David Slade Interview
In 2008 I was the Art Director for an apparel line called Artcotic which we made with Huge Brands. Here is some of the t-shirt art that was created and interviews that were on the website.
DAVID ALDRIN SLADE…film director, photographer, ex journalist, fine art graduate, piss artist, father to an excellent German Dachshund and husband to the love of his life.
David is the director of the films, Hard Candy, 30 Days Of Night and The Twilight Saga Eclipse and in television the Pilot and Finales for NBC’s Hannibal.
Interview with DAVID SLADE by Alex Lodermeier/Artcotic (Interview from 2008).
ARTCOTIC: ” With getting your start, sort of speak with music videos, tell me more about your involvement in the uk music scene?”
SLADE: I started out making fanzines in Sheffield, England, I used to put them in a small record shop with run by two skate punks Rob Mitchell and Steve Becket, they were getting going with a small recording studio called FON, later they would form WARP records and we would talk about making films one day. In the meantime I did two music videos for them one for a band called LFO and another for a band called Aphex Twin. Steve and Rob (who passed away in 2001 – rest his soul) would give me access to their studio to interview bands and the occasional producer that passed through for my fanzine.
At that point as I was 16 it was called DAMAGE, an on the nose teenagers name I suppose – but I was also learning film by doing it, I never went to film school and I was hanging out with Skaters, BMXers and bands, getting commissions writing for subculture and skate magazines as a journalist and writing tons of fiction, usually existential Spinoza crap, but it all crystalized into short films I would make on videotape when I went to study fine art for my degree later.
In the meantime I got to be on the fringes of the most exciting local music scene in Sheffield, Cabaret Voltaire were still together, New Order were in their mid days, Pulp were in the early years, there was a huge industrial scene, bands like HEAD OF DAVID would attract Steve Albini to produce at FON and I went down to interview him, on his suggestion I got into Killdozer and also became A lifelong Big Black, later Rapeman and Shellac fan. I saw Shellac play at the Echo in Los Angeles a year or so back and they rocked my socks off.
Warp records formed and got a proper office, I produced edited and directed segments of a completely computer animated video for a compilation of warp bands. This was not your typical rave video, we had really advanced computer animation with existential and abstract narratives, with bands like Autchre, Polygon Window, Richard H. Kirk involved.
ARTCOTIC: “What genres and bands were/are your favorite?
SLADE: Right now I am regressing into Drum and Bass playing this one Photek album from Mo wax over and over in a loop, but I listen to everything from Electroclash which as a movement has a few lights in the dark, to early Country Swing, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Other bands I have been listening to lately…Smog, Nick Cave, Waldeck, Carl Stalling, Early Misfits, Sonic Youth, Merzbow and Burzum, The Horrors, Foetus has a new album LOVE which I can’t get enough of, The Philip Glass Soundtrack to the Paul Schrader film Mishima then of course most things that come out of WARP excite me, I am really into BATTLES and SQUAREPUSHER right now.
ARTCOTIC: ” Knowing that you write music yourself, would you ever consider writing a score for one of your films?”
SLADE: Oh no, not since I met Brian Reitzell, he is a genius I hope he will score every film I do.
ARTCOTC: ” Not many people know that you’re a “Renaissance Man” of the arts, not only in film, but also with animation, illustration, and graphic design. With that being said is it nature or nurtured within you?”
SLADE: Oh I don’t have a single blood relation who so much as listens to music, I am the black sheep of the family from a little mining town in the North of England, so its definitely some form of creative self immolation that leads to all this, my life has been sadly lacking in mentors and influences artistically – I just get excited about and idea and won’t put it down until I have got something done, be it an abstract form of film imagery, a short story about Wim Wenders fighting with Antonioni, an animated short painting or what have you. I don’t write poetry, poetry is for Spanners who can’t take their prose.
ARTCOTIC: ” Who is your favorite existentialist? Do believe today’s society needs more existentialists? Or just free thinkers in general.”
SLADE: I suppose the master existentialist writer Camus had something, I mean the Plague is a novel I could read continuously, but I can’t stand Sartre and Nietzsche makes me get the giggles. I don’t know right now I think there are too many free thinkers and not enough motivated activists, I don’t mean in a political but a cultural sense. I don’t want to read your abstractions about it, I’m too much of a Phenomenologist nihilist to care, I just want to see and experience something new and exciting. I’d rather read Richard Dawkins than Kierkegaard.
ARTCOTIC: “You have mentioned that you have a few new film projects in the works this year. Can you give us a few hints of what to expect next from you?”
SLADE: Oh god, everything is so fluid like now, you know I am trying to maintain that “Mind Like Water” attitude, I am attached to direct and adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ book Lunar Park, which is an amazing project adapted by an amazing young writer called Lane Shaggit, what a burden that name, but still I digress, the strike we have been sitting fully financed with a great script and no actors. There are a couple of other things, a really political script which is also darker than anything I have ever read, and I am working on a Sci Fi that I am want to develop with Richard Taylor who runs Weta in New Zealand, we have talked about it a lot.
ARTCOTIC: ” It seems that you are very much interested with human psychology, when looking at new projects is that something that you look for in a script? A story that attempts to explain the mind and brain in context to real life?”
SLADE: Well, I find it difficult to align with any existing political, artistic or philosophical movements. So I find myself unable to accept ideas through the tropes of some one else’s structure. As a result I find the anthropologist in me draws me to work outside of traditional values of morality. As a rule I am generally looking for something that really makes me have to adjust my thinking. I try to keep my thinking fluid. Sorry if that sounds ambiguous but its a tough question.
ARTCOTIC: ” What scares you? Socially, politically, or psychologically.”
SLADE: Blindness, random violence, a demise that is beyond my control,pretty uninteresting universal themes there.
ARTCOTIC: ” How many cups of coffee have you had this morning?”
SLADE: Oh I am cutting back. As I write this I am in London for a couple more days, I am drinking Tea as it is difficult to get a decent cup of coffee. IN Los Angeles I will go through probably five espressos in a day, which is an improvement for me, really I used to drink double that.
ARTCOTIC: ” Last thoughts on the fate of mankind?”
SLADE: Oh the small stuff then.
I am a little fatalistic right now, there’s so much burying of heads in sand going on in the US, people are finally beginning to recognise that the environment is dying but its far too late, and I am conflicted.
In England right now people talk endlessly about how they can preserve energy, people use Blackle rather than Google to save power output on their laptops and it is really making such a tiny difference, I mean every little helps but I kind of wonder whether its a form of conscience appeasing for most people, you know driving a Hybrid or what have you. I applaud it all, but the planet IS dying and I really believe it is too late to resuscitate it, and eventually we will have to come to terms with life on a corpse. That’s why I am so down on existentialism.
Alternatively perhaps there will be huge developments in Nanotechnology that will boost our intelligence, fix all of the problems in the biosphere give us pattern identities for our consciousness so we will be free from our bodies.
I really wish you hadn’t asked that question.
For more David Slade: http://thechromatic.virb.com/