The past couple of days we have had the chance to meet some especially cool people. The first were Bruce and Gabe.
Bruce is a graphic designer, he started a company called Post Typography. His interest in graphic design began in high school, where he published zines ( hand made magazines); he was scolded by his principle for making the zines. Bruce is a tall man with glasses, he seems quite nerdy. He was also part of post-punk band called Double Dagger. A double dagger looks like this: ‡, the band name and its songs paid tribute to typography.
Gabe is a photographer and film maker, he started Folk Hero Films. Like Gabe, his interest in aesthetic began making zines, he also got in trouble for their publications. Gabe’s first break as a photographer came when a National Geographic photographer took him under his wing. The photographer took pictures of tigers and rhinoceros, Gabe assisted. Once he got chased by a rhino while on the back on an elephant. His first complete story came with the documentary The Harvest. The Harvest explores and organization like Make a Wish, except these kid’s last wishes are to go on an epic hunt.
Through Gabe’s work on The Harvest he and Bruce began their collaboration. Bruce made all of the opening sequences for the movie, which consisted of old paintings of hunters. The main collaboration, however, has been working on Gabe’s documentary If We Shout Loud Enough. If We Shout Loud Enough is about Double Dagger, their influence on the Baltimore music scene, and their last tour before they called it quits. Gabe and Bruce epitomize many of the concepts that we have covered in class. They embrace the DIY spirit, through music, typography and film.
The second guests came to our class today. Scott Devendorf and Bryan Devendorf of The National and Ben Lanz of The National and Beirut. Together, they formed a band named Lanzendorf, a combination of their last names. I asked them how they felt about the concept of selling out, which we have discussed in class. Some background, about twenty years ago selling out meant anything to do with conforming to mass media. This included changing your sound to become more commercial or licensing a song to advertisements. They responded that they felt changing your sound was “not cool” but that some National songs have been on commercials and TV shows. They told us that musicians no longer make money from CD sales, so putting a song in a commercial is an easy way to make some money. They told us that they had never really meant to pursue music, but had always loved it. Lazendorf started when the opener for the National did not show up, it is experimental and jammy. They are playing a concert tonight!! Talking to people that have such a connection to the indie scene has been a true highlight of the class.