Silent tribute for static’s sci-fi charge

65 Days Of Static'2010
65 Days Of Static'2010

PAYING homage to 1970s sci fi kitsch isn’t usually on the top of most bands’ agendas. But this month, as part of Sheffield’s festival of film and music, Sensoria, the city’s best-known soundscapers , 65daysofstatic, have created a soundtrack to a sci fi classic.

And it’s not Star Wars.

65daysofstatic have penned their own soundtrack for sci fi classic Silent Running, which was released in 1973. The band will perform their own musical response to the film live at the Queens Social Club which, rather fittingly, also came into the world around 1973.

The live soundtrack performance follows the successful release of We Were Exploding Anyway, the band’s third studio album.

But while home-grown in Sheffield, 65daysofstatic enjoy their biggest following outside of the city, and even outside of the UK, as the band’s Joe Shrewsbury explains: “Well, it’s so easy to get music out there these days, it doesn’t really matter where you’re from. I’m very proud of being from Sheffield, and I love living here and all that, but it doesn’t particularly inform what we do.

“I think not having much or any singing helps, as there’s no language barrier. Music is kind of universal though isn’t it? More immediately immediate than say a novel or a film. Music goes in your ears and you either respond to it or you don’t.”

For their Sensoria performance the band will be playing much closer to home, but that doesn’t diminish their excitement about being part of Sensoria: “We’re hugely excited. It’s really cool to have been asked, and it’s really nice to be part of something bigger going on in Sheffield. Sensoria is a really interesting and eclectic event in, the Queens Social Club is a really great venue.”

And while it would seem that writing a film score would have its limitations and musical restrictions, Shrewsbury believes it’s a musically-liberating experience: “When writing the Silent Running filmtrack the band opted for a minimalist sound: “It was a lot of fun to write, because there’s a lot more scope to indulge certain impulses when doing soundtrack stuff, like really weird noises and much more minimal or experimental stuff.

“When we make records, we’re always trying to be as concise and attention grabbing as possible. This is almost the opposite - you have the opportunity to explore musical ideas for much longer and not to then edit them quite so brutally.”

“It suits the Sensoria bill precisely because it’s film based. We originally did the re-score for Glasgow film festival, and we’re taking it to Manchester and Amsterdam, but it was always in the back of our minds that it would suit Sensoria.

We’re a loud noisy instrumental band, and it’s the best kind of 70s sci-fi. What could possibly go wrong?”

But 65daysofstatic aren’t the only live act at Sensoria. As part of the campaign to save Portland Works, a small industrial complex that provides reasonable premises for small silversmiths, cutlers and metal workers still working in the Steel City’s steel industry. As the site is facing possible closure and transformation into trendy flats, people across the city are petitioning to preserve Portland Work’s industrial purpose.

Many musicians cite Sheffield’s Industrial heritage as a major influence, so, as an ode to the steady industrial rhythm that once drove the city, several drummers and percussionists from across the city will take part in a evening of drum-based performances at Portland Works itself. The event will kick off with the huge thud of a forge hammer.

And there’ll be more live performances at Mixed In Sheffield’s Secret Warehouse party, with performances from Heaven 17, Toddla T, I Monster, Lord of Flatbush, Elephant Keys, Hey Sholay and Wet Nuns. Details of the event are revealed on the Mixed In Sheffield website.

The Washington’s also taking part in festivities, with its royal-inspired event, Off With Their Heads, over the weekend from Friday April 29 to Sunday May 1 and features performances from The Violet May, Banditos, Jack and the Beanstalks, Death Rays of Ardilla, Black Cat White Cat, Little Robots, Glistening Pelt, Mega Aquarians, Pete David and the Payroll Union and the Great Eastern.