GRAMERCY, MANHATTAN: This week, NYC singer/songwriter and filmmaker Jordan Galland releases his new solo record, Search Party. Inspired by Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg, Galland’s music has a moody, cinematic-pop quality that pervades his work in the visual realm as well. In his debut feature film — a dark comedy, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead — this aesthetic modulates into the absurd.
Galland sat down with us recently to talk about the making of Search Party, Rosencrantz — which was scored by Sean Lennon — and his painstaking audio/visual creative process.
SEARCH PARTY: SOUNDTRACK ARRANGEMENTS & HOUSEHOLD SOUNDS
“My influences on ‘Search Party,’ the song, are soundtracks from the 1960s,” Galland describes, “I built the song off this bombastic, Brazil-inspired drum loop, and the horn part is inspired by Goldfinger. I’m really into soundtracks. I like combining music and film as much as I can.” [Listen to “Search Party” here]:
Galland produced Search Party with longtime musical collaborator David Muller, with whom he’s written and performed in the NYC bands Dopo Yume and Domino, the latter of which was signed to Mark Ronson’s Allido Records.
“When David and I started out, ten years ago, we were making this mellow, spooky-tinted music, but out of necessity for getting audiences into it live, we ended up going for a more energetic, dance-rock kind of sound,” explains Galland.
“So for Search Party, we kind of went back to what we’d wanted to do in the first place, without the worry about who’s going to play what live. It’s really more fun when you can make a record just for the sake of making a record.”
A few of the songs on Search Party have been in circulation and re-worked times over the years. “’Sexy Girl’ is a song that got a lot of traction for Dopo Yume back in ’01,” he shares. “And I wanted to revisit the song with this return to a mellower style. Here, we used brushes on the drums and more elaborate piano, where the earlier version was a more aggressive, distorted dance song.”
Recorded to Pro Tools via a Digi 002, Search Party was performed by Galland and Muller, formerly of The Fiery Furnaces, at a friend’s house-turned-studio in Hampton Bays. “We got some cool vintage keyboards at this awesome music store out there [Hampton Music], and David and I tracked it all using two AKG mics in the dining room of this house,” says Galland.
“We used things from around the house — for example, the shaker on ‘Coolest Boy on Earth,’ which also sounds like a record crackle, is a Poland spring bottle with rice in it. And we used these clickity sounds throughout the record, which is the sound of us hitting a skull-shaped flower-pot on a ceramic plate and with drum sticks. And the ‘ding’ at the top of every verse on ‘Can’t Say Why’ is David playing a wine glass.”
ROSENCRANTZ: SEAN LENNON SCORE AND HORROR MOVIE THEORY
As much as Galland likes to combine his love of film and music, when it came time to score his feature film Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead, he called on a good friend he expected might be interested — Sean Lennon — and he accepted! Lennon wrote and performed the Rosencrantz score, and even released the soundtrack on his label, Chimera Records late last year.
“Sean and I have been friends for years — he’s played in my band and I’ve written songs with him — so we have a shared vocabulary for music,” Galland notes. “We’ve both always been into soundtracks and have spent a lot of time talking about film music, and allowing it to influence our music together.”