Published Oct 01, 2010In August, the Toronto International Film Festival announced that it would be hosting a live concert series this fall at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. Among the movie/music crossover events taking place at the theatre is a show featuring post-rock ensemble Do Make Say Think, who on October 5 and 6 will be performing a live score to accompany Erich von Stroheim's 1924 classic Greed. In a recent Exclaim! interview, multi-instrumentalist Ohad Benchetrit explained that the score will be a far cry from your typical Do Make Say Think album.
"We're definitely still rock-based, but we are using the horns quite significantly," Benchetrit says. "In this particular project we'll have three strings - a double-bass, a cello and a violin - so the strings will be there too. We're definitely playing with the 'score' kind of soundscape, and the textures that you would hear in scoring music"
Still, this doesn't mean the band will be abandoning their signature experimental rock sound anytime soon. "It's hard not to be who you are," he notes. "You put all of us in same room, we're going to sound like who we are."
Benchetrit admits that he hadn't seen Greed before the project began. Now that he's familiar with the film, he's become a fan. "There's some great cinematography, some great storytelling. There's moments where we were like, 'Wow, that's almost like Alfred Hitchcock, just the way that shot is set up. It predates Hitchcock by at least 20 or 25 years. To see that in probably one of the earliest films ever is pretty impressive."
This isn't the first time Do Make Say Think have performed a live score. At 2009's Luminato festival, they accompanied the German horror film Unheimliche Geschichten (Tales of the Uncanny), along with Owen Pallet and electro whiz Robert Lippok. Scoring Greed, however, has been a much more daunting project; not only are Do Make Say Think writing this one alone, but the film is much longer, clocking in at about two hours and 20 minutes.
"Because this isn't a modern movie," says Benchetrit, "there's no dialogue, there's no sound effects, there's nothing to get in the way or to make room for. It means we're basically responsible for every minute of film."
To get through the entire thing, the band picked out key scenes to work around, practicing with the film playing in the background at the rehearsal space. "We would attack portions of it - the portions that we thought were really important, or that were the very big scenes, the very impacting scenes - and then working our way to the spaces in between them."
Due to the film's copyright, he isn't sure if Do Make Say Think will ever be able to release the score officially. Still, even fans who can't make it out to the TIFF Bell Lightbox on October 5 or 6 won't have long to wait for new music. As the multi-instrumentalist notes, the band have no plans to slow down once this latest project is over.
"It's the same philosophy that we've had for the last ten years," he says, "just keep recording and keep making music."
For more information about the performance, head to the TIFF website here.