Creating Art Form
After debuting Art Form, we got a chance to chat with the visual and musical directors, Matt and Ryan Kleiner, to get a deeper look into the creation and collaboration of Art Form.
Q: Hey guys, how are you doing! How did you come to collaborate on Art Form?
Ryan: Doing great thanks! I’m really happy with how the film and soundtrack turned out! We started collaborating on Art Form as a concept to visually showcase unique artists and their creative process. To showcase in-depth perspectives from the artist and what their creations mean to them. Album Surfboards are a true work of art so naturally, it made sense.
Matt: Ryan and I have been working together on various projects for nearly 20 years now so it was an easy decision when the idea of an original soundtrack came into play.
Q: Do you live in the same town and often collaborate on projects together?
Ryan: Yeah we live close by and in the same town so it’s great for getting together on projects.
Matt: We actually live less than a mile down the street so whenever a project allows us to work together it's really convenient.
Q: We know Matt is a surf junkie. How about you Ryan, we’d love more insight into your background?
Ryan: Matt probably surfs more than anyone that I know and he’s always been that way! Haha!
Surfing and skating have been a big part of my life for a long time. Being able to draw inspiration from the ocean and all that amazing energy each wave gives us is something that I’m super grateful for.
Matt: Guilty as charged
Q: What style of boards are you most excited about these days?
Ryan: I like boards that are short and fast for all-around fun. All kinds of fin setups too, it’s nice to be able to mix it up. I’m impressed by all of the new materials being used these days and seeing the progression and evolution of boards is awesome!
Matt: Never thought I’d get into twin fins but it’s just been too much fun to ignore. The speed and glide on a little twin fin have got me hooked over the last two years and I might not ever go back to a standard shortboard.
Q: Which cinematic influences have made the biggest impression on you?
Ryan: Samsara and Baraka by Ron Fricke. These two cinematic masterpieces capture the world’s landscapes and cultures with outstanding footage.
I also really like The Life Aquatic by Wes Anderson, It has a great color theme and the soundtrack is one of my favorites.
Matt: I agree with Ryan and those are two of my favorite films. I tend to be drawn to films with long shots and ideas that take a bit of patience. Story, cinematography, music, color, there are so many elements to draw inspiration from in a good film. I really dig the earlier work of Ciro Guerra, he has such a unique way of telling stories.
Q: Give us some details about the recording process? Did it help to know your brother’s process while making Art Form? How long did it take?
Ryan: I started by making some recordings based on the vibe of the edit and footage that I was seeing from Matt. As he developed the edit and the sections formed, I was able to score certain parts to match the edit and visuals. I like to watch the footage while coming up with a few song ideas then Matt will pick a direction and we just go from there.
Side-by-side sessions at Matt’s studio were really productive for dialing in the song to the final edit. Matt and I have always made music together too so, we have a pretty good creative process and intuition when it comes to these kinds of projects. Matt had a precise vision of what he wanted the film to sound like. So it was really cool to make some of these songs with his creative musical influences as well.
Overall it took about 4-6 weeks to finalize the soundtrack and get everything recorded. We sort of chipped away at it for a while until we were both happy and it was a pretty smooth process overall.
Q: Did each surfer inspire a different style of music based on their individual styles?
Ryan: Yes, each surfer has a specific and unique style that reflects in the footage. The color tones and visuals in the edit also play a role in how the song’s sound and style develop. Also, I think that the kind of waves they are riding and the speed of the footage play an important role in the style of the music.
Matt: Yeah it’s cool to see the differences in their styles and how it tends to shape the intended vibe of each track. In the last section of the movie Ryan really just ran with it and I feel like it has a perfect match for Asher’s surfing in that hectic environment that Kirra presents. Its a nice harmony between organized chaos and the effortless flow of the lines Asher draws.
Q: How do you feel about current musical choices in surf videos?
Ryan: I think there is some great music in some of the videos. I like to see videos that connect to the music. You can have amazing footage and use a great song but if they both don’t match the vibe and style then it feels disconnected. So having the right visuals that accompany the melody gives both the film and music their unique feel or style.
Matt: It’s been cool to see people branching out from the typical old surf video soundtrack and lots of obscure stuff can be found these days. Overall, I think it just comes down to taste and obviously there’s a lot of bad taste out there haha, but there’s a lot of good too. As Ryan said it really makes a difference when the music matches the look and feel of the footage.
Q: Where are most of the sounds coming from? Do you play all the instruments yourself?
Ryan: Yes, I played the instruments in these songs, both electronic and acoustic recordings are layered in the tracks. Matt added some really interesting sounds of the ocean and other nice effects in the film. My instrumentation for Art Form consisted of a couple of different electric guitars, as well as an acoustic and classical guitar.
For the beats, I used some electronic/drum machine setups along with acoustic percussion instruments. I like to blend the organic and electronic sounds together and create distinct effects to give each instrument its own unique sound. The recording process is mostly while watching the footage on a projector or on-screen and synced up to my recording software. It’s all about the layers and each song is created differently and in different settings. I like using echoes and reverb, so Matt was able to create some continuity of the overall sound design in the film by adding guitar feedback echoes in the transitions. Those sounds throughout the film along with the ‘vintage tape’ vibe in the final mix create a great signature sound for the film.