Arcade Fire teams up with Jamaicans - Storm Saulter, Equiknoxx and Jeremy Ashbourne for 'Peter Pan' remix
Grammy award-winning Canadian band Arcade Fire has recruited a plethora of Jamaican talent for their latest project. They have enlisted local producers Nicholas 'Bobby Blackbird' Deane and Jordan 'Time Cow' Chung of Equiknoxx Music and Jeremy Ashbourne to remix Peter Pan, which appears on their 2017 album Everything Now. Local filmmaker Storm Saulter is at the centre of it all as director of the short film accompanying the remix.
Saulter describes it as "a lo-fi teenage dancehall fairy tale". "I wasn't necessarily thinking about this story before the project, but for some time, I've definitely wanted to create something whimsical within a raw dancehall space," Saulter told The Sunday Gleaner.
Inspired by the classic children's story of the same name, his portrayal of the boy who never ages is less literal. Instead of rocketing through the night sky towards the second star to the right and straight on 'til morning in search of Neverland, Saulter visualised Peter Pan dancing across the rooftops in Kingston, Jamaica.
Taking style cues from Larry Clark's controversial 1995 film Kids, the film features footage shot around Kingston landmarks and events, including Weddy Weddy Wednesdays. The video was styled by Ayana Riviere and choreographed by Amanyea Stines and premiered last Thursday on LargeUp.com.
A PRESTIGIOUS COLLABORATION
Arcade Fire's original version of Peter Pan includes additional music from Ashbourne, who created a dub version of Equiknoxx's remix to fill out the soundtrack.
"Storm is the connecting link between all of us, Bobby Blackbird told The Sunday Gleaner. "He and Arcade Fire met at Trident Castle, and our name came up. They were saying they wanted to get in touch with us, Arcade Fire reached out, and they basically gave us the song and said we should do whatever we felt would be cool," Bobby Blackbird added.
Initially, Ashbourne was unfamiliar with the Canadian band. "I had to go and look them up," he said.
Arcade Fire's third studio album, The Suburbs, was released in 2010 to critical acclaim and commercial success. The album received the 2011 Grammy for Album of the Year, the 2011 Juno Award for Album of the Year, and the 2011 Brit Award for Best International Album. The band members are multi-instrumentalists who switch duties throughout their shows. Their instruments include the guitar, drums, bass guitar, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, xylophone, glockenspiel, keyboard, synthesiser, French horn, accordion, and harp.
"It's a very prestigious collaboration to do. I'm proud, happy and grateful to my good friend Storm for making it happen," Ashbourne added.
Equiknoxx Music points out that this proves that the world is paying attention to Jamaican music producers.
"For us, it's just an extension of the work we're still doing and putting out. It shows that people are paying attention. It shows that once you do the work, it's not just going out there in a vacuum. It's good to know your work is being valued, and with the crazy production that they do, it's good to be acknowledged by that sort of talent. Storm is an amazing filmmaker, so it goes to show you can have good visibility in Jamaica," Bobby Blackbird continued.
The group previously collaborated with Saulter on photography for the making of their 2013 album Reflektor, which was partly recorded at Trident Castle in Port Antonio.
"We have dreamt of working on a video project with him since then, and it finally came together. It was so inspiring to see what he created with Better Mus Come, producing an entirely Jamaican film, which points to so much possibility for Caribbean film in the future," said Win Bulter, a lead vocalist of Arcade Fire, in an interview with LargeUp.com.
"I found, and always knew, that in collaborating with them, I would have a certain amount of creative freedom - a truly open collaborative spirit. Seeing a band of this magnitude with that type of interesting sound being so influenced by Caribbean music and culture - it was just a matter of time before that kind of energy meshed with visuals from a Caribbean filmmaker," said Storm.
He added, "I'm happy to be a part of the legacy of great visuals that Arcade Fire has put out. They've collaborated with some of the best filmmakers on the planet. It's a great opportunity, and great energy."
Win said: "We hope that (Storm) working with Arcade Fire exposed him and Jamaican film to a larger audience outside of the region."