Published Apr 29, 2011Though best known as the drummer of Fugazi, Washington, DC-based busybody Brendan Canty is an accomplished composer, multi-instrumentalist and filmmaker. In the time since his Fugazi days, he has developed TrixieFilm with his creative partner Christoph Green, creating a studio responsible for the Burn to Shine DVD series and concert films for bands such as Death Cab for Cutie, Eddie Vedder and myriad others.
Among the most exciting new projects for Trixie is one focusing on Wilco's Solid Sound Festival, which this year will be filmed by Canty and Green. The fest takes place in North Adams, MA, from June 24 to 26 and, along with Wilco, will include performances from Thurston Moore, Jamie Lidell and Sic Alps, among others.
"We're taking a bunch of cameras and filming that," Canty says. "It's kind of this arty festival, not a giant one... They go up to this art museum and they do installations up there and the bands perform in different parts of it. We're going to try to attack that problem and make it into a film that documents the whole atmosphere of the thing."
And while no firm release plans have been set for the Solid Sound Festival film, this would not mark the first film Canty and Green have helmed, as the pair directed the 2009 Wilco live film, Ashes of American Flags.
Besides the Solid Sound film, Canty has more than enough upcoming projects to keep Trixie busy. This is much in thanks to his reputation for crafting well-made concert films after decades of being a performer onstage himself. "You want to get in there and capture the thing that's interesting about somebody who's performing," he explains. "Whether that's their hands or face. Whatever that intensity is. Getting intimate with the subject is one thing you can't get enough of. I really appreciate the muscle work of every individual performer as opposed to just the giant stadium overblown atmosphere of rock... That's really the whole job I think, is breaking it down to the simplest form of just showing somebody doing their work."
While Trixie has spent the last few years in full-on concert film mode, the company hit a brick wall with the Burn to Shine DVDs. The series, which sees local musicians from a specific city perform in a building scheduled for demolition, produced four DVDs in the mid-2000s. The filmmakers also shot Burn to Shine instalments for Atlanta and Louisville as well, but those were never released. Canty explains that it was more a shift in priorities and the tragic loss of Touch and Go's distribution arm.
"Losing Touch and Go was hard because I've known Cory [Rusk], the owner, since I was 16 years old or so," he recalls. "I'm really used to working with people that I'm friends with. We're just trying to get that thing back on its feet."
With distribution now secured through the MVD Entertainment Group, Canty says he's "confident the Louisville one will be going to print in the next few months." Sales of that DVD will determine when and how the Atlanta edition is released.
As for more new editions of Burn to Shine, however, the project will remain on hiatus for now. "I need to carve some time out of my life. Right now if we filmed one it would just sit on the shelf for months; I don't have time to edit it. We're just going to have to find time to do that."