Posts tagged #The North Face

Finding The Right Headspace: An Interview with Ben Allen of More Like Georgia

Field Notes Interview #45: Ben Allen, Marmoset Artist

Ben Allen is driven — you can hear it in his music. With a prolific catalog of tracks under his belt, Allen's project More Like Georgia presents some of the most infectious electro-pop around.

His anthemic song "Endless Horizon" was used in Camp4 Collective's Curiosity film for The North Face. Earlier this week, We interviewed director, Tim Kemple about the collaboration; so today we bring you the musicians' perspective by chatting with Ben for a glimpse into the life of a working artist.

Most recently, his track Rebirth helped push filmmaker, Nicholas Leopold's reel to fascinating heights. 

M: When did you start writing music?

BA: I started playing music around fourteen or fifteen by just jamming with high school buddies in one of my friends’ parents’ garage. At that point, it was always a collaborative writing process. It wasn’t until I broke away on my own that I really started writing music. After high school I got really interested in recording and production and ended up working for a small recording studio in Roseburg, Oregon. That was really a paradigm shift for me. Being able to layer sounds, and not be reliant on other musicians really opened up my mind to new possibilities as a songwriter.

M: What does a day in the life look for you as a working musician?

BA: It kind of depends for me. I have two modes that I sort of work in; the “creative” mode and a “get-stuff-done” mode. If I’ve got some sort of deadline or some project I’m trying to wrap up, I usually just get right at it and knock things off my list to finish a song. But, if I am trying to be creative on a new project, I find it’s really important to be in the right headspace. I’ve got to seek out inspiration so I can stay fresh. That might mean going for a walk, or watching an old movie. It varies from day to day.

M: What was your inspiration for "Endless Horizon?"

BA: I just started stacking sounds and making loops of things, and it just sort of came out naturally. I try not to force things, but rather go into it with a totally open mind and just let the music guide me where it wants to go.


M: How do you feel your song complimented Curiosity?

BA: A lot of my music has a sort of anthemic, energetic feel which seemed to work well where it was used in this particular spot. I always love seeing how someone else interprets music that I have created. It’s almost like the film becomes the lyrics to the song.

M: What are you excited about for the future?

BA: I’ve got lots of irons in the fire at the moment. I’m pretty excited about Hotbloods; a collaboration with Braden, from de L'une, another Marmoset artist. That should be releasing soon. I’ve also got an 80’s inspired pop project in the works called Wyld. I always like to pursue new projects to keep my mind engaged and growing.


Filming In The Face Of The Unknown: An Interview with Tim Kemple, Co-Founder of Camp4 Collective


The work of Tim Kemple from Camp4 Collective is a powerful force. With a constant outpouring of some of the most engaging outdoor films around, he not only presents a high watermark of quality, he's constantly raising the bar.

We've had the chance to work with the talented folks at Camp4 on their inspiring films for The North Face. First, they were following and literally scaling mountains alongside rock climbing celebrity Alex Honnold, and now with another round, they just released an epic 10-minute piece on long distance running called Curiosity.

Balancing both a gritty and rustic aesthetic with a sensitive, reflective nature, his films serve as odes to the wild and wonderful nature around us. We chatted with Tim about his life as a filmmaker and what he's learned so far.

M: When did you start filming?

TK: I’ve been a photographer and filmmaker since high school. I didn’t come up with any formal training — I was just looking for a way to share the adventures… road trips really... of my friends who are/were talented action sport athletes.

[...] when I graduated college I sort of went all in and bought an RV off of eBay.  It wasn’t anything fancy, but at that time spending $40k on one ’thing’ was A TON of money. At that point I was fully committed to traveling around the country shooting slide film on my Nikon F100 and shooting video on my trusty GL-2. So I guess that was my first of several ‘make or break moments’ that are pretty synonymous with life as an artist of any type. 

M: What's your favorite moment when working on a film?

TK: We are all pretty lucky to work with talented athletes in beautiful landscapes around the globe. I mean in a lot of ways we have a dream job. But one moment that stands out was while we were documenting Kayakers in Mexico for our short film called ‘Cascada’. Anson Fogel and I were dangling on a zip line with our feet just above the lip of this 70’ waterfall. We sort of looked at each other and were like… this is INSANE!

M: How did Camp4 come into form?

TK: We (Renan Ozturk and I) formed Camp4 in 2010 as a way to collaborate on the expedition type film stories we were telling for brands like The North Face. Anson joined a couple years back and we haven’t had time to look back!

M: What has been your favorite unplanned moment when filmmaking?

TK: Nothing is guaranteed when you are filming on location outdoors… except that nothing ever goes entirely to plan. So yeah we have happy accidents all of the time. In the end we try and put ourselves in the right place, to capture the epic moments of the world around, but much of what we do is never scripted so it takes a bit of luck to get the epic stuff!

The next time you see a great film… close your eyes and just listen - I suspect you’ll find that the sound is more present then you ever imagined.
— Tim Kemple

M: How do you feel music plays a role in film?

TK: Sometimes we will go out and shoot specifically towards a song that we love. Other times we don’t use music at all. In the end sound (including music) is the most overlooked aspect of a film of any length. As people we tend to think that filmmaking is all just pretty pictures, but try this: The next time you see a great film… close your eyes and just listen - I suspect you’ll find that the sound is more present then you ever imagined. 

M: What was your process of finding a soundtrack to Curiosity?

Ha! Curiosity was a whirlwind. We finished shooting on September 1st, flew home and had all of the content loaded on our servers ready to edit on September 3rd… And we delivered the final piece to the client (The North Face) on the 22nd. So in the end the entire doc was cut in two and a half weeks. Our editor on the project did an amazing job and I think its so amazing that a piece like this can be cut in such a short time now. Is it perfect? No… but we knew it wouldn’t be. Its a current event and we wanted to make sure that the story was still fresh in the minds of our audience.

But in general we boarded the edit out into acts and had a mood that we wanted to achieve in the different parts of the film. Music was a key component to evoking the right emotion in different parts of the film.

M: How do you feel music can be misused in film?

TK: Oh man… We are so done with the ‘music video edit’. You know those short web videos that use an entire track from start to finish and simply lay picture on top. We’ve all done it, but yeah that’s a good example of how NOT to use music in my opinion… 

M: What are you most excited about now?

TK: There are lots and lots of things cooking in the oven right now. Honestly if you are an artist, now is your time. Never have there been so many opportunities. Renan just left for a two month expedition to Burma on a project with National Geographic, our other partner Anson is just about to release a personal project called Distance which is really special… and I’m in the middle of directing a series of projects for commercial clients. Its busy at the Camp4 studio for sure — but I think we are doing a great job of balancing personal work and paying the bills with commercial projects.


Guest DJ: Tim Kemple, Filmmaker + Co-Founder of Camp4 Collective

This week, Filmmaker and Co-Founder of Camp4 Collective, Tim Kemple is dropping by, presenting his mixtape "Anthemic Adventures."

A few days ago, we caught up with Tim about his recent film Curiosity for The North Face. Inspired by the soundtrack to the film, each of these songs captures the sense of adventure with euphoric, anthemic vibes. 

Featuring empowered jams from the likes of Light Club, Balto, Love Gems, Lee Brooks among others, these tracks might be the soundtrack to your next exciting story.


Songs That Travel // Fitting Songs for Epic Outdoor Journeys

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Ever reach the summit of a long hike or see the sun set over a desert plain? Have you felt the need for some grand, sweeping strings or booming drums to play over that moment? We get you.

Here are three songs for adventure that pair well with those stories - especially when those stories are filmed.

The North Face // Alex Honnold

Our video collaboration with The North Face and Camp4 Collective centers on professional rock climber Alex Honnold, who is well known for breaking speed records up rock walls with his free solo climbs. Watching the footage itself is a tense ride, as Honnold tackles one of the largest solo climbs in the world - a 2,500 foot ascent up El Sendero Luminoso in Mexico. One of the coolest parts is how the music (or lack of music) matches the shifting emotions of the film. The Camp4 crew uses silence to its advantage, as gorgeous aerial shots and timelapse footage of the rock wall, its surroundings, and Honnold himself climbing without ropes shows the gravity of the situation and what might happen if he falls. Complemented by the interspersed music, the silence is broken up by Matthew Morgan's "Sun Through the Clouds." At first emanating a deep sense of seriousness and focus, the dainty flurries of piano later exude a feeling of triumph and wonder as Honnold determinedly makes his way up the wall. At one point, three simple piano notes repeat slowly while a fixed overhead shot shows Honnold carefully strategizing his next holds. At another, strings rush in behind the piano to create a sense of wonder and happiness as Honnold stands carefully on a tiny ledge thousands of feet in the air, making it hard not to smile right along with and his sense of adventure.


Joe Simon // The Valley of Fire

The Valley of Fire National Park in Nevada is known for its red sand stone formations that bring to mind burning fire when they reflect in the sunlight. That's a bit different than the rain-soaked, Doug Fir-laden lands we are used to here in NW, but this video draws us to there regardless. A collaboration with filmmaker Joe Simon and The Delivery Men, this video combines sweeping shots of the Nevada national park with "This Moment" by Pistol Shrimp, juxtaposing an electronic approach to views of wide open spaces. This might seem like an unlikely combination of the natural and machine-made, but the floating harmonies and big drums keep the music from feeling cold and match the warm colors with expansiveness of the desert plains. The song's rises and falls are paired with slow moving, spacious shots and then more rapid cuts through the scenery, setting a captivating pace that holds attention on the awe-inspiring mountains. With an M83 influence and walls of synth that keep the whole thing anchored, the song creates a hazy, echoey vibe that makes the imagery seem all the more epic.


Shane Black // Adventure is Calling

We weren't a part of this collaboration, but this video gets an honorable mention for being so awesome. Sighting what he deems a "call to adventure," timelapse photographer Shane Black set out last summer to travel across the country with friends, photographing the spectacular views around him in between teaching workshops. Amidst layered timelapse shots of thunderclouds, shooting stars, sunsets, desert plains, canyons and everything in between, light and ethereal post-rock guitar plays supported by echoey touches of piano and chimes. All of these elements lend themselves to a feeling of awe and majesty at nature spinning by. Matthew Morgan's "Dawn of Time" from our singles catalogue captures a similar feeling of pure astonishment, as delicate piano drifts in waves, not unlike the clouds rolling by in the video. Often accentuated with hazy harmonies with synth in the background that blankets what might normally be a fragile sound, this track has got slow moving, jaw-dropping nature written all over it.

- Kaitie Todd

Featured Artist // Matthew Morgan

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The music of Matthew Morgan is a calm deep breath.  

With each orchestral and ambient composition carrying an inspired and empowered mood, there is a lot of space between every note for reflection.  Morgan's beautiful scores create a perfect bedding of sound for any moving image it accompanies.  Although his music is peaceful, there is still an epic impact with every song.  Here are a couple of examples...

"Quinn Gunnar" is at once angelic and hopeful. Keeping a steady texture of bright and gorgeous synthesizers, it was a great companion and opening song to this Showtime sports documentary with it's serene and optimistic tone. 

The cinematic piano of "Sun Through The Clouds" made for a perfect backdrop to a recent short film from The North Face.  As we follow along the scary world of solo climbing, the music keeps an imaginative and relaxed space to balance everything in perfect harmony.  Absolutely jaw dropping.

Now that you've seen a couple of examples, how would you license these songs?

Music + Picture // The North Face: Alex Honnold


The beautiful new short film from The North Face is simply awe inspiring (and scary at times). Visually, there's a lot to take in with all of the majestic and epic imagery leaving us feeling pretty small in the world. Musically, there is a lot of ground to cover, but first check this out and don't forget to breathe...

Matthew Morgan's beautiful composition "Sun Through The Clouds" ascends with the trajectory of the film with sparse and cinematic piano.  There are many moments where silence is an instrument creating space to take in the epic views.  The soundtrack embodies the inspiring and empowering narrative in this piece, paring together the rugged and classical. This collaboration of music and film creates a rustic ballet - gorgeous and imaginative.

What films have inspired you?

- Stirling Myles