Carlisle-based seven-piece rock group Hardwicke Circus are something of a time machine in musical terms. They have been likened to the Rolling Stones and indeed similar to the instrumental and stylistic scope of groups like the Stones, but never have I heard of a group with as much going on as this band. You’ve got the crazy keyboard, guitar heroes, mad drummer, bass player, and even a saxophonist in a special yet elusive hat.
With this project, the aim was not to record songs or conduct proper interviews but to capture the group’s essence. So I adopted a semi-fly-on-the-wall approach as the group set up to perform as part of the Great Escape Festival at Brighton’s Grand Central. Getting the guys talking was pretty good fun. Having previously conducted over a hundred interviews on my former health and fitness channel this was a bit of a cakewalk. I knew I wanted to quiz them for their take on modern music and the spirit of rock so I bounced them off each other for their answers whilst also examining their retro fashion choices.
Filming gigs is also something I have a fair amount of experience in with around one hundred live music performance videos under my belt. This however was a bit of an awkward gig as the room was just about big enough to house the band, let alone a crowd. On top of that, the organisers had about four cameras filming (footage that has never surfaced) and were a little touchy about anyone getting in the way. So I chose to capture as much of the set-up and behind-the-scenes as I could get and then to slip around the group between songs to focus on the different parts of the band.
In the edit, I knew I wanted everything to have a timeless retro feel so I made the rare choice of putting the interview segments in a sepia monochrome whilst the performances I treated with a custom blend of tinted shadows, gaussian blur and prism effects to give the look of old seventies/eighties style television footage on a CRT television. My two favourite films Buffalo 66 and Taxi Driver would also serve as inspiration for the set-up scene with the snare rolls and the tight attention to the ceremony of preparation.
Once again my friend and colleague Lucy would provide photography and extras.