A Girl with a Cassette Player for a Heart
New Interview with UK Writer Lizzie Hudson on the Making of MTM 2
Map the Music happened when, inspired by the comfort she found in going to concerts after her father’s death, Samantha Hale started taking a video camera around with her to see the likes of Imogen Heap, Tori Amos, Carey Brothers and Zoë Keating. The result is a really beautiful documentary investigating the incredible ways that music affects people’s lives.
I asked Sam some questions about the film and its upcoming sequel.
You didn’t go to film school, but was film-making something you’d thought about doing before having the idea for Map the Music?
Actually, no. Ever since I was little I wanted to be an actress. I thought that was what I was meant to do. I was still pursuing it when my dad passed away, and the only reason I stopped was because it was such a difficult time for me. I had already planned to go to several of Imogen Heap’s shows before he passed, and I almost didn’t go. My friends convinced me to go and I wound up going to about 10 or so shows that tour. When Immi announced she was doing another tour later that year I decided to go again. At first I thought I would bring a little camera just to have a video blog, but then I realized there are so many people out there who use music as therapy (like I was doing,) so I thought why not document other people’s experiences as well. And that’s how it started. I kind of made it up as I went along and learned how to use the camera equipment as I went along as well…
How is Map the Music 2 going to be different from the first film?
Well I definitely knew that I wanted to make it different than the first one. I am a bit more ambitious with this one, in the sense that I want to expand on everything really. I am interviewing a larger variety of musicians – different genres and age groups. I am interviewing people on streets in various countries – not just the USA. I am trying to show that music and love are universal. I am travelling more and working harder to get the most unique possible footage and stories that I can get. And when it comes down to it, love is a powerful, emotional and broad concept. Plus I would like to think I have grown a bit since making the first film, and it will be even more personal.
Map the Music was inspired by your dad’s death and the comfort you were able to find in music, but Map the Music 2 will be about how music ties in so closely with love. What happened in your life to make you want to focus on that?
I can laugh about it now, but it was difficult to admit at first. I got the idea for this film after having my heart broken by a man I met while filming the first MTM. Being that he is a musician, I started having a really hard time listening to some of my favorite music because some of it reminded me of him. I realized I was hearing music more intensely – both when I was with him and feeling bliss, and when I wasn’t with him and was hurt. I just blindly began filming a few months later not really knowing what I was trying to say with the film. It took me a year a filming, but I finally figured it out, and am very proud of where this film is going…
Interviewing so many people with this “addiction” to going to concerts did you notice any common answers? Is there a universal thing that keeps people coming back?
Hmmm. It’s hard to put it into words. I guess that goes hand in hand with why the power of music is so hard to explain. The most common thing I see is when I ask people about concerts, love, and music…is that their face lights up and they smile.
Do you think it’s healthy for us all to hold on to music this much for support, is it safe to depend on and have so much faith in? And how is that different with being invested in a song and invested in the person who writes it?
That’s a great question and something I absolutely address in the film. It’s a big part of the ending. It’s one of the most important themes actually. So maybe let’s talk more about this after the film comes out
What’s the most ridiculous thing you have done to get to a concert? (e.g spending lots of money, travelling far, giving up something?)
Flying all over the world to Tori Amos play with a full orchestra. Totally worth the experience though. It’s a great way to see new cities with a group of friends, then everyone comes together to go see the show and it’s a beautiful experience.
Finally, best gig you’ve ever been to? (It’s totally okay to pick like, five)
Oh man. You are going to make me pick? I have been going to shows since I was 12! My first big concert was a radio station Christmas show and there were about 12 bands playing….No Doubt, Garbage, Bush… It was 1995 and I wanted to go so badly because Alanis Morissette was playing. I wound up sneaking in to the pit and got to see her right up close. I was so excited and thought I was so cool for sneaking up there!