Thanks to all who attended our Infected The Movie season at London’s Institute of Contemporary Artsin September. Thanks also to the curator Tom Wilcox and our guests for the Q&A Tim Pope, Johanna Saint Michaels and Neil Fraser. The five nights were a huge success and seemed to bring back vivid memories for many people.
Back in April 2012 – the same week his youngest nephew was born – Andrew was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive type of brain tumour. He was given approximately 6 months to live. Yet he continually confounded his medical team by outlasting their predictions – he got his driving license back two years after the original prognosis and even bought and rode a new racing bike. It seemed like he was getting back to his old self and he and I excitedly hatched plans for collaborating on a new book project of his artwork.
Yet, ultimately this was a battle that just couldn’t be won and Andrew passed away on Monday morning. We were with him all the way through and he was surrounded by love until his last breath.
I never knew the true meaning of the word stoic until witnessing first hand the way he dealt with this horrific disease. Not a single word of complaint or self pity was uttered throughout his ordeal. Whenever I’d tell him how brave I thought he was, in typical Andrew fashion he’d just say “bravery and courage have nothing to do with it as they involve a choice but what choice do I have but to just deal with it?”
Anyone who knew Andrew will remember not only his huge talent as an artist and his perceptiveness and loyalty as a person but also his wicked, dark sense of humour. He and I had a very intense, complex relationship and we shared a childhood filled with creativity and fun. We also shared plenty of arguments and punch-ups over the years too!
After losing our beloved brother Eugene back in 1989 and our beautiful mum a decade later we really thought our dad and the rest of our family would be spared further tragedy. At this moment in time there are just too many tears and too much sadness for us to think clearly but my younger brother Gerard and I will do our best to carry on down the creative path our big brother first led us onto many years ago.
Andrew was, and will always remain, the single biggest influence and inspiration upon my life and career.
Do you know what would be amazing? If The The announced a comeback this week. I generally don’t have much patience for bands reforming. That depressing schlep to the Roundhouse for pissy-eyed sad dads on lager night. Bands who weren’t even that good in the first place, cramming themselves into girdles and putting on fedoras to hide the bald spots, end up looking like Wonga-generated bailiffs in the process. However, think about it for a second – Matt Johnson putting a large, killer band together and treating us to ‘Giant’, ‘Sweet Bird Of Truth’, ‘Infected’… that would be truly awesome. But here’s the thing – The The never actually threw in the towel; Johnson simply scaled down operations after 2000’s Naked Self, choosing to concentrate on his online audio presence, publishing and making soundtracks instead. And this, to my ears, is easily his best OST so far.
It’s a soundtrack to a brutal looking crime caper shot by his brother Gerard that deals with Albanian drug dealers and corrupt policemen in London. (I’ve not seen it yet but the photos on the packaging alone make me want to rectify this pronto – not to mention the news that it also stars the UK’s most terrifying man, Scouse actor Stephen Graham from Boardwalk Empire and This Is England, not to mention the CBeebies’ Jackanory reboot, Bedtime Story.) Johnson has dusted off some vintage gear, namely a MiniMoog and Roland SH101 as well as an array of analog effects and set it all up in conjunction with a tape delay feedback system, using two multi-head tape recorders; a setup innovated in the early 60s by Terry Riley (and his engineer) who called it the Time Lag Accumulator. It’s a rich, deep and very satisfying listen and those acquainted with Mind Bomb or Burning Blue Soul or Dusk for example will be surprised, I would imagine, at the sublime drones and narcotic ambient passages it contains.
It’s a Death Waltz production, so, y’know, it’s a lovely artefact: a gatefold sleeve double LP (one blood red vinyl disc, one blue disc with the band’s logo), a nice booklet and a sleeve that feels like it was fashioned out of lizard skin. Seriously – touch the sleeve of this LP. It’s what I imagine the fucking Predator feels like after a nice shower and exfoliating scrub. You know, I was talking to Stephen O’Malley once and he said… ha ha ha… he said that the reason that high end vinyl releases come in such high quality, shiny sleeves is… ha ha ha… because collectors like to… ha ha ha… er, no, actually, I’m not going to repeat that in case my mum’s reading. (And in case you didn’t know, there are rumblings of both a box set of Infected and a new The The album ‘proper’ coming out next year, so maybe we will get to see some kind of big live show after all. Watch this space.)
A note from Death Waltz Recording Co’s Spencer Hickman
Matt Johnson’s The The holds a very special place in my heart; Soul Mining (their debut album proper) is one of my all-time favourite records and still spins on my turntable regularly, as do its follow ups Infected & Mind Bomb. I consider Matt to be an exceptional songwriter and was saddened when he shied away from recording and performing back in 2002. However, some consolation was provided when he started to concentrate on soundtrack work, starting with his brother Gerard’s directorial debut Tony (which is an incredibly chilling serial killer film if you haven’t seen it) and well, you could say I was delirious when a mutual friend subsequently introduced me to Matt, suggesting that Death Waltz would be the perfect fit to release his soundtracks on vinyl.
I am really honoured to be releasing Hyena (once again directed by his brother); the film is an utterly brutal and devastating look at police corruption and human trafficking, and packs one heck of a punch, truth be told. The score on the other hand is dark, beautiful and unnerving; a fantastic doomy mix of electronics and more traditional instruments, touching on everything from Krautrock to industrial to techno, but always keeping melody and incredible tonal range at the forefront. It’s also unmistakably the sound of The The, featuring Johnson’s first vocal in 13 years on the mournful and devastating “Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven (But Nobody Wants To Die)”.
So here you have it: a brand new The The record, on sale tomorrow, housed inside a leather look gatefold sleeve that comes with a full colour booklet featuring sleevenotes from Johnson, a lobby card and two custom colour records (the second of which features an etching of the band’s logo on side 4), all wrapped up in the traditional DWRC Obi strip. I’m intensely proud of this record and I hope you like it.
We are pleased to announce the release of Hyena, soundtrack to the film of the same name. Released to coincide with the feature film’s release on March 6th it is available for purchase through this website.
Hyena is the third volume in the Cinéola series of film soundtrack releases and follows the critically acclaimed soundtracks for Tony (2010) and Moonbug (2012).
Each release is published as a deluxe edition CD/Book, packaged in hardback form and filled with additional and exclusive material including photographs, interviews, stills from the films and notes from the directors.
Cinéola, the independent film soundtrack company, was formed by Matt Johnson in 2005, since when he has composed distinct soundtracks for numerous documentaries and feature films.
Cinéola have also signed an exclusive licensing deal with boutique soundtrack label Death Waltz Recording Company (known for their work with legendary composers and directors such as John Carpenter, Richard Kelly, Alan Howarth and Fabio Frizzi) to release vinyl editions from the Cinéola catalogue.
Released in UK cinemas on 6th March, Hyena was written and directed by Gerard Johnson and follows his critically acclaimed debut, Tony. The film was recently announced as winner of the Official Fantàstic Òrbita prize in the ‘Best Feature Film’ category at the Sitges 2014 film festival and Peter Ferdinando triumphed in the ‘Best Actor’ category at the Les Arcs film festival.
The film reunites Johnson with Peter Ferdinando (A Field in England, Starred Up), who is joined by Stephen Graham (This is England, ‘Boardwalk Empire’), Neil Maskell (Kill List, ‘Utopia’), MyAnna Buring (‘Downton Abbey’, The Twilight Saga), Elisa Lasowski (Eastern Promises, ‘Game of Thrones’), Tony Pitts (‘Peaky Blinders’, War Horse), Richard Dormer (Good Vibrations) and Gordon Brown (The Riot Club, Bronson).
For those not lucky enough to be at the opening of this mixed-medium Anglo-Swedish production at RÖDA STEN KONSTHALL in Goteborg, Sweden, there is still time to head North and catch it in place until the first week of February 2015.
It features a projected audio/visual loop and the stunning new Radio Cineola Tower sculpture. This is just the first phase in an innovating Anglo-Swedish collaboration between Matt Johnson, Johanna Saint Michaels (filmmaker) John Tottenham (poet) Kate Wilkins (light sculptress) Jacob Sahlqvist (architect) and Lars Lincoln (blacksmith) that will be moving to other countries in various guises over the next 12 months.