The week of April 20th marked two significant historical events.
- Posted on Dec 23rd 2010 2:30PM by Lonny Knapp
Getty | Brian O'Brien | WireImage.com
"Music video culture and advertising is destroying our attention spans. But I like to think that people are intelligent and don't need to be talked down to. You don't need to edit every three seconds to keep the viewer interested," Vollick tells Spinner.
For Black Dub, he captures musicians doing what they do best: creating music. Working solo, using ambient light, a few well-placed security cameras, and a handheld camera, Vollick films his subjects in one fluid take as they perform live. As in real life, there are few edits.
"Unless you blink or fall asleep, people see things continuously from one perspective. I just try and put people in the best seat in the house," he says.
In a world where digitally-enhanced film and music is the norm, Vollick offers something more authentic. Though his medium is film, this filmmaker is more concerned with conveying emotion than capturing the "perfect" image.
"There is a simple truth in seeing a musician delivering the most emotional of art forms, uninterrupted. Nothing is produced or created. They strike up the band, and a couple of takes later, we either get it or we don't," he says. "It's a model for what the music industry should strive for; talented people really delivering the business."
His black-and-white films are hitting a nerve with fans and musicians alike. In fact, Neil Young was so impressed with Vollick's work he insisted the videographer come along for the ride when he hired Daniel Lanois to produce his most recent album.
That record, 'Le Noise,' finds Young performing solo, using heavily-wired acoustic and electric guitars while Lanois slices, loops, and inserts elements back into the mix in real time.
Vollick captured each track as it was committed to the hard drive, and his 38-minute black-and-white film 'Le Noise Film' is perfectly suited to the raw intensity of Young's performance.
If the film connects on any level, Vollick credits his subject.
"Neil's a force. You feel his conviction in everything he says and in every note he plays," he says. "You just have to rise to the occasion,."
Vollick bought his first camera at a yard sale when he was six-years-old and promptly "fell in love with the magic of photography." Years later, he was working as a camera assistant by day and shooting local bands at night when he landed a life-changing assignment: shooting promo stills for Lanois' 2005 instrumental album, 'Belladonna.'
"What was meant to be an hour-long photo shoot became an eight-hour hang, and next thing I know, I'm on a plane to L.A.," Vollick says. "Now, I take care of all things visual for Dan. He's my patron, partner, and constant collaborator."
A man known for his boundless energy, Lanois now maintains exclusive rights to Vollick's services. Vollick admits that since "getting swept up in hurricane Lanois" he has had his hands full.
In recent years, he has directed the feature documentary 'Here is What is' (which corresponds to Lanois' 2008 album of the same name), commandeered Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square for the all-night multimedia art installation 'Later That Night at the Drive-In,' and, most recently, jumped into a tour bus with Black Dub to capture behind-the-scenes footage for a proposed VH1 documentary.
It's clear that Vollick digs his gig, and, for now, is content with a musician as a muse.
"You can learn a lot by hanging around musicians like Dan and Neil. They are so dedicated to their craft and it makes me want to be better at mine," he says. "I'm not a musician myself, so the wonder of what they do is not lost on me. It still makes the hair on my arm stand up."