Tonight was a magical night that brought together four long time collaborators for their first ever public performance. The members of the most recent incarnation of 12 Rounds celebrated the film score work they’ve collaborated on for the past ten years.
The band started out the night with a 30 minute set featuring Claudia Sarne on keys, vocals and percussion, Leopold Ross on bass, Kirk Hellie on several guitars with effects and loopers and knobs, a device that reminded me of a Theremin, and vocals, and Atticus Ross programming and melding a collage of sound together.
The set was a mix of old and new, including Chasing Shadows from Broken City, some new stuff that is for films that will come out later in the year, Panoramic from Book of Eli and a reworked version of the 12 Rounds track Chicane to close out the music performance portion of the program.
The band played in darkness in front of a backdrop of film clips that Atticus, Dustin Mosley and Michael Patterson edited together on iMovie specifically for the event. All of the work was from other people’s films, but the strong emotional response that 12 Rounds draws from an audience was present throughout the set and the backdrop worked really well for the live presentation. It was amazing to hear selections from Broken City, Book of Eli and 12 Rounds live for the first time. While the set was short, it was extremely well put together and packed quite a punch.
Elvis Mitchell, curator of Film Independent at LACMA then had a conversation with Atticus to discuss his journey through making sound for films that evokes powerful emotions in viewers and listeners. The conversation started out with how Elvis first heard Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross and Claudia Sarne, through the score they made for the Hughes Brothers American adaptation of the television series Touching Evil. The two discussed Book of Eli, The Social Network, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and some more recent work that Atticus has done for a yet to be released Michael Mann film.
Atticus was humble, first thanking his long time collaborators who had just played on stage with him. There were many other long time Atticus Ross collaborators in the audience including Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz, Justin Warfield of She Wants Revenge, director Allen Hughes, Michael Patterson who mixed The Social Network and Dustin Mosley, who did sound design on Book of Eli and also mixed the sound for the live set to kick off the night.
They showed several film clips during the discussion, starting with the opening of Michael Mann’s Heat. Atticus indicated that he watched that film multiple times and used it as inspiration for Book of Eli. They also played back a portion of the beginning of Book of Eli, featuring an excerpt of Panoramic, the beginning of The Social Network, featuring Hand Covers Bruise and the scene from Girl With the Dragon Tattoo that features portions of the song With the Flies.
Atticus discussed how earlier in his life, in the mid-80′s he lived in New York and worked in an art gallery. He didn’t envision working as a musician but he was always a fan of music. He had grown up listening to his father’s pirate radio station and moved to New York at the time when albums like Fear of a Black Planet were coming out. He took a lot of inspiration from the work of The Bomb Squad on that record.
Eventually he left New York and returned to London and started out making music with an old 808 drum machine that he still uses today. He formed a band that later became 12 Rounds and even though he has trouble keeping things in tune, always wanting sounds to be slightly out of tune, through collaboration with others he has finally been able to create songs that match what is in his head.
“I don’t think comedy would be my strong point.” joked Atticus after Elvis mentioned that Ross’ film score works tended to always feature characters isolated or violated.
Atticus mentioned that his 16 years of collaboration with Trent Reznor have taught him much in the way of sound design and that Trent’s fearlessness inspires him.
After the event closed, 12Rounds.net was able to catch up with the band a bit. They promise they haven’t forgotten about providing the rest of the unreleased third album. They’ve just been busy non-stop since the Book of Eli recording sessions. Atticus talked to us a bit about a score that wasn’t discussed during the Master Class, Love & Mercy. He said that the approach for that film was unlike his previous score work in that Brian Wilson wanted his own music used in the score and he manipulated Brian Wilson’s voice and music using the original master tracks. He said the film should be great and that Paul Dano did a fabulous job playing the role of a young Brian Wilson in the film.
Atticus mentioned that Chicane and the other new material debuted tonight would be released later this year as part of film scores. Chicane was recently rerecorded and will be in an upcoming film.
Thanks to the fine folks at the LA Film Festival for allowing us access to the event and for bringing the band together in public for the very first time.