Seen through the eyes of eccentric front man, Seb Pietrovito, a struggling artist and illustrator from Mile End, the l film not only explores the often-ridiculous exertions and sacrifices made by Ezra Sound to keep their dream alive, but also illustrates the plight of the Unsigned Band on the whole in the merciless climate of the modern music industry.
The Lamest Band I Ever Saw is an authentic, earnest and amusing journey to the essence of musical creativity that, at it’s heart, attempts to illustrate what it means to suffer for your art.
5 questions with The Lamest Band I Ever Saw director, Ben Phethean at the half-way mark.
Sunday, January 22nd, 2017
1Hey Ben! Thanks for being a part of our festival. This doc's subject is the band Ezra Sound. How did you meet them and why did you decide to make a doc around this band specifically? I was introduced to band by a friend, and the band's drummer, Xander. He invited me along to their first gig in a small pub in Brixton.
What interested me about Ezra Sound was the fact that they refused to take themselves seriously. I like to find characters and subject matter that detract from the cultural norms to which they are party to. Here is a band writing songs about when a bird accidentally flies into your house, or when a fly gets into your eye, it was the absolute antithesis of the stereotypically 'cool' band.
I also like to make docs where the line between what is 'real' and what is 'performance' is blurred - letting characters play exaggerated versions of themselves. The front man, Seb is an incredible performer and plays a character both on and off stage - and so we kept that going for the film. It was the perfect combination or authenticity and absurdity.
I think the final decision to do the film, though, came when a girl who went to one of their gigs tweeted - 'The lamest band I ever saw live was Ezra Sound, they had a screamo song about monosodium glutamate.'
It sort of wrote itself after that...
2Did you have more ambitious plans for this doc? Were you hoping to make a feature out of it? How did you feel once you found out the band was breaking up? We wanted to capture the essence of being an unsigned band and I think it lent itself to being short form, the immediate and transient nature of it all, so we never saw it being longer than about 12 mins. I guess we were as ambitious as the band themselves.
It was a bit heartbreaking to hear the band were splitting up, seeing how it affected them all and what it meant to them (and still does) but, rather selfishly, the filmmaker in me saw an opportunity for a punchy ending.
3This film puts a spotlight on the unfortunate truth to why most bands, and I think filmmakers as well, stop creating art: the older they get they can't put all the necessary time into it anymore because it doesn't pay anything. What are your thoughts on this? Yeah, absolutely.
It's a real shame to be honest and with further government cuts to the arts sector in the UK it's only going to get harder for people to get funded or to make a living out of making art. That said, from a commercial standpoint, I think once money and clients get involved you lose a lot of the creative freedom that comes with making your own work and you are much less likely to take risks than if you were doing it for free. And if you are really talented, passionate and persistent, eventually you will get noticed - at least the lucky ones will anyway.
4The last shot in the film is so perfect! Was that scripted or did he really have that fake knife laying around? As I mentioned earlier, Seb is a true performer. We turned up at his house to do a final, parting interview and as we were walking upstairs he showed me this fake knife he'd bought on Ebay for 99p (he was really pleased with it) and I think we all knew we couldn't let an opportunity like that go to waste...
5What's next? Lee, the DoP, and I have been putting work out as SAID LEONARD since 2016, doing lots of music videos and stuff like that. Though, we have found an artist who we want to do a similarly styled doc about, so look out for that in 2017.
Oh and Xander is back from NY in February so who knows - maybe The Lamest Band I Ever Saw 2???
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
The film with the most fans wins $1,000
For 2017 we are moving on from screening feature films and will be showcasing shorts.
For our Winter 2017 Festival, we are giving away $2,000 in prizes to the top three films.
The film with the most fans.
The film with the most views.
Our favorite film.
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