“The main goal was to create music that would enhance and drive the film…My fundamental role was to understand and synthesize what it was that Andrew [the director] was looking for, and develop it in the most complete & appropriate way – many times without any visuals having been done at all…I was to be the extension of Andrew’s musical ideas, a technician, and a collaborator in most things audio.” – Jacob Klein
When we’re about to watch a film, we tend to assume that we’re about to engage in a story – most of the time with a beginning, middle, and end; most of these stories are made with the intent to be watched by an audience and, mostly, for an audience. For this weeks EXPOSED crew member, composer & sound designer Jacob Klein, that’s mostly true, except for the fact that the director’s intentions relied on filming his travels in 2016, becoming a memory you can visually see. In this beautiful, musical collage, Jacob Klein lent a hand in helping create an atmosphere full of retro-melancholy nostalgia.
“It was so freeing and liberating to create “songs,” without contemporary pop structure…something about the task and concept of this project, and the unique collaborative dynamic that Andrew and I created between us… I just remember it feeling like a big “sigh” of relief, and it was just this freeing thing…it really formed my approach to songwriting and changed a lot of how I approached music creation of any kind from there on.” – Jacob Klein
Andrew and Klein had gone to high school together and worked on various projects over the years, but this was the first time that the two collaborated with each other. During college, Andrew and Klein stayed in touch, despite Andrew studying in Europe for a semester. During his time there, Andrew sent Jacob some ideas for Woes of a Lotus, and immediately Klein got a sense for the film.
“I remember reading that draft and immediately seeing it and hearing it – the whole thing. I’d describe it as this ambiguous grey, yellow, purple, blue, red orb of an idea and feeling…” – Jacob Klein
Not even a year later, the two had 12 completed tracks for the film – but this isn’t without effort. The two would come together five or six times in person, working together to bring the idea into fruition. Andrew and Klein would compose & arrange the core components of the music, but Jacob would engineer, record, mix and master what the two came up with. They would send mixes back and forth, and continue to make developments along the way.
“Andrew would send me descriptions, or dictate moods, feelings, & sounds, and I would try to decipher them, compose, and record them…I acted as an extension of him, as well as an objective second set of arms and ears. We’d spend anywhere from an hour to a full day just trying to get the right core piece, or the right feeling established.” – Jacob Klein
There was no shortage of inspiration or research. Klein focused on a certain quality of sound, and worked hard to sculpt colorful, fleeting effects. He listened to Aphex Twin, Brian Eno, and the most recent Beach House records in order to better understand what he was trying to capture. Jacob had been listening a lot to the music from Drive, and took note on how it created so much emotion in a movie that had little dialogue.
“We were also really enamored with the way Pink Floyd managed to thematically tie-in these sound effects throughout The Dark Side of the Moon, and how they had it come across as a part of the music. That’s something we really went for here. There’s a whole maze of thematic sounds that we placed in nearly every track and it’s all there for a very specific reason.” – Jacob Klein
This project doesn’t sound like it would be the easiest to bring to life, and for Jacob, it certainly wasn’t. It took a lot of patience to power through, and perseverance to make it to a final product that both Klein and Andrew were happy with. In order to get the best and most satisfying piece, you can’t settle.
“I also always enjoy exploring the intimacy that comes with collaboration – it’s a reminder of how important it is to throw your ego out the door, not be too attached to ideas, about how to show up and be a chameleon and do whatever needs to be done.” – Jacob Klein
Thank you Jacob Klein for your work on Woes of a Lotus! It’s a wonderfully creative and ethereal project, and I know our readers enjoyed learning more about the process as well. To hire Jacob or connect with him, please select the ABOUT ME on his photo!
Thank you for watching this week’s Exposing the Crew “EXPOSED” indie project!
(We just want to do our part in supporting the indie community!)
We’ll See You All Next Tuesday,
Samantha George (Producer, JJack Productions)