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Music Matters films: John Martyn & Kate Bush by Elliot Dear

David Knight - 20th May 2010

Music Matters is the new campaign backed across the music industry to highlight the importance and value of music, and to educate consumers on how to identify legitimate music services.

It has a dedicated website, events planned around the UK, and has the support of leading music retailers. And the campaign was launched in March with a series of seven short animated films about inspirational artists who have dedicated their lives to music and contributed greatly to the cultural landscape.

Working within the campaign concept, different up-and-coming filmmakers and animators have given their interpretations of the lives of those artists, from influential bluesman Blind Willie Johnson to The Jam, to Sigur Ros and Nick Cave.

Bristol-based Elliot Dear - aka Winter Champion - is the only filmmaker who tackled two films, telling the stories of two remarkable musicians: John Martyn and Kate Bush. "I come from a background in illustration, but feel that I can say a lot more with moving image, as it allows me to incorporate sound and music," says Elliot. "I think that music and animation often go hand in hand very well and can complement each other to become something more than they could be on their own."

Elliot Dear: "When I heard about the project, I had been listening to a lot of John Martyn. He has always been a favourite in our family and I grew up with his music always in the background - my mum listening to it or my brother learning how to play his songs on the guitar. But it wasn't until I saw recently, a documentary about his life, that I began to realise how interesting he was as a person and how unusual both his personal and professional lives had been.

"I was fascinated to learn about the contrast between his boisterous and mischievous tendencies and his beautiful, soulful music. I decided to use his story to pitch my aesthetic ideas for the Music Matters project, as I thought he was a person worth telling people about. People agreed."

ED: "It was suggested to me that I use Kate Bush's story for the next film. My previous experiences of Kate had been limited to her most well known songs (Wuthering Heights, Running Up That Hill), but after hearing her albums coming from the room of one of my housemates, I realised there's a lot more to her than meets the eye. I learned that she has an interesting philosophy and approach to making music.

"Of course, Kate's visual performances are as powerful as her music, and the eccentricity displayed would probably distract many people from the music itself. I thought it was important to capture the essence of what Kate Bush is visually - smoke machines, flowing cloth, wind in the hair, sparkly things - and use them as devices in the film. I thought a fairy tale storybook format would be the most fitting way to present her story.

All of the films can be found at the Music Matters YouTube channel, and further films are scheduled to be released during the course of the year.

David Knight - 20th May 2010


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Elliot Dear

David Knight - 20th May 2010

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