INTERVIEW: Adam Green | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Adam Green’s transformation into a cinematic visionary began with a simple method of curing the boredom that goes hand-in-hand with touring, but it soon evolved into something all the more grand. All it took was the encouragement of a certain former child actor turned indie maverick…

“When I was touring around 2009, Macaulay Culkin joined up with me. We were just hanging out, and I showed him the first three scenes of a film I’d been making with my band for fun on my iPhone, and he said ‘This is great! I’m in!’, and then I was suddenly making a Macaulay Culkin film that everybody wanted to be a part of!” As the tour ended, Green’s passion for the project grew all the more wild. The finished film, The Wrong Ferarri [sic] – a  labour of love, filmed from a script that was written on index cards during long tour-bus journeys – made it clear that Green had found his new calling. Suddenly, the anti-folk pioneer could add ‘cinematic auteur’ to his ever-growing list of talents.

The result of nearly four years of hard graft, Adam Green’s Aladdin finds the musician treading deeper cinematic waters. “I chose to adapt Aladdin because it’s the ultimate story of love trumping the promise of unlimited wealth for free.” Indeed, he takes the blueprints of the legendary tale and refits it to become a satire of modern life. “I feel a little bit like I’m being possessed by technology. Almost like my soul is being ripped apart from my body and I’m being forced to view it in the third person on the internet. [With Aladdin I’m] trying to react to that feeling.” The surreal, psychedelic world of Aladdin – which takes influence from Jean Debuffet, UHF and The Cabinet of Dr. Cagliari – is cunningly constructed entirely from papier mâché. “The film takes place in a video game, so I decided to create a video game dimension out of card and paper. I wanted to satirise technology and also tell a story of love that I found on Earth. Although the world of the film is rather unreal, the film itself is far more autobiographical than your average movie.”

I chose to adapt Aladdin because it’s the ultimate story of love trumping the promise of unlimited wealth for free

Aladdin is more than simply a movie, it is the embodiment of all of Green’s creative endeavours. “I realised that I could approach film as if it was the ultimate alchemical medium. I could make it the purest representation of my brain. The whole thing, to me, is a giant piece of folk art.” After talking with great passion about the whole thing, Green quickly deadpans: “It was actually the most stressful experience of my life.”

The soundtrack finds Green channelling a number of different genres at once; Fix My Blues and Do Some Blow are quintessential anti-folk, whilst Nature Of The Clown is psych funk, and Me From Far Away is a Scott Walker-esque ballad. The soundtrack itself foregoes any clichés, being a unique foray into what Green christens “bubblegum psychedelia”. “I wanted it to sound like I’d hired a bunch of cool cats from 1971 who dropped some acid an hour before the session and came out with this smooth-ass shit! I wanted it to be groovy as hell.”

A follow-up to 2010’s Minor Love is also up for completion. “It seems less daunting to do another album than it would be to make another movie. But I’d love to make another movie. Maybe a war film made out of papier mâché that takes place in the afterlife?”

The film (and soundtrack) Adam Green’s Aladdin is released on 12th May. He plays Newcastle Riverside on Saturday 28th May.

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