Festival stars masters in their Field

Field Music have been commissioned by Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival to compose a new cinematic score for seminal silent documentary 1929 Drifters. The film follows the working day of a herring fishing fleet as they set sail from the Shetland Islands to battle the elements of the North Sea fishing grounds.
Field Music have been commissioned by Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival to compose a new cinematic score for seminal silent documentary 1929 Drifters. The film follows the working day of a herring fishing fleet as they set sail from the Shetland Islands to battle the elements of the North Sea fishing grounds.

This year’s Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival is now underway and tomorrow night a Mercury Music Prize nominated act are in town for one of its highlights.

Sunderland’s Field Music were nominated for the accolade last year for their album ‘Plumb’ but as the announcement of this year’s winner nears, the group are focussing their attention on film, a piece from 1929 to be precise.

The three piece have composed a new score for the John Grierson documentary which follows the working day of a herring fishing fleet as they set sail from the Shetland Islands to battle the elements of the North Sea fishing grounds, and they will perform it live on The Maltings stage.

And as well as tomorrow night’s performance being Field Music’s first in Berwick it is also the first time the original lineup of Peter and David Brewis and Andrew Moore have played together as a three piece since 2007.

And Peter said the reunion could well have happened a year earlier.

“Melanie (film festival director), asked us to get involved with last year’s event but we just didn’t have the time to do it justice,” he told WOW.

“Once we agreed to do it this year, Melanie presented ‘Drifters’ to us and told us how much she loved it.

“What gripped us the most was the oscillations within the film.

“It might have been shot in 1929 but it feels very modern for the time. With the winches and pistons going up and down it has a back and forth quality to it that made sense to the kind of music we make.”

‘Drifters’ is the first film to be given the Field Music treatment and Peter said their aim was to try and avoid going down a stereotypical route.

“We didn’t want to make the score too cinematic by getting the violins out or anything, “ Peter continued.

“Neither for it to be too far removed from what we do as a band.

“The film is like our conductor; it dictates the movement of our music.

“The live performance side of it is quite nerve wracking though. Some of it will be improvised so we’ll see how it goes!

“It’s been great to have a year which has given us the opportunity to try different things,” DAvid added.

“For some people getting a Mercury nomination is a springboard to get their names out there but for us it felt like a closing of our chapter. We were nominated for our fourth album so we’d already been going a long time.

“We’ve had a great year; Peter has collaborated with Paul Smith from Maximo Park and I’ve toured with an American singer I’m a big fan of.”

David also said it was great that 2013 projects had brought Andy back into the fold as the film festival commission was right up his street.

“It was the first project in a while that really tickled his fancy.

“We grew up with Andy and developed our musical vocabulary with him and for us there’s no-one out there who can do what he does which is why we’ve never done Field Music as a three piece since he left.”

The newly reunited three piece will perform the ‘Drifters ‘score at a handful of events following its premiere in Berwick, one venue being London’s Islington Academy.

I’m so in time myself and Peter will get back into the studio and do another Field Music album,” David continued.

“But for now we’re just enjoying what we’re doing.