Q&A – Matthew Edewaard
May 11th, 2016
From May 18 through 22, local filmmakers and musicians will collaborate together during the 2016 EFS 72 Hour Music Video Competition. EFS blogger Sidney Moore spoke with Eugene-based musician Matthew Edewaard about his experience competing in the 2014 inaugural event. Edewaard’s video collaboration with filmmaker Paul Bright for his song “Dixie’s Fire” won the Audience Award in 2014.
EFS: What was the experience of competing in the competition like for you?
Matthew Edewaard: The coolest thing about it was they had all the musicians and filmmakers meet up at Hop Valley Brewing to see what everyone’s style was like. It was set up almost like speed dating, where they had all the filmmakers set up and we got to go around and talk to each one individually and feel out what their styles were like. After that, we got to vote for which filmmaker we wanted to work with. I took the approach of being really open to things visually. I really wanted someone who would just take my song and run with it. Paul Bright, who we ended up filming with, had really fun and interesting ideas, visually. We hit it off with them instantly, and were really excited to work with him.
EFS: What was it like working with filmmakers you didn’t know?
Edewaard: Paul was really professional. The actually filming of the video went so smoothly because he was really solid and had everything lined up already. He had actors lined up and had ideas for locations already. It was amazing how quickly everyone grasped the concept. We were able to get most of the filming done in one day, because everything was lined up. I was only filming for one day. I think most of the 72 hours is just post-production.
EFS: Did you collaborate with Paul Bright to come up with a particular style?
Edewaard: The song I had was about a woman who gets broken up with and sets her ex’s house on fire. For the video we wanted something more family-friendly. So we made the video more metaphorical, about a kid who sets her classmate’s school project on fire. We did most of the filming at John F. Kennedy Elementary School, I believe it’s called. Something really ironic happened a few weeks later, when some kid actually tried to burn down the school.
EFS: What was the collaboration like?
Edewaard: I got to meet a lot of really cool people during the competition and make new friends that I still have today. We were all committed to creating a cohesive vision for the song and video. Part of me expected that our video would do well, not to sound cocky. It was mostly that Paul was so solid and I trusted his work and had a lot of faith in him. And the actors and crew were great. There were times when I just sat back and watched it all happening, because everyone knew what they were doing.
EFS: Had you filmed a music video before this?
Edewaard: I did a couple independent videos a few years before. The first one was in 2011, I think. That experience opened up a new world to me, and got me more comfortable with adopting these opportunities and other people’s visions. That also helped me get recognition for my music.
EFS: Was it beneficial to work with other types of artists?
Edewaard: Yes, certainly. Sometimes, as an artist, you get into a kind of egocentric rut. I also paint, and sometimes I’ll stare at my paintings for hours. It’s nice to have a fresh set of eyes to look at your work with you. It was a relief to hand over responsibility to someone to create a new piece of art off of something I had created. It was worth it absolutely.
EFS: How did you get involved in the competition?
Edewaard: We entered into a different competition with the Eugene Weekly around the same time, which is where we heard about the music video competition. Jason, my bass player, and I mulled it over and decided that the 72 hour one was more of our style so we diverted our attention to that. So we kind of fell in inadvertently. I was drawn to the unpredictability of it, the working without a net aspect. The idea of only having a few days to get it done really intrigued me because of the unpredictability. Anyone can make a music video, but not everyone can make one in 72 hours. We didn’t even know if it could be done, but we wanted to try.
EFS: How do you feel about the video now?
Edewaard: I think the concept is interesting and we executed it well. Just having a video to hold on to is like a stamp of that time in my life. It documents that point of your life, which is one of the great things about film and photographs. The whole thing felt magical because it was not only the first one we participated in, but the first one they had held, so it was new for everyone. It was really satisfying to have people watch it. We had a lot of positive reviews, we didn’t get anything negative. We got to watch it for the first time during the screening at the Bijou Art Cinemas. It was really cool seeing our video on the big screen and having other people interested in watching it too.
Eugene Film Society Presents, in collaboration with Sam Bond’s Brewing and The Barn Light East, the 2016 EFS 72 Hour Music Video Competition. From May 18 through 22, 12 regional filmmakers will compete to make the best 3 to 5 minute music video within 72 hours using songs produced by local musicians. A block party and screening event will hosted by Sam Bond’s Foundry and The Barn Light East on Sunday, May 22, from 7-10 pm, to showcase the videos produced in the competition, as well as award prizes to the winning teams. If you would like to attend, please visit eugenefilmsociety.com to learn more.