When Arcade Fire crammed all seven members into a freight elevator to perform “Neon Bible,” Cold War Kids hopped on a random bus to play “God Make up your Mind,” and the Kooks serenaded school girls with “Ooh La,” one man caught it all on tape: Vincent Moon. The Parisian filmmaker couldn't stomach another MTV music video, and so, he teamed up with French music blog La Blogoteque's founder, Chryde, on the Take Away Shows, informal and impulsive short films featuring his favorite bands. Now, with his new Temporary Areas international film project, it's no longer just about the music...
You were a photographer first. Why did you start filming musicians? I just hate, hate music videos. I just think it’s a terrible way to represent music, it’s not even about the music anymore. I really tried to do something much more cutting edge with musicians. I approached all the bands I loved and didn’t really ask them what they wanted to do. I would just start shooting. So it would be before or after a show, when they were all in a rush. It’s more exciting to keep things improvised. We were like, “Let’s do it over there. Let’s see what will happen, if someone in the background is going to scream or start dancing!”
What inspired this style of film making? I’ve seen hundreds of movies, but there are not a lot that really show music in an interesting way to me. The ones that do are documentaries rather than musical films—great filmmakers filming musicians, like D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back. There was one movie made in the ’80s, Step Across the Border, which, to me, is the only amazingly successful attempt to create something with image and sound together. That movie just blew my mind.
What happens when there aren’t any more bands to shoot? So far I’ve only shot music, but with Temporary Areas—basically my new company and the website that is going to host all of my work—I’m trying to give the idea of an online cinema. It’s like, you know how Sufjan Stevens is trying to make an album for each state of the United States? Let’s just say I’m going to try to make a movie—it could be a short movie or a long movie—about each country in the world. I would prefer to make one about each person…but that might take too long.
What were you filming yesterday in Israel? There is this young guy from Ramallah who created an art community. You can send them a sentence online and they will go and write it on this wall. And they use the money they make for the community; it’s incredible. On the second day, I was filming a guy who runs music schools all over Palestine so I went with him to teach music to kids.
And tomorrow? Well tomorrow, I’m going to the All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival in England, the best music festival ever. It’s very small and everyone lives in houses together; I mean everybody—fans and artists, all mixed up. It’s super exciting and I’m shooting a 45-minute experimental documentary about it with radical, very abstract images. There is also this project that I’m starting now with my best friend where we go to different parts of the world and play music with the musicians. I don’t really remember all my projects [laughs]! SAMANTHA GILEWICZ