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8 / LIFESTYLEHAMILTONREVIEW

Lifestyle

DECEMBER2009

Freshly Pressed—DVDs in December Paper Heart—Michael Cera, Charlyne Yi Julie & Julia—Meryl Streep, Amy Adams Inglourious Basterds—Brad Pitt, Simon Pegg

Southern Souls come alive online Local filmmaker Mitch Fillion puts a new twist on an old internet tradition

PHOTO / MITCH FILLION

Tara Walker HAMILTON REVIEW “I’m aiming to show that music, and its makers, are everywhere.” This is why Mitch Fillion— creator and curator of Southern Souls—has taken his passion for music to an intimate new level. The online project has become outlet for independent musicians to display their raw, natural talent on film. Fillion created the new video archive to give fans a little window into the artists’ environment. Using Hamilton’s urban geography as the background for his videos, Fillion showcases local talent from around the city and beyond by putting them in their natural elements. From abandoned buildings and old automotive plants to the Hamilton GO Centre on Hunter Street, Fillion uses pieces of everyday life in the city to showcase up-and-coming local artists and their work.

“I take big influence from La Blogotheque’s ‘Take Away Shows.’ I thought what they were doing was a great way to showcase musicians, and that there were a lot of local artists I wanted to see play in the same fashion.” There is no question, the bands and solo acts that are in Fillion’s videos are extremely talented. But what is it about his direction that grabs a new viewer? If you’re from Hamilton or the surrounding area, you may actually recognize some of the locations used in filming the videos—a very exciting prospect. For example, Michael Walsh’s video for “A Devil’s Dinner” was shot in the GO Centre, and provides an intimate look into the world of many whom have passed through the city. Terra Lightfoot’s video for “Heads, Tails, Tails” is simply Terra, standing in the middle of the forest with nothing but her guitar. As audience

members, we’re forced to simply accept the raw, natural footage that Fillion captures in many of his videos. His work showcases true Hamilton culture, and what better way to highlight local talent than to shoot the performances in locations that portray an artist’s roots? “I think it’s more natural and homelier having them play somewhere they are comfortable, and that is meaningful to them,” said Fillion. Oddly enough, the intimate videos still capture the essence of a live show. In today’s digital age, music videos have become such a production—almost a short film, in some cases. They often twist reality and turn an artist’s work into a production for the masses— one that doesn’t show the raw talent they may possess. Watching Fillion’s videos provides long awaited relief from the giant production the music industry has become. It’s nice to

watch a two or three minute video of a musician and their “weapon of choice,” unplugged and playing in a setting that is comfortable. That speaks to the audience in a much more personal way. “I love the look of the old homes and buildings, with layers of paint chipping away,” said Fillion. “Someone watching who isn’t from Hamilton probably thinks it’s a dump, but that we have good music.” At the end of the day, it’s refreshing to watch a music video shot in your hometown— somewhere you’ve walked a thousand times and often recognized the true beauty. Southern Souls helps bring the music back to Hamilton by showcasing home grown musicians in down-to-earth, real locations. Artist or not, that’s something we can all relate to. Southern Souls is free online at www.southernsouls.ca.

Top Picks Some of the Internet’s best alternative music video sites are less that a click away Black Cab Sessions—Based in London, England, the Black Cab Sessions feature bands performing a single song in the back of a British taxicab. The performance is recorded in one take—good or bad—and later posted to an online video archive. Popular artists that have made appearances so far include the Kooks, Ryan Adams, Okkervil River, Spoon, and My Morning Jacket, among many others. Practice Space—Produced by vbs.tv—an online offshoot of Vice Magazine—Practice Space chronicles a wide variety of independent artists and their unique rehearsal spaces. Featuring live takes interspersed with raw interview footage, the short segments have become quite popular among Internet music lovers, and feature a great cross section of contemporary independent bands. Groups worth watching include Hot Chip, the Virgins, the Weight, and NX2. MUZU.TV—“The Music Video Site” doesn’t disappoint, offering a huge selection of videos from a seemingly endless array of genres. With everything from reggae, blues, jazz and gospel, to metal, punk, electronic, and alternative—if you can’t find it on MUZU, you may not find it anywhere else. The site also offers playlists, live interviews, news updates, concerts, and documentaries, which should keep even the most savvy music browser occupied for a few hours.


8 LIFESTYLE