen?

“It was an incredible privilege to work with Nitin. It is not very often you get asked to work with an artist nominated for a Mercury (Music Prize).”

“Nitin is not only a genius at one thing, but he does everything. So just to sit there and learn from him about the industry and everything like that was amazing. Meeting people like Nitin who are so sure of what they want to do and have made such a success from doing that, definitely gives artists in my position something to aspire to and a bit of guidance.”

“Nitin was looking for a big voice at the time to hit a bit harder on the album. So there is a song on my upcoming EP called ‘Judgement Day’, which had been sent to Nitin’s publisher. Nitin’s publisher played him the track and when Nitin heard it he was like ‘Yes this is exactly what I’m looking for’. Two weeks later I was in the studio with him.”

 

I really like ‘I don’t need your love’. Very cool song. What is the meaning behind this?

“The song is about admitting that a relationship or situation you’re currently in, is over. From my perspective I thought someone else felt like that about me, and I would have much rather they had just said. This song is not necessarily just about a person though; it can be about a situation, or substance addiction. It’s about being honest with yourself and saying ‘I don’t really need you as this is no longer benefiting the both of us’.”

 

2016 looks like it has got off to a good start for you?

“I’m really proud of what I have done so far, and I’m just glad that other people are getting it, though I don’t mind if not, as it’s all fun. So even if it’s just my mum that likes it that’s fine.”

 

Special thanks to Stealth for his interview with Public Description.

 

EP released 25th march | Now available for pre-order.

Look out for live shows announced on FB or twitter:

Twitter

Facebook

http://www.stealthmusicuk.com/

 

 

Dame Eileen Atkins | Nothing Like a Dame

 

p24eileenatkinsPENGILLEY

Watching a great actor playing another great actor is not an everyday occurrence. Legendary stage, film and television actress, Dame Eileen Atkins, 81, leaves you feeling hypnotised by her commanding performance at the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse with her reprisal of Ellen Terry with Eileen Atkins. To play this role must be very demanding  but to play it again, after a sell-out performance to rave reviews in 2014 must surely be even more intimidating.

 

What is it like reprising this role?

“It’s horribly daunting” Eileen replied. “I was asked to do it a year ago while I was in a “Samuel Beckett” play, All That Fall, with Michael Gambon, I had this whole other big play in my head when they asked me so I was very unsure. However my agents thought it was a really marvelous idea and I went along with it. What I didn’t realise is the difference a few years can make.  It’s the same when you are young as when you are old. There is a big difference between being 7 and being 9 years old.  There is the same big difference between 79 and 81.

“It just seemed a lot more daunting to me this time. I thought ‘I’ll be alright. I’ll slowly learn it’ but I had simply forgotten things like needing to walk around the stage all the time. I had forgotten about being on my feet for so long and it didn’t come back nearly as easily as I thought it would.

“To me, the things that come back easily are the things you learnt when you were under 30 years old. Anything you learned as a child is usually still in your head. Poems and plays for example, but the things you learned when you were older don’t come back to one as well. Or for me they don’t anyway; although some people have better brains than mine for remembering.

“There is no point in doing something unless it appears effortless and there is no strain. So I did put myself through tough rehearsals.”

 

Preparation

“I find Shakespeare comes back very easily. I am reading Ellen Terry & Bernard Shaw A Correspondence, these are letters to each other. It gives me very much a feeling of her. It is her voice.

“I was relieved to hear from Ian McKellen the other night that it took him 9 months to rehearse for the part in the film of The Dresser. It was a huge part. The great thing is though, in cinema, if it goes wrong, you can go back again and re-film.

“You know you can do it again and you know you won’t make a fool of yourself in front of hundreds of people. It’s not the same with theatre.”

 

Do you ever suffer from stage fright?

“All the time. For anyone who doesn’t get some stage fright, I honestly feel there is something a bit wrong with them. I have to work it so that my preparation is exactly timed. I do not like having a lot of time waiting around backstage. I get there, I get into a dressing gown, I have make-up put on, maybe a wig fitted, I get back to my room and put my clothes on. I hope they will say we are ready to go on just as I put on my clothes. But then, if there is a long hold up, I take deep breaths, keep tapping my feet, and start to pace up and down.

 

“When Judi Dench and I meet, and if we ever talk about a job she always says to me, ‘How much out of 10 for terror? How frightened were you?’ I will say. ‘My God Judi, you did the Albert Hall  and sang there and she will say ‘Yes. How much was that for terror? 9 out of 10!’”

“There is something wrong with anybody who says they can   go out there quite casually, after having a few chats with friends.

“One night I went on to the stage and looked into the audience and stared straight in the eyes of my ex-husband, Julian Glover. “We get on very well thankfully” she laughs.

“Then I turned around immediately to the left and looked straight into the face of Edward Fox.  So I thought I would turn and face the other side of the stage but there looking at me was Zoë Wanamaker and Patricia Hodge. So I had to give myself a very fast talking to saying, “They are there, you are just going to have to face them and get on with it”.

“That said, nerves work in your favour. You need the adrenalin. I have to stay absolutely concentrated in my head. I have to stay being Ellen and talking what she is talking  and it can be very difficult at the theatre because I can see an awful lot of what is going on around me.

“The adrenalin is extremely addictive. When you finish a run of any play, you think you want to stop  and you are tired but then of course you are missing the adrenalin. In the evenings you start to feel yourself getting depressed and missing the buzz you get from performing. It’s our adrenalin rush.”

 

 

Early beginnings 

“I went to drama school at 16 years old. My parents would say to me ‘when are you going to be out making some money?!’ they were shocked I stayed at school till 16.

“I was brought up as a dancer and danced in working men’s clubs from the age of 7 years old. By the age of 12 I really hated doing the working men’s clubs. I didn’t even want to learn to dance. Unfortunately  my mother was extremely superstitious. When I was a baby, a gypsy came to the door and told my mother I was going to be a great dancer and so for that reason  my mother kept sending me to dancing lessons.

“I was a very social child. I liked school  and I liked the other kids at dancing class and I liked the social life that went with it. But I hated going out at night and dancing in these men’s clubs. I really didn’t like that. On the other hand it earned money for the family.”

 

What advice would you give your younger self?

“When I got to drama school  I lost my confidence. I was the only working class person there. I got very good parts, people appreciated my work  and I was encouraged but I was very aware of feeling different. I used to go to auditions thinking,  ‘I know you are not going to cast me but I know I am bloody good.’ I think this harmed me. I didn’t do well in acting until I was 27.

“I left drama school lacking in confidence  and I had developed a huge chip on my shoulder. So I would say more than anything try to keep confident and try and get rid of that chip.”

 

Advice to others

“The only way is to keep going. Stay disciplined. I am very disciplined, as was Ellen Terry. Ellen Terry learned Rosalind even though she never played it.

“So I would say, when you leave drama school, keep on learning. You must have that instinct that when you are not working you still go on learning. Also try to keep meeting up with your friends so you have that support network around you.

“I remember once collecting my dole, now I think it is called social security  with [Dame] Maggie Smith. We both realised we would have to get other jobs to earn our money until the acting work came in. The worst thing to do is to sit and feel sorry for yourself.

“Also, having charm and likability is important. If you have charm, it serves you well in any area in your life. I think being a beauty can go against you sometimes as it becomes a bit dull. It is far better to have a slightly more interesting look and have charm.

Lastly, you have to want it very much. You have to be prepared to work very hard. I hope I have shown that you can do it. If you’ve missed a good school like a public school, or you haven’t gone to university, or if you have come from a dicey background, you can still fulfil what you want to fulfil.”

 

Confidence in a young Tom Hardy

“I saw the actor Tom Hardy when he was still at school  in a school play. His father said to me “He wants to be an actor’, and I said ‘Well I think he is rather good.’

“The father asked ‘will you help me? So I advised them to apply for drama school. I gave them the name of a good teacher to go through his audition pieces with. The teacher was so impressed  she rang me up and said ‘This boy is really talented.’

“So we told Tom to go in to auditions with as much confidence as possible. He went  to his first interview at RADA . It was an absolute no. They had no interest in seeing him again. The teacher rang up RADA, and asked why and she said that she and Eileen Atkins felt this boy was extraordinarily talented. They said, ‘He was too cocky!’.

“So there you go.  He wasn’t really, it was what we had told him; to be confident. So it is getting the balance right.”

 

The Proudest moment

“What most surprised me and thrilled me beyond measure, was that I was given an honorary English literature degree at Oxford University.

“It was a two day event  with a procession through the streets of Oxford. I cried practically throughout the ceremony.  There was always a bit of me that wished the opportunity to go to university had come my way. That of course would have been out of the question as my parents wanted me earning as quickly as possible.

“So that did thrill me. One of the Oxford Dons said to me when I was there, ‘Now, you know, this is a much bigger deal than getting a DBE!'”

Elle: “Well, that’s not bad for the girl who came from Clapton, East London, now is it?”

“It’s not bad. It’s not bad. It’s not bad at all!” laughs a jubilant Eileen.

Special thanks to Dame Eileen Atkins for her interview with Public Description.

 

 

**********

Ellen Terry with Eileen Atkins’ runs at Shakespeare’s Globe from:

11 January – 13 February

Adapted & performed by
Eileen Atkins

Tickets
£10 standing
£15 – £48 seats
£62 premium tickets

BOX OFFICE 020 7401 9919

Book online here

“Atkins is sublime. She is an artist at the peak of her powers. Nothing she does goes for nothing. It’s inspiring. ”
★ The Financial Times

 

 

 

 

 

Felicity Dean | Being Sustainable

felicity

Interviewing Felicity Dean could have been a slightly intimidating experience, not least due to her extensive portfolio of work in film, stage and TV, or for the impressive list of fine actors she has worked alongside; but also because my first encounter with Felicity was albeit with her looking amazing but also very naked.

Felicity had been taking part on a photo shoot  whilst I was interviewing the founder of ‘Fishlove’ Greta Scacchi at the time as Felicity’s photo shoot taking place in the background. Trying to discuss Greta’s role in a new play was rather overshadowed by the chaos. The delightful Felicity was a pleasure to interview though and completely flattered, and not embarrassed with my accolade in the article.

felicity 2

Regan | King Lear | The Globe

From working with the Royal Shakespeare Company, to performing on Broadway, and being nominated for ‘The Critics Guild Award’ for Best Actress alongside Charles Dance; Felicity has had an eclectic acting career. Felicity has done what many actors only aspire to and had success in popular television programs to acting with screen giants like, Oliver Reed, Peter Cushing, Joan Plowright, and Greta Scacchi.

Felicity is also one of the many stars that has given their time to be photographed for the ‘Fishlove’ campaigns that help raise awareness around sustainable fishing. 

felicity

Masha | The Three Sisters | Charles Dance

Fishlove

“I was delighted and very flattered to be part of the new campaign. Greta asked if I’d like to take part and as I have known Greta for some time now, she’s a good friend, and also a colleague, it felt great to be involved. Greta started ‘FishLove’ with co-founder Nick Röhl in 2009 and I think they have done an amazing job of raising the profile of a charity, which isn’t really renowned, to an elevated prominence with their photographic campaigns.

It’s a brilliant idea started by Greta who did the first campaign, shot by Rankin, and it has just developed from there.

Through her contacts, and the people she knows. Everybody has just wanted to step on board.

The photographer for the campaign this time round is, Jillian Edelstein. Jill is a wonderful, and talented photographer. I was absolutely thrilled to be part of this. I surprised myself as I thought it was going to take some bravery to actually stand up and pose naked. When I arrived on the day of the shoot, I was rather alarmed, because I looked in the box where the fish was kept and there were just a couple of little herrings left. I thought what do I do with that? Then Nick Röhl came in with this big cod” she laughs.

“All the pictures from the campaigns are beautiful and look like art. Sustainable fishing and giving support is a wonderful charity to be part of.”

 

What can the general public do to support this campaign?

Elle: We’re often told we need more fish in our diet, but determining which fish to eat is sometimes a minefield.

Felicity: “I think what everyone can do is to look out for the sustainable label markings on their fish packaging. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is one of the names to look out for. If they are endorsed with those initials, you absolutely know they’re a company you can trust.

The picture promotes ethical fishing and can be found on fish products sold at Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, and also  Marks & Spencer’s. There are various supermarkets that really do care. I think if everybody looks out for that we can make a solution.

Also broaden your fish base. Buy fish that you wouldn’t normally buy.

We concentrate on cod and salmon, so they then get over fished.

Try to avoid over buying deep fish, which are slow growing and not that productive. They take a long time to mature, and then the stocks get depleted which results in them being hard to be replaced.

My awareness has actually increased just by knowing Greta and talking to her and seeing the campaign. I have actually now made a point of buying fish that is ethically caught.

Due to ‘Fishlove’ the media coverage has been worldwide because of it. It’s fantastic what they’ve achieved.”

 

Social media and acting

“I think as an actor, and my generation, you have to keep up with what’s going on otherwise you just get left behind. If you don’t have a twitter account or all that stuff , it makes you inaccessible to fans.”

Elle: True. I feel twitter allows fans to support their favorite actors and feel they are connecting with you, but without compromising your privacy. 

Felicity: “Yes, absolutely. I have one fan who has followed me since I was really young and from when I first started. He found me again on twitter, and so we have a kind of twitter relationship. Very, very sweet. I’m delighted.

felicity

“It’s funny, you always feel like you’re a beginner somehow.

From the beginning

“When I start a new job I still feel I sort of know nothing yet I then look back and realise I have achieved quite a lot.

I didn’t come from a theatrical family. When I was growing up, acting was a profession nobody in my realm did. My dad passed away when I was 12 and we moved to Sunnydale. I had a wonderful drama teacher at the school there.

Losing my dad that young was hard as we were very close. He was an artist, a wonderful painter, which he did as a hobby as he had grown up through the war and so never considered it as a ‘real’ job. But he was a real influence. I too, always had that artistic leaning.

After my dad died I found a refuge in drama through a wonderful drama teacher named Sue Marshall. Sue brought me out of myself and gave me a belief in myself.

I felt like I rediscovered a family. Although I had a really loving the tribe of actors and acting had become like a surrogate family and was very supportive.

I got headhunted while at school by a Pine studio scout, they would come and look at our school productions.

I felt very un-pretty, and very shy. Immensely shy. I was the kid at the back but acting was an escape.

I found that I could find attributes in myself by being somebody else.

This gave me a real confidence. I also found that I could hold an audience. My drama teacher encouraged me to work harder to develop these skills.

Through this, I had a newfound confidence and went to the school secretary to ask for an agent. The school secretary, who was wonderful, named Bunty Walsh suggested someone she knew.

I signed up with the agent for one year. She wanted to sign for 5, but for some reason I said no. I’ll just sign for a year, god knows where that came from.

Within that time she got me a job working on a major feature film The Prince and the Pauper’. Playing a character called Lady Jane who was a sort of cheery lead girl opposite Mark Lester who had starred as little ‘Oliver’ in the 1968 musical film version.

There I was, aged 18 going off to Hungary for 3 months to do my first job with Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch and Rex Harrison. These were just extraordinary people.

It was a wonderful experience. I have lots and lots of memories of those times Oliver Reed dropping his trousers on the dance floor.” she laughs mischievously. Then there would be fights breaking out in nightclubs. Really extraordinary off screen stuff happening.

The thing about Oliver Reed, was that he was brilliantly talented. He was a drunk, I mean he really was, and he had to be managed, but he was funny. I mean it was a nightmare for the producers I think, but he had a minder to keep him sober. There were some days he was turning up and he looked drunk yet he had no access to alcohol. He kept ordering oranges. He had piles of oranges, and he was peeling these oranges. What we didn’t realise until after, was that he was injecting the oranges with vodka.

When he was eating the oranges, he was absolutely getting sozzled.

 

From that experience I then got myself another agent, and I interviewed them. When I look back I think, ‘How the hell did I have the gall to do that?’ but I was very savvy. I got worse. I didn’t get any better.

felicity

Goneril | King Lear

Rehearsals | King Lear with Jonathan Miller, Michael York, Joss Ackland, John Nettles and Greta Scaachi

 

“I started out working in film and TV but I actually always wanted to work in theater. So I took a year out. My friend had a restaurant and I went and became a waitress for them for the next year. I then came back and auditioned for the Royal Shakespear company company, and something like 12 times.

You had to keep going back and keep seeing director after director. It was a golden age of the ‘RSC’ then, and all the young actors wanted to be there. I thankfully got in and worked for them. Then went back subsequently and did another few years with them at a later stage.

I did a lot of very interesting television. Television took over and it was becoming more the main stream medium at that point and brilliant TV. The days when the BBC was really an industry unto itself. They had their own designers, they had their own costume people, make-up, who went onto be Oscar winners.

I think it was the golden age of the BBC when we were all there. We used to go to what we called the North Acton Hilton, where they rehearsed, because you rehearsed almost 3 weeks for a television play. Then you’d go for lunch, and everybody was there. There would be John Cleese, doing Faulty Towers, Sir Ian McKellen would be doing Shakespeare.

Everyone in the business would meet on the top floor of what we called the Acton Hilton. Everyday if you were working there you would go, and you would meet old friends. It was like a club in a way.

Everyone worked very hard but it was less pressurised than it is now. I think people were less aware of a career strategy. It felt much more bohemian.

At Pinewood Studios, they used to have a working bar at lunch time. People would come in, and sit working with their drinks. Nobody does that anymore. It’s too uptight. I mean obviously it’s probably for the best because I don’t know how much work people got done but the quality from the work was amazing. The risk takes were extraordinary, the actors were absolute legends, who I worked with.

One of the great experiences that I have was at the National Theatre doing Henrik Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman. It was the last play that Paul Scofield did and also starred Eileen Atkins and Vanessa Redgrave. It was a absolutely brilliant experience working with those giants, really.

Paul schofielf

Paul Scofield’s final performance at the NT

Preparation for a role

“The first thing is to look at the text, look at the story, the characters within the story to gain clues. Clues as to the person, what is their psychological profile. Then keep going back to the text, re-reading scenes to discover more and more. It doesn’t matter if that’s film, TV or stage.

With stage parts, I would make sure if there’s physical characteristics, I’ll find the character with physicality which aligns with their psychological profile. If you start to align physicality and how you’re going to approach your character physically, psychological profile, then you start to have something that you feel you can work with. I always look for that.

A lot of it comes down to mechanicals, who you’re working with and what you’re hearing back. Really working out the art of the story, an illustration of the people. It’s particularly relevant in Shakespeare.

With theater especially, there is a huge amount of learning.

I will usually go through a script or the book and brake it down.Then I brake it down again. I keep working through in pieces. I will then go for a walk, somewhere I know will be peaceful and quiet, like a forest perhaps, and then read the lines out loud.

Talk to the trees, say it out loud. Just somewhere you feel you can be free. I always do that. I’ve always done that. I go for a walk, somewhere you can feel not so locked up. Then I try and find a voice for the character because that’s important. You find that through the text, within Shakespeare.

Shakespeare you actually find the character through the language because the punctuation is the thing that gives you speech pattens. You know from certain clues in Shakespeare where there’s a pause and actually if you look at it in the context of the play, you think ‘oh I understand why there’s a pause there’ because she’s actually drawing the sword from her hilt. There’s a natural pause.

With Shakespeare it’s slightly different because that gives you, the punctuation gives you the rhythm and also gives you the indication of the narrative and the emotional state of the character. It’s very, very close punctuation. You know that the character is taking breaths, so they’re agitated state. You can apply that to any text. You look at the rhythm of the text. You find the character through the language rather than the other way around. I see a lot of actors which I don’t like, try and fit the text to the character they’ve decided on. They don’t try and find the character. The writing is the key. We are interpreters. You get a great writer and it just translates. Its giving the writer their voice. I have a great respect for writers and also how they phrase is very particular. They write very particularly.

Also I would say that when you go on set, you look at it like a room. How familiar are you with that room. I got this from Vanessa Redgrave when I first worked with Vanessa on a film we did named Steaming. She went around the whole set, she touched everything. She picked up the cups, she drank, she sat down, she felt, she had a sense of spacial  dynamic. I do that whenever I go on set. If it’s supposed to be my sitting room, I make myself familiar in that room, so I can cross the room blindfolded.

It’s about taking in everything.”

felicity 2

What advice would you give to anyone new coming into acting?

“Well, I’d say not mine, but a great phrase from Constantin Stanislavski, the great acting teacher and stage actor and director; ‘Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art’. To me that says it all.

You’re not there to self-grandiose you’re there to work and interpret and be an artist.

Just do everything you can. Also I really, really believe in testing yourself with a live audience. Keep practising. If you want to just do movies, they are great to do but don’t get a feel, you get a barometer. Who you are, what you’re putting out. Is it connecting an audience, is it real? You don’t know that when you are doing film. Does it connect with an audience? You don’t know that until you have a live audience.

Is it believable yeah? Do you have an audience? Can you work with the energy of the audience know how to develop your craft. Just keep developing your craft I think. I would say that to all kids coming in.”

 

Special thanks to Felicity Dean for her interview with Public Description.

Links:

https://fishlove.co.uk

IMDb

https://twitter.com/felicityjdean

http://www.jillianedelstein.co.uk/

 

Malcolm Jeffries | Perfect Timing

 

Malcolm Jeffries 2Photographer: Ben Broomfield

“I’m loving it right now, and it feels very much like the right time for me.”

Timing is not always my strong point unfortunately, but when meeting a former male model and TV presenter they are bound to be all too familiar with fashionably late. Least I hoped. I met Malcolm Jeffries at his local pub which I had suggested, and immediately apologised for keeping him waiting. Malcolm is still very much the heartthrob I remember from my teen days. So feeling flustered, I offered him a drink, which he declined. He doesn’t drink. I started the interview off well. Late and had set up our interview in a noisy pub.Thankfully, the rest of the interview went much more smoothly. Phew.

If you remember ‘Just Seventeen’ then you almost certainly remember Malcolm Jeffries. When I was growing up and looking for escapism from homework and nagging parents, ‘Just Seventeen’ was the magazine I’d rush to the newsagents for every Wednesday. Especially if I thought Malcolm could be gracing the front cover. Which to my happiness, most often he was. So getting to meet my first ‘celebrity crush’ felt like being an awkward teen again.

Just Seventeen catapulted Malcolm to fame and was the stepping stone into TV presenting. He travelled the world. Hung out with the beautiful and cool, and led a life most of us only dream of, and all from a very young age. Including going on bended knee to propose to Kylie Minogue during an interview, to modelling in Arizona with a young Angelina Jolie. Yet when we discussed his early pin-up days, he remained modest, and even embarrassed at the career opportunities he had landed. I reassured him he made a lot of teenage fans (especially me) very happy back then, to which he found amusing.

IMG_0477

How did it start?

“I was 17 years old, working as a runner in the post room for the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. I was quite happy go lucky with aspirations of becoming a copywriter. I was in the lift one day, taking post around, as was my job, and about one hour later I got a call from my boss saying they wanted to see me on the creative floor. I’m thinking what have I done wrong. But what transpired was that when I was in the lift there was a commercial director in there at the same time who was casting for a commercial.

He had seen all the models that came up for the casting but questioned ‘I saw this guy in the lift, where is he?’

After describing to the team about the guy he’d seen, they realised he was talking about me.”

“I then got a call to go for a casting and I got the job. It was a Bovril commercial with Jerry Hall. It was a really good experience.The shoot was fun, and I liked the environment immediately.

The commercial was directed by Marek Kanievska, who also directed Less than Zero in 1987. Jerry played the pampered woman who has got everything, I presented her with a red cushion carrying a beautiful pair of Manolah Blahnik shoes but it’s dismissed for a cup of Bovril instead!

Amazingly, I earned more in that three day shoot than I did in the whole year. So I got an agent and it all started from there.”

Reproduced with kind permission of Unilever PLC and group companies.

 

From then on, Malcolm was catapulted to instant fame with a string of magazine covers behind him. Malcolm even got the opportunity to live in Tokyo for 8 months doing modelling assignments.

“I had just lost a really good friend of mine to AIDS. Ian Charleson, star of Chariots of Fire”

Ian who is also well known for his portrayal of Rev. Charlie Andrews in the 1982 Oscar-winning film Gandhi. Ian was diagnosed with HIV in 1986, and died in 1990.

“I was meant to fly to Tokyo that weekend, but wanted to stay for the funeral. So I cancelled my flight, and got a flight to go up to Scotland for Ian’s funeral.

The next weekend I flew out to Tokyo, emotionally a bit raw, and if you go to Milan, Paris you can still get around but Tokyo felt like a big step to take. I was so panicked as you cannot even read street signs. I felt scared and almost ready to get back on the plane.

I went to help desk for taxi to where I needed to go and a lady directed me in perfect English, so I immediately relaxed and had the best experience. ”

Malcolm also modelled under the name ‘Cassius’. This was used for fashion modelling assignments. His agent Annette Russell, owner of modelling agency So Dam Tuff had recommended this as he had become more synonymous with teen magazines and felt this would help him more with fashion bookings. Ironically ‘Mizz Magazine’, a rival of ‘Just Seventeen’ started booking Cassius as he wasn’t Malcolm seemingly unaware these were not two different people.

Upsettingly for both Malcolm and Annette, they lost many friends and colleagues to the Marchioness disaster which happened in the early hours of 20 August 1989. Annette, is one of only 80 survivors.

Malcolm was in LA at the time when he was woken early in the morning with a phone call from a friend and told the news. His agency re-launch party on a pleasure boat on the Thames had been struck by another boat. Malcolm had only been in LA for a week at the beginning of a year long stint at the time. “I was only 20 years old and I remember feeling so alone and helpless as the news came in over the next few hours that so many friends of mine had died. But, happily, so many also survived.”

TV Land

Malcolm

“I feel I have been incredibly lucky with my career.”

On the back of the success of ‘Just Seventeen’, Malcolm then moved onto TV presenting.

“One of the commissioning editors at ITV, were casting for a new Saturday morning programme in London, and asked his teenage daughter at the time ‘who is popular?’ As I already had a fan base, it was much easier for them to try and flag this. I went for a couple of meetings and a casting. I wasn’t nervous and felt natural performing.” but adds “Though I did used to have a problem learning my lines” he laughs.

The TV programme was, Scratchy and Co. Which was a CITV Saturday Morning show with a difference. Hosted by a character called Scratchy, played by Mark Speight as a crazy cartoon character come to life. Malcolm presented in the segment Massive! opposite Denise Van Outen, which was aimed at a slightly older audience.  The show aimed and succeeded to deliver a mix of good music, and showbiz news.

The BAFTA nominated show regularly beat rival show, BBC’s Live & Kicking, presented by Zoë Ball and Jamie Theakston. Massive! even boasted of being the first show to interview The Spice Girls with Denise Van Outen conducting the interview in a hot air balloon.

scratchy

Malcolm seen here with Carryl Varley, Elliot Henderson Boyle, and Mark Speight in the Scratchy & Co special Scratchy and Reg’s House of Hilarity | Photograph: ITV/Rex Features

Though the rivalry was just pretend as Malcolm was really firm friends with both Jamie and Zoë.

Even confessing to a crush on Zoë Ball, “She knew I always had a massive crush, but we used to just laugh about it. I think she also maybe thought I was joking. I remember us being invited to the same private press screening for ‘Romeo & Juliet’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio. So Zoë and I went along together and I said she was my date” laughs Malcolm. “I was so wowed as she had a little weep during the film and sort of wept on my shoulder. I think sadly a missed opportunity” he says humorously.

BraveMalcolm with Brave | Photographer: Harry Borden

Highlights

It is much easier to go through what Malcolm hasn’t done or even who he hasn’t met and interviewed but here are a few of Malcolm’s most memorable moments in his career.

  • Doing a catalogue shoot for Empire with Angelina Jolie in Arizona. “At this point she was ‘just’ a model. But the most amazing thing was that her father, Jon Voight also came to the shoot and I was totally star struck as we sat around drinking ice tea and chatting between shots” recalls Malcolm.
  • Interviewing Jeff Goldblum at the world premiere for the film Independence day. “When we met on the red carpet Jeff said when he saw me ‘you could play my son in the film’ and I was like yeah, yeah lets do that!’ I knew from my research he was a very good jazz pianist, so I started asking him about Jazz, and he seemed so relieved to not be asked more questions about aliens. PR were trying to move Jeff along but he kept waving them away and extended the interview especially.
  • “Most nervous was likely when we met Cypress Hill. I heard that they could be a bit awkward, and they had literally just come back from Lillywhites’ where they had bought cricket bats and were saying how much better they were than baseball bats. I was thinking this is going to be a nightmare but they just turned out to be really good fun.”
  • “Bjork had just won best female artist at the MTV awards, and I knew she had been up all night, not parting but because she had been doing so many interviews. We interviewed her on stage, when the whole venue was empty, and she walked in wearing this big parka jacket. She walked in, walked around, did a little twirl and then just literally fell flat on her face with the hood over her head. Everyone just all looked at each other. Thinking now what. She just lay there motionlessly, but then suddenly perked up and said lets do the interview now and was absolutely lovely. I was gobsmacked at how forthcoming she was with it.”
  • “I topped out when I was working on the show ‘Mad about Pets’ with blue peter presenter John Noaks. He was a presenter I grew up with. I could’nt believe it at times, and he was so much fun.We were always getting told off by the producers, as we were having too good a time, like naughty children. What got me into it really was my dog Brave, who was as famous  as I was and my love of animals.”

Challenging Times

Hearing Malcolm recall all the amazing highlights in his career it is easy to assume he has had it very easy. But this year in particular has proved to be testing. Malcolm had a cancer scare, which thankfully turned out to be benign, but tragically Malcolm faced this worry at the same time that his 86 year old adoptive mum had also been diagnosed with cancer. He was told she would have six months to live, but two weeks later she passed away.

“My mum was of the generation, where she would say ‘I don’t want to bother anyone.’ She was more worried about me, as I had just been given a scare and would say ‘we can be chemo buddies.’

Two weeks later she passed away, in a way it was a release as she was very scared. My sister and I fought hard to get her home. We were fortunate to get to say our goodbyes. Losing mum, has brought me and my sister closer, and mum would be proud of that.”

A few months later Malcolm needed surgery himself, for a hip replacement caused after a training accident some years beforehand where he had fractured his hip.  But up and walking the same day, Malcolm has soon got back to his best and is back participating with his other passion as a racing cyclist.

 

So what is next?

Malcolm Jeffries

Photography: Ani Sarpe

Malcolm has been studying acting, and is now preparing for his upcoming role in ‘Social Notwork’. Written by Sharon Tracy Wright. Directed by Adam Wollerton.

“One of the big dreams, and passions in my life is acting and it is something I realised last year. It has always been something Ive wanted to do and feel its never too late. The fact that I know how to perform, and I don’t have problems with my lines anymore helps.”  “Rehersing,  and the workshopping make me feel alive.”

“After a varied career, I would now love to finish school and become an actor, it is not essential but it feels like the right time for me.”

 

 

Special thanks to Malcolm Jeffries for his interview with Public Description.

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/malcolmjeffries/

Thanks also to Unilever for sourcing commercial footage for use on Public Description