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August 31, 2009

Lover's Leap

Magda Kiros

Jordan Galland

Jordan Galland

As filmmaker, writer and musician Jordan Galland is a force to be reckoned with. Raised in New York City since the age of five, Galland graduated from NYU where he studied Film, Animation and Mythology. Galland has received recognition as a filmmaker, having written his first play F.A.M.I.L.Y, at the age of thirteen and winning awards at film festivals throughout the United States. He has also gained transatlantic success since his music video, "Green Umbrella," was screened and won awards at Spain's most prestigious short film festival, ALCINE. At the age of eighteen Jordan formed the rock band Dopo Yume, and has since collaborated with Mark Ronson, Daniel Merriweather and Sean Lennon. Galland recently completed and self-released his solo full-lenth Airbrush, and is currently in post-production for his first full-length feature film, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead.

You wrote your first play, F.A.M.I.LY, at thirteen…
Not to say I had foresight, but it's a bit like that show, "American Dad." It's nothing like my family, but I had this father character, who was obsessed with America and named his kids Washington and Liberty. It's basically about a crazy father. My dad said, "Wow, you wrote a play. You should submit that to the Young Playwright's Festival." I was a finalist and it definitely inspired me.

What inspired you to get into film?
I loved growing up in New York City and I idolized Woody Allen from an early age. Writing comedies and telling stories was the ultimate fantasy for me as a kid. I don't remember thinking, "I'm really good at this. I should do this." I just remember obsessing over it. I can spend twenty-four hours straight working on a song or film and not even notice.

Speaking from experience, what advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?
If you have an idea, no matter how developed or how big or small, you have to do whatever you can or use your own recourses to get it made. Even as a short film. And you have to finish it. No matter how stupid you feel while doing it, you have to complete it and visualize your idea from start to finish.

What's been your best moment so far, in terms of your career all around?
Right now I'm really happy and very proud that two songs I wrote are on Daniel Merriweather's record. I know that seems funny, because he gets the spotlight. but it's cool to have him sing them. He has an amazing voice. It was wonderful working and writing with him. And because he reaches so many people, on a different scale from what I'm accustomed to, it was one of the better experiences I had collaborating with someone. We were hanging out at Allido Records, and we just sat down and wrote these songs. He was really open to my ideas, but he also he had a vision of what he wanted his first record to be like.

How would you best describe your sound, to someone who has never heard your music?
I like all different kind of records from all different kinds of periods. I'm a fan of a variety of genres and different records that I make reflect and embody different kinds of influences. My band was going for a guitar/dance, darker yet bouncy sound with a lot of synthesizer. With my solo record that I just released online , Airbrush, I have drummer and a bass player and a horn player, and it's very acoustic and for me, its like Arcade Fire meets FranÇoise Hardy. A bit of the '60's French pop thing, like what Beck did with Mutations. It's got a folk pop vibe to it, I was very much influenced by the production on Feist's Album. It's acoustic guitar, drums, piano, horns.

What was it like touring at 18 with the Dopo Yume? Are they still your band?
When I was 18 I started my band, and I was hanging out with a group of older musicians who gave me tremendous support. We went to Brazil, Mexico and Japan… those were fun days. That band is done. Over the course of six to eight years, I had thirty-five different people play with me. Towards the end, we had more of a solid band. It's funny, once Ben Lee showed up and took my band mates on tour with him, because he could pay them, and Sean Lennon borrowed my band, we rotated lots of members. So people would go on tour and I'd be left. This was while I was studying at NYU, so I'd go to my class and ask if anyone wanted to play with me. In some cases it worked out, and in others in didn't. I don't regret it, I'm happy with the way things worked out. In fact, the trip we did to Brazil, when Fischerspooner came and scooped up the whole band, including me, and made us their backing band and let us open for them, was an amazing experience. However, it was kind of the end of Dopo Yume.

How do you juggle all three, filmmaking, writing and the music?
It's crazy and it really is basically juggling, with some days or weeks dedicated to just one project. If I'm filming a movie, then its months on just one project, the cycle just continues. For example I spent two years working on Rosencrantz, and then at the end of that, I dove into recording and writing a script. In the morning, I might write a chapter of a script and then spend the afternoon working on a song and the evening doing something else. I feel like I have to remind myself that these names, such as filmmaker, writer, etc., are titles, and they denote what a person may do, but that doesn't have to be just who or what the person is.

You've worked with Mark Ronson, what was that like?
Mark is really busy working on some projects. He one of those people, when you're with him and you're working you get really excited, and then the next day if he's busy working on someone else's record, you get kinda lonely. Which is where Daniel and I were in a similar position, hanging out in Allido records trying to get work done, and then we teamed up to do our records. I mean, I was working with him before the release of Versions, and I thought it was really cool, because you had Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse playing their demos. And obviously at the same time he was working with my band. He comes up with these amazing sounds and different arrangements, but what excites me is his archive and knowledge of all kinds of music and his ability to reference all types of influences.

What's in the cards regarding your new album?
I actually have my second solo record coming out sometime within the next six months. However I still promote Airbrush, and I'm working on two music videos, which are going to be animated. I'm really hoping I'll find more artists to work and write with, I'm hoping the Daniel Merriweather stuff helps with that. I love working on my solo material, but I'd rather be working with more singers.

Tell me more about your feature film you've just finished working on.
It's a vampire comedy that connects vampires, Shakespeare and the Holy Grail. In tone it's kinda like Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Woody Allen's Manhattan, and I think there is really something there for everyone. There is a lot of comedy, a lot of vampires. It's got some sexiness in it. It's got Ralph Macchio, who played in The Karate Kid. He's like an Italian Mobster who kills vampires.