Interview: Perth band "The Triangle Fight" turns their latest album into an experimental art film
Perth party-rock band TRIANGLE FIGHT are primed to premiere their self-made, experimental short film THE BLOOD GIANT: A Temporal Cantata, alongside an unconventional collection of shorts and clips from WA experimental filmmakers, animators and musicians. We spoke to the band before the premiere, which will be at a community screening event at Luna Palace Leederville at 6.30pm on Sunday 30 September.
What is A Temporal Cantata about?
A cantata is traditionally a religious work of classical music. Our album contains a progressive narrative from the point of view of an antagonist that believes in the divine righteousness of their malevolent actions. The temporal part of the title refers to the real world, and how the said narrative is just a part of history repeating itself.
There is a lot about the actual meaning of the album that we have to keep under our hats but, essentially, ‘A Temporal Cantata’ denotes a lofty reflection upon a dark part of humanity that is perpetuated and protected through sacred tradition.
What motivated you guys to produce this short film to accompany your latest album?
It was quite a simple decision actually. We've been making our own music videos since the band started, but they were always stand alone in nature, so when the idea of a concept album came up, one of the first ideas was to make a really long music video that went along with it. When we realised how involved this project was going to be, we stopped calling it ‘a really long music video’ and started calling it a film.
What were your main influences for this film?
There are two works of art that influenced this film equally.
Many years ago, I hired a DVD from my local video shop called The Cremaster Cycle: The Order by Matthew Barney just because the cover looked cool. I watched it through once and had no idea what that to make of it. It was this surreal performance art piece that takes place in a museum with an amazing and meticulously crafted visuals.
Before returning the DVD, I watched it again but with director’s commentary switched on and it blew my mind, as It wasn’t a drug-induced piece of sophisticated social commentary/journey into mental illness Instead, it was simply the story of Matthew Barneys personal struggle with getting into the Olympics (as I remember). I thought it was wonderful that a relatable, personal story could be told like that.
And the other was an 11 minute short film called This House Has People in It. It's a bizarre short story told through a series of surveillance cameras in a house. So unique and thought provoking, so I decided to look further into its meaning. I suddenly discovered a huge online community dedicated to deconstructing, decoding, and revealing huge secrets held within the short video. Hidden websites, documents, emails, audio clips, plus hours of extra video had been uncovered and still people were arguing over its meaning. Simply put, I was so impressed at how the story interacted with those that looked deeper that, after I showed the band, we immediately decided to tell our story in a similar way.
Can you tell us a bit more about the process of making the film?
We knew at the very beginning we had to get super organised as all the songs, along with the video, had to function as a single piece of work. We started with a couple of band meetings discussing the transformation of the true events into metaphor. From this, a huge amount of detailed world building went on. Every single character, every single part of the story both visual and lyrical was carefully crafted as a functioning part of a greater universe. Honestly, if we wanted to create more stories based on this world we could. But we never will. Side note: I uploaded the Blood Giant lore compendium and put the link in a very hidden clue within the film. It was a huge fuss but, in the end, it was all worth it. Even if the audience will never be able to see it, it helped us with the story telling and it was a bunch of fun to do.
So, once the story was adapted, we then broke it into 13 chapters that we would base each song on.
The first drafts of the film we came up with turned into a spectacular monster with crazy ideas that required a huge budget, lots of crew and equipment that we had no way of realistically obtaining. Plus, time was wearing on and we reached a point where the whole film was gonna end up a pipe dream.
So, we gave ourselves a deadline of two months and we re-wrote everything with a rule that we must stay within our resources and budget, which wasn’t much. But this is one of those times that I can say that pressure really produced a diamond, because now we were forced to be creative in an entirely new way, and it really resulted in an outcome that we believe turned out much better than if we had been able to go with plan A. The final plan was a crew of four, over a four day shooting schedule, using one cheap camera.
Fortunately, I had access to the rooms of an abandoned block of flats that I was living in at the time. This opened up several options for sets and gave us space away from public spaces.
One of the main ways that we cut down on shooting time was to film each song as a 'long take', which is a single shot without any visible cuts, and made the beginnings and ends of each chapter match up to give the feeling of one long continuous shot over the entire film. However, the challenge was to make each scene feel unique, without repeating the tone or angles. But, in the end we believe that we found ways to keep it visually varied and interesting.
The protagonist in the film, Kat Ludley is a long-time friend of the band, and professional actor based in Melbourne who generously agreed to be in the film amidst a busy shooting schedule with Neighbours. So she gave us four or five days to get everything done, and somehow it came together perfectly. We were immensely grateful for not only her time but for such an incredible performance.
In the end it cost about $20 to make.
There is bonus hidden content that can be found in the audio and film if you look really carefully. It unlocks a massive amount of bonus material relating to the deeper meaning of The Blood Giant. This includes the missing seventh track, extra videos, audio files, documents, images, google drive folders, and even the exhaustive and complete lore compendium of the world we built for this project.
What is your favourite movie of all time, and why?
Paulo - The 5th Element. I keep coming back to watch this film. The world they built is so immersive and intriguing and it feels like one of the last true classic sci-fi/action movies of my childhood.
Martin - 2001: A Space Odyssey, lately, because it's so dense with meaning and nuance.
Sofia - She’s All That. I liked it because I’m a sucker for really bad rom-coms and its funny when the chick becomes immediately hotter just because she takes of her glasses
Dan - Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. Because, in the end, you is what you is.
Can you tell us more about the album itself, The Blood Giant?
The album deals with something rather horrible that all of us in the band witnessed. And, out of respect and privacy, we've made a pact to not talk about it directly.
However, we carefully adapted it and have worked hard to keep true to the original events while keeping consideration and respect to the people and events involved. We re-dressed all the names, places and actions, with a parallel story of naivety that is eventually exploited, which then leads, ultimately, to corruption.
The lyrics are sometimes sarcastic, usually posing as a type of love song, but this is only when the story is being told from the perspective of The Blood Giant (not to be confused with The Blood King). The Blood Giant is the Antagonist.
What do you hope people will take away from the screening?
Behind all the artsy waffle and metaphor is a genuine desire to present the audience with something appealing at the most basic level. The whole point of the hidden layers of clues is to make the investigation experience completely optional. If you never decided to look deeper than the surface level, we hope that you still enjoy and feel excited by what we made. And if you are intrigued and choose to start pulling back the layers, we also want that to be a gratifying experience.