Delaney Davidson ~ New Zealand’s very own travelling troubadour, loop maestro, noir protagonist, promotional coyote and production svengali is now also the star of his very own documentary, Devil In The Parlour, which is a part of the Doc Edge Film Fest that gets underway in Auckland this week. Featuring live tour footage with his Ghost Orchestra at the iconic Wunderbar in Lyttleton and unreleased incidental music written on the road, Delaney was kind enough to tell us a little bit more about the film, ahead of its Auckland Premiere on June 3rd.
A combination of Harley Williams [Director] and Russell Film Productions are the ones to thank for making this creation come to fruition, Delaney reveals. “They’ve been asking me for years to film a live show and make a documentary,” he announced. “I always end up in such amazing and weird places, so I’ve been capturing footage on my iPhone for years, because it just seems like a dream otherwise. So the documentary as a whole, is a combination of all this weird footage from around the world, our live show in Lyttleton and then there’s a little bit of my story in there too” Delaney revealed. “It’s kind of what tour is like somehow.”
“It’s a live show recorded and filmed, and in that way it’s really important because you can never replicate a live show,” Delaney exclaimed. “You can try record it or film it and do everything you want, but you’re never going to get that same feeling you get at a live show, so I guess this [Devil In The Parlour] is as close to that as possible. Then with all of the footage cut into it is as well, that somehow helps you mould things together. Like when you’re at a live show you’re not just seeing the band or what’s on stage, you have all of these images in your head and you might daydream or go into a kind of trance, especially with the music I make,” he proclaimed. “There’s a lot of long, repetitious sound-scales that are somehow quite visual as well, so the extra footage and pictures help create that story and show the vision I’m trying to bring across,” he concluded
The idea of releasing a ‘live-recorded album’ has always been there, Delaney admits. “Every time I play a show, people come up to me and ask what album a particular song is on and the answer is always none, because when I go into the studio, I approach it very differently to how I approach a live show,” he declared. “I recorded the Devil In The Parlour record in Los Angeles and released it on Record Store Day last year, and it just seemed natural that the film would carry that same name, because it is still an extension of that idea of a live show.”
“The trailer is actually a really good representation of what is in the film, because it has a lot of those flavours, just explored in more depth,” Delaney went on to explain. “There’s a couple of philosophical meanderings as I often get stuck in that vain of just wondering why things are how they are. I like to think of different ways to look at things that might make them easier to understand, such as sympathetic views instead of cynical and gaining some idea of understanding people,” he went on. “Then there’s a couple of stories about touring, what it’s like, and that connection with the audience, as well as a look into my creative process, a little bit on Lyttleton and some general observation on human beings.”
“We spent one night filming the live show and then all of the travel footage has been taken over the last few years,” Delaney continued. “I also gave Harley a whole lot of demos to include, so there’s quite a lot of strange sound recordings in there too,” he confessed. “I’ve always been interested in that idea of where creative processes come from and what processes happen when this material seemingly comes to your mind from nowhere and becomes a song, it’s totally fascinating!”
With strong visually stylistic elements apparent throughout the documentary, Delaney let us in on his early film influences. “I was really influenced by German expressionism movies and those older english movies,” he confessed. “Ealing was a studio in the UK that put out all of these black and white movies that I’ve been watching for years and I’ve always been really fascinated by how much the actual medium tells a story itself,” he explained. “I guess a lot of it is looking for what I see as the cinematic in life, because there’s so much of it there, you just need to take the camera out and the world starts to appear.”
“I could get really fascinated by all of the travelling footage and sounds of the music,” Delaney recollects his first time watching the completed documentary. “I’m not a big fan of watching myself in a movie, and I’ve done that show so many times, it’s scary to hear a recorded version. In a way, these songs are so open and floating and they change all the time when I play live, so when I hear a version that’s locked down, it kind of feels like a butterfly captured in a glass case.”
“The idea of going to see something on a big screen is totally different nowadays,” he then announced. “It’s a much more rare occasion than it used to be. Back in the day before tv was around, that was the only way we’d see anything. But now we see stuff all day long on our phones and computers, it’s crazy how things have changed so much. But then that makes the idea of taking a smaller, more intimate film, such as this, into a bigger, monumental cinema setting, also really interesting,” he confessed.
So following the Doc Edge Fest, plans are loose,” Delaney admits. “We’ll start with the Doc Edge Fest and then see where that leads us,” he exclaimed. “It seems so different now in what happens with movies and where they end up. Obviously social media is a huge platform for most things these days, so I guess we’ll just see where it goes, but I’m definitely curious to see what sort of interest there is for this,” and with the premiere looming only two weeks away, that we will, indeed.
Devil In The Parlour is playing at the Q Theatre on June 3rd & 4th and I would highly recommend heading along to see it, because if you haven’t figured it out yet ~ There’s not much Delaney can’t do well.