We caught up with experimental vocal trio Juice ahead of their live musical accompaniment to The Danger Girl as part of the double bill with I Don’t Want to be a Man! accompanied by Zoe Rahman Birds Eye View Sound & Silents Season this May. They talk to us about what inspires them, writing music for film, the gender gap in the music industry when it comes to composers, what their dream score would be and what they are up to at the moment.
Your music is very unique. What inspired you to start this ensemble?
We co-founded juice just after university, inspired by our love of a cappella singing. We have always been keen to show what the voice can do without instruments to help! We feed off all genres of music, from experimental classical to close-harmony, spooky folk to crackly electronica. We’re particularly inspired by Luciano Berio, Meredith Monk, Bobby McFerrin, Camille and Zap Mama.
Can you tell us a bit about the process of writng your original score to The Danger Girl?
We absolutely loved working with this film. We had to watch it quite a few times to understand the plot as a few of the actors look remarkably similar! We gave all of the characters names and motifs to help us and the audience, and drew on Boswell Sisters-esque harmonies, comedy quotes (spot ’em!), Tom Waits and sound effects; we each wrote short sections that we improvise around live to the film. We worked hard to ADD to the film not just underscore it; in places our accompaniment is more like an installation than a soundtrack.
At Birds Eye View we recognise that there remains huge disparity between the experiences of men and women in film industry, and are working towards closing that gap. Do you feel that women have a different experience than men in the music world? If yes, what actions would you like to see taken towards helping musicians who may not be as successful as their male counterparts purely because they are women?
We certainly don’t feel as if we’ve had less opportunities for being three women, particularly in classical musical circles, but we do feel that sometimes women and men are viewed differently. Also, there are significantly less female composers around then male composers; all juice can do is continue our ethos of commissioning equally from both men and women, and supporting the work of female composers. We believe strongly in promoting women in music less through image (though image is important) and more through diverse talent! Strong, and not necessarily girly, female role models should be promoted to younger people.
Being experimental vocalists you must be continuously working on new ideas and projects. What are you up to
at the moment?
We are also looking forward to recording our debut album on the nonclassical label later in the year. We’re currently commissioning a range of new pieces, including one by composer Elspeth Brooke featuring three in-your-face stylophones! We’re also involved in an adventurous ‘exploded’ opera by Mikhail Karikis, being performed around the country.
If you could remove the dialogue from any film and replace it with music which would it be?
We had a juice trip to the Bird’s Eye View premiere of Whip It recently – an empowering girl-film if ever there was one! We would simply take a couple of Juliette ‘Iron Maven’ Lewis’s lines and replace them with extreme screamo-metal…GRRR!
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