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Hawkwind

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The Lyrics
 

Duchy Parade Film's Latest Project                             

Hot off the presses, the latest project through Duchy Parade Film's doors is a music video for the timeless Space Rock band Hawkwind. Featuring a new version of the all time classic track Spirit of the Age.


The Track
The original recording of Spirit of the Age first appeared back in 1977 as the opening track on Side One of the album Quark Strangeness and Charm. The album featured several tracks that have become part of the band's staple performance catalogue. At a time when punk was all the rage the album showed the band on form and deserving of the sometime used title of Hawkwind as Ambient Anarchists. The album remains a collector's prize.
The original Spirit of the Age is credited to the pens of the highly creative partnership of Dave Brock and Robert Calvert.

Remixed, recorded and reworked by the current line-up of Dave Brock, Alan Davey and Richard Chadwick as a thumping modern track, the music has lost none of its energy or classic value but gained a new dynamism with its scarily contemporary lyrical content. On the inner-sleeves of the original release the band make reference to feeling of being 'back in touch with the modern world.' In 2004 the track could not be more so, in an age of cloning and talk of cryogenic freezing.
In the beginning………...
The band approached Peter Kershaw at the end of last year about directing the video.

"Amongst other feature projects I've been busy working on, I'm particularly interested in a Sci-Fi story which Kris Tait was aware of, and I think it was partly this that led her to approach me about making a video for the single."
 

 

i
© Hawkwind
"What I liked about the project was the fact that the band wanted to make the video and release the single regardless of their music not being the kind of pre teen music that seems to dominate the single charts. Hawkwind are a serious bunch of musicians who write and perform their own music. They just wanted to go for it and that appealed."

Working with Hawkwind you soon realise that actually, there are a lot of people who have the odd album and more so, who have seen the band and never forgotten it. Not all would you guess are the kind of hard rockers you'd expect from a band that included Lemmy in its line-up.
This new version of Spirit of the Age features the vocals of Matthew Wright. Know through his column, radio shows or to television viewers as the sharp presenter of C5's daytime news topical magazine show - The Wright Stuff. Matthew had himself been one of the army of fans who had been birthed on the heady mix of music, ideas, visuals and showmanship associated with the band. "Once bitten they are in your blood."


Peter Kershaw talking over the shoot with Matthew Wright

© Hawkwind photo by Alicia Clarke, Photographer


© Hawkwind
 

Hawkwind have always been a band you experience, however you interpret that, their shows have always been an event and the magic of a group of professional musicians who don't take themselves just the music seriously. For the sharp eared the single includes the vocal musical instrument of 80's pop icon Lene Lovich. Lene adds an unexpected element to the music's bright mix.
 

The video


As a starting point, the video had a strong lyric base.
 

Read the Lyrics


 


© Hawkwind photo by Melvyn Vincent, photographer

The song divides naturally into two parts. Dave had decided to reflect this in the recording of the track's lyrics with Matthew taking lead vocals on the first verse and Dave himself on the second.

Decisions over how to style the track were then informed by the fact Hawkwind are the masters of Space Rock. Whilst many can claim to have dabbled from Pink Floyd to David Bowie, Hawkwind remain the connoisseurs of the sound.

Hawkwind's current line up with Dave on guitar, keyboards and sequencers, Alan Davey on Bass and additional sequencer sounds, backed by the dynamics of Richard Chadwick on drums and percussion give the band a solid bed of musicianship. In short they can play.

Hawkwind has always been as strong visually as musically, and normally for the full experience, you want to see them live. Visuals and lighting have always been hallmarks of the band's appearances and you have the key elements that informed the creative decisions on what we'd try to include in the video.
"As I understand it, as part of experiencing Hawkwind's music there has always been a tendency to let the listener bring their own interpretation to the table. So I didn't want to be too prescriptive to try and overdo the narrative of the lyrics and have one of those naff actor's stories playing out while the band fill in the background. In my thinking Hawkwind wanted to be front and centre."
As mentioned, as well as appealing to a wide audience and more so when the band reaches the ears of new listeners, Hawkwind have a very large and loyal fan base. With this connection, we decided to incorporate 'fan' involvement into the making of the video.

A trade mark of Duchy Parade Films has been the mixing of live-action with animation and new technology and techniques. Spirit of the Age was going to be no exception.

The Makers
In contrast to today's 'spirit of the age' with normally massive music budgets and long shoots for videos, the filming and budget elements on our Spirit of the Age were all short and tight, giving the making process a fast and furious pressure.

Duncan Storr is known to many Hawkwind devotees for his artwork on the double album cover, Live Chronicles

 


Although Duncan has in fact worked for countless bands on a number of album covers and his illustration skills can be seen on countless sci-fi book covers.

Duncan worked on images of the frozen woman whose 'time held dreams' fill the vocalist's mind.
 

To give the android from the song an edge, the talented Award winning duo Robert and Jan Jefferson devised memorable animated images, which had to be created and filmed around the usual hive of high industry demands from their own film projects.
 

Since 'The Dark lantern' ( See other section on this web-site), Robert and Duchy have been in discussion about adapting the Lantern series with MTV in mind.
 

For Dave Brock's lead vocals about cloning we needed a completely different style of animation and a different feel to the imagery. This was provided by the traditional drawn animation of David Bunting and the evocative imagery of 'Dolly' the cloned sheep.

 

Style and Content

       

 

We flow from imagery of a science lab with microscope and pipette dish into the idea of the band playing in space.

 

Both Robert & Jan and Duncan's artwork was devised to give the opening to the song a sort of almost nostalgic space rock imagery feel that accompanies Matthew Wright's vocals.
 


"There is a sense of macro and micro about the track  - macro space travel to micro cells and cloning. I wanted to reflect this mix in the video. Also, much is made of 'imagined' and 'dreamed' about images in the mind's eye. We edited the sequences in layers like elements to give the sense of the animation as being in the mind of the vocalist.
 
Duchy Parade Films are developing a Sci-Fi feature project with the traditional drawn animator David Bunting so he was a natural choice for the cloning imagery. Early on from talking to the band sheep came to the fore as a theme with the now dead 'Dolly' remaining the most recognised image in the popular imagination of cloning, as any visit to the science Museum in London will demonstrate.
 
David completed the images of Dolly just in time before going to work on the special effects animation for the opening title sequence of Working Titles' feature film, Thunderbirds.


The Dolly sequence had been devised originally for a Screen Yorkshire/Film Council backed early stage development for Duchy Parade Films Sci-Fi project - The Mirrors of Illusion.
It was an added bonus to be able to include David's hard graft and creation of 'Dolly' within the Spirit of the Age video and so give a public outcome to what had been devised to be only tests.


Photo by Mark Goulding

As part of the 'elements', the added layers of the video, another Hawkwind fan Mark Goulding, Dr Mark Goulding in fact, spent much time researching a source and then ended up filming microscope produced imagery of liquid crystals. In his hands and Professor John W Goodby of Hull University a colourful and uniquely visual texture was produced adding the science and again the microscope sense of cells dividing and living for a genuine Hawkwind visual experience.


 

 
© Hawkwind
A large part of the film's look comes from the live-action. Our short window to film the band actually performing came during the band's current UK tour.

 
The look of the live-action came from the eye of Alistair McKenzie, lighting cameraman. The overall design is a move from high contrast white lighting to high contrast colour lighting with each member of the band and Matthew having their own colour. We need the empty sense of black space around the band for us to add the layer of space in the edit.

To achieve some of the chorus work for the track which was going to involve placing the band's heads inside a plasma ball, we also used blue screen.
 
All the elements were then shaken up and stirred into place by the skilful hands of Tyne Tees Television editor, Peter Telford. And you have Spirit of the Age the video.
Dave Brock, Peter Kershaw and Huw Lloyd Langton
relaxing after the video shoot.

 

© Hawkwind

Exhibition   the future….

Hawkwind (see website link) are playing over the spring/summer of 2004 in Europe and returning to tour the UK in the autumn/winter.

The video will be used as part of the band's live lighting show and to promote the single - Spirit of the Age and forthcoming studio album - Take me to your leader.

For viewers in Belfast the video was  screened in early May during the Spring Tour.

All that remains for you to do is to get out to your local Woolworths and HMV and order a copy.

For more information on Hawkwind and on future screenings you can check out www.Hawkwind.com
 

Credits
 

HAWKWIND
Spirit of the Age


Produced & Directed
by

Peter M. Kershaw
Duchy Parade Films Ltd


Performed by Hawkwind
Dave Brock, Richard Chadwick
Alan Davey

with
Matthew Wright
&
Kris Tait


Lighting Camera
Alistair McKenzie

Camera
Simon Foggin

Assistants
Georgina Kiedrowski, Alastair Smith, Kerry Plummer

Editor
Peter Telford

Android Animation
Robert & Jan Jefferson

Dolly Sheep Animation
David Bunting

Drawings
Duncan Storr

Liquid Crystal
Dr. Mark Goulding
Professor John W Goodby
Sue Pulman

Psychedelic Effects
Neil and Marie of Chaos Illumination

Production Co-ordinator
Mary Kershaw

Assistant Director
Paul Dolan

Production Assistant
Elizabeth Cashmore

Production Stills
Simon Cashmore

Make-up
Jenny Lamb

Electricians
John Haynes, John Mason
Ken Campbell, Ken Hird
Graham Sewell

Sound Playback
Charles Heath

Good vibes
Kevin Tait

Hawkwind’s
‘Spirit of the Age’
© Rock Music 2004
(P) Hawkwind 2004
Video © Duchy Parade Films 2004

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Send mail to Alistair@duchyparadefilms.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2004 Duchy Parade Films