Sarah Davachi about her VIDEODROOM show

We talked briefly to composor Sarah Davachi about her upcoming performance during Videodroom where she will play a newly written soundtrack for the film 'Portrait of A Young Man'.


I'm curious to know what your personal relation is with film in general? And what interests you as a composer to work with cinema / moving image?

I of course love film in and of itself, but I find that I can gather a lot of inspiration and understanding for my music when I engage with film, probably just from the way in which it can express the same sorts of ideas but from a completely different perspective and set of tools.  Overarching feeling and texture are things that interest me quite a lot in music and I think these production aspects of film are also probably the most striking for me, more so than narrative.  As a composer, I am particularly interested in how sound can function in relation to extremely non-narrative visual sequences, especially ones that are slow moving or focused on detail.  I don't like the traditional concept of sound in film, which suggests that the music is subservient to the image, or that the music is only there to direct mood and emotion.  I think that the two can work in tandem to reveal things within each other that would not have been perceptible otherwise.

What were your first thoughts when viewing 'Portrait of a Young Man'? How did you wanna tackle this specific project?

This film is very much up my alley, so to speak, and of course it reminded me in many ways of the films of the late Paul Clipson, who was a close friend and frequent collaborator of mine.  I was shocked at the conceptual basis for such an early film and intrigued by the abstractions of image especially for that time period.  So I think my initial feeling was to approach the music in a way that was similar to how I would work with Paul, which was not to attempt to match or mirror the movements of the film necessarily, but to create another dimension for which to understand the movements, on a different scale.  And to allow the image to suggest a natural direction in my music while I was composing the score as well.  In keeping with the film, I also worked in three somewhat distinct sections.


Is there anything particularly scary or exciting when doing a project like this?

The timing and synchronization!  When I perform live without accompanying visuals, my sense of timing is much more loose and responsive to the real-time moment or the acoustic space.  This performance will require me to be a bit more precise with my timings, more like a virtuosic performance in that sense, and I'll also need to refer to the film in the moment, which will slightly take me out of my world of the instruments.  I'm not so used to that way of performing, so it required some practice and preparation that is unique from my usual routine.