syncs! article and interview
with the deville
article written by: Upchuck Undergrind
The DeVille over at www.SyncMovies.com has got some surprises in store
for you. He dwells, plots and schemes in the underground and even for
the underground is rather askew from it. What is this of which I speak?
What madness leaves my lips? Why, the underground movie sync culture,
of course. Find a movie and replace its normal audio track with a music
album and watch as strange synchronicities occur before your very eyes.
Of course, the classic example of this, the very prototype, would be
Dark Side of the Moon laid across visual surreality of The Wizard of
Oz. Strange fusions between picture and sound begin to occur as the
ebb and flow of the audio seems to mesh spookily with the ebb and flow
of the visuals. You may be aware of The Dark Side of the Rainbow edition
that can be found by the diligent on the internet, but The DeVille,
as he fancies himself, over at The DeVilles Workshop, has produced
an alternate take, a different syncing of these two items. The difference
begins with where to cue the beginning of the Floyd CD in the movie.
DeVille - rebel that he is - has employed a different starting point
from what most argues is the traditional, classic point of entry for
Floyds classic space rock album. He calls it The Dark Side of
Oz. The differences in what you see will range from the subtle to the
not-so-subtle, at least for those familiar with the Dark Side of the
Rainbow version. With something like a sync, shifting the parallel relationship
between audio and video can create significant differences and, naturally,
The DeVilles intent was to create, I think, an entirely different
version. The waves and movement of the movie vs. that of the music meet
each other in different ways and spots now. Broadly speaking, there
may be remarkable similarities, but on a more specific scale, the viewer
ought to see new anomalies, fresh jibings of the two distinct elements.
Moving from traditional syncs to the opposite side of the spectrum
we have The DeVilles audio-video fusion of Tim Burtons Nightmare
Before Christmas and Downcurvs dC. You will
start to see here the special, alternative sort of sync method the iconoclastic
DeVille employs in his zealous work. As Ive said, with the Floyd/Oz
mix, you find much of the blending occurring in a flowing movement audio
matching movement video. DeVilles method is either more subtle
or more startling, depending on your view. And often, the lyrical content
of a song is vital to observing The DeVilles matches
(the points of synchronicity in a sync). Youll find that The DeVille
has orchestrated syncs in which the verbiage leaving the mouths of the
vocalists seem to sometimes match or describe the actions afoot onscreen.
For example, one of the very first matches to occur as Downcurvs
industrial rock moves to align with Burtons film is the emotive
plea of Downcurv, Why cant we turn back ... which
is echoed by the character Jacks actions as he begins to, well,
to turn his back. Jack himself points out a sync as he gestures
toward a demonesque statue when Downcurvs personal pain comes
across in the lyrics, These ghosts and these demons. Sometimes
the matches are less direct and require consideration or ponderance
to arrive at DeVilles intended sync. How about Sallys secretive
motion to hide a spoon as Downcurv utters Dont look now.
The concept of not looking gels with Sallys attempt to hide something.
This is the sort of thing afoot with much of DeVilles work. Theres
also the alarming but interesting juxtaposition of something fairy tale-ish
but deeply gothic like Burtons stop-mo animation and Downcurvs
(admittedly dark) industrial music. As a final example of the sync efforts
here, and to bring you something definitely on the subtle side, consider
Jack composing himself into an angelic stance with his hands over his
face. Downcurv says, Innocent.......
Now some of these Im going to leave to you to figure out, to
experience on your own. In the case of Toy Story in the Attic Im
going to focus on the party atmosphere of watching childlike toy characters
frolicking across their visually appealing world while classic and fun
rock n roll a la Aerosmiths famous Toys in the Attic
provides the soundtrack. You find the syncs on this one. Im gonna
talk about the atmosphere. Few havent heard the work of Aerosmiths
classic album and everybody knows the fun-loving, drunk and spirited,
lusty rock sounds of Aerosmith. Classic tracks like Sweet Emotion
populate this classic disc. And now it gets an unusual relationship
with Toy Story. Lets face it. Its not the sort of combination
youd expect to find. For one thing, Aerosmith is an earthy, organic
rock n roll band with a classic, old school flavor to their tunage.
And Toy Story is cutting edge, anything but organic ... and very much
oriented toward children. But Aerosmiths music is sometimes quite
... adult. It makes for strange bedfellows. And there are multiple ways
to approach the style concocted here by the DeVilles sync approach.
You can tackle it as juxtapositional humor, getting a terrific laugh
listening to Aerosmith rollick as electronic Disney characters undergo
a childrens fantasy adventure before you. Or if you prefer to
be more psychological about, perhaps you could consider it the clash
- or fusion - of the inner child that never wants to die with the grown-up
and his or her new priorities and outlooks. Whatever the case, its
an unusual, distinctive sync.
Next up is the interesting combination of Friday the 13th with A Perfect
Circle. Imagine that! Its called Friday the 13th Step and, of
course, the album the DeVille has layered over it is none other than
The Thirteenth Step. Of course, some might go for putting darker, more
horror oriented sounds across a film like Friday the 13th but, of course,
DeVille is anything but predictable. And his syncs are typically shocking
in combination. Of course, so far as darkness is concerned, you can
still find comparisons and differences floating about as this sync unfolds
before you. Instead of summoning the darkness of horror or the devil
(not to be confused with DeVille), the syncer here brings along the
darkness of the soul, something which Maynard of Perfect Circle (and
Tool) is a master of discussing. And therein lies the odd juxtaposition
of Friday the 13ths darkness and that of the album in question.
Friday the 13th, of course, is pulpy, exploitation darkness, horror
and gore, serial killers with hockey masks (not to mention tumbles in
the hay). Its a more lowbrow, Hollywood horror, mainstream terror,
get your kicks in a movie thats sick. This less profound darkness
finds an interesting partner in the works of Perfect Circle, which,
strongly contrasting against Sean Cunninghams slasher classic,
are subtle and relatively restrained, but brimming with profundity underneath.
Friday the 13th is sound and fury, signifying nothing. Perfect Circle
is not driven with this aggression, but finds its shadows quietly beneath,
and with much significance.
The next sync under consideration finds yet another juxtaposition.
Consider the lithe fluidity of The Matrix pressed up against the chunky,
bold riffage of Metallica. Here, atmospherically, both works occupy
a place of darkness and tension. Metallicas music still contained
elements of its thrash roots here but was turning its thoughts and lyrics
inward, finding more philosophical profundity than before. Which, on
that level, makes for a nice blend with The Matrix (the sync is called
The Black Matrix), a movie full of philosophy. Also, both works are
forward driven and rife with energy. On these levels, the two items
have something in common. But then theres the difference. Consider
the (though production-wise tempered) aggression and bombast of heavy
metal, the distortion, the heavy guitar riffage, the battering percussion,
the sung but raw vocals ... take all that and run it up against the
slick, teflon coating of The Matrix. Its a thunderstorm brewing
as these two fronts come together. What a relationship, huh? If you
still want some more Matrix/Metallica action, then check out Load the
Matrix, which takes the whiskey rock southern reach of Metallica's Load
album and fuses it to the popular sequel to the Matrix. Again, you get
the grit and headbangingness of Metallica juxtaposed with the visuals
from Warner Brother's slick and philosophical actioner.
Next up, Ziggy Starfighter! Thats right, the indie art rock otherworld
land of David Bowie gets put in bed with the kid sci-fi flourishes of
The Last Starfighter. Of course, here the nominal relationship begins
with the sci-fi roots of each. Starfighter, naturally, is outright sci-fi
adventuring for the space and lasers crowd out there. Bowie, however,
while creating sort of a sci-fi concept, is approaching the sci-fi aspect
more obliquely, creating an artistic space oddity (if youll forgive
the pun). Again, its sort of a fun vs. serious (or at least intellectually
fun) combination. And, again, its quite different, but what else
would you expect from the diabolical work of The DeVille? The advantage,
naturally, is that - especially for those who grew up with the movie
- you dont need the words to enjoy the simplistic but fun adventures
in space of The Last Starfighter. While viewing you can revel in the
pop satirical sci references and rock changing audio work of one of
musics most auteurish talents. To hear something offbeat, quirky
and fascinating emanating from your speakers while the straightforward
teen space fun time of Last Starfighter unfolds will give you a unique
way to enjoy the distinct individualities of each of the two works.
Finally, take into consideration the blend of Smashing Pumpkins Machina
- The Machines of God with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
Obviously, the jumping off point here is that one word: Machine. But
from there its an interesting world you enter. Ill wrap
this piece by giving you some more examples of The DeVilles unique
syncing and how he strives to blend lyrics with visuals. As with Eternal
Nightmare, here Ill give you some hints. (Thanks to DeVille for
supplying sync lists on Rise of the Machina and Nightmare.) I love the
idea of matching the words What is Hell with the explosion
of nuclear missiles. Thats just a terrific and bold statement,
I must say. Thats pretty groovy. Actually, this sync has a lot
of nifty things like that. Katherine shakes her head in the negative
as Billy Corgan declares, Impossible! Skynet appears to
the words traverse the sky. In a movie about altering the
past and future, you get this match: What is it you want to change
lines up with the TX heading back on her future altering mission. Katherine
tries to keep a grip on her seat while grabbed by the TX. She is exhorted
to do so by Corgan: Try to hold on. And, of course, she
is rescued and, shares Corgan, still alive. I could go on
and on but Ill leave the rest of the fun to your discovery. Needless
to say, its an odd combination but perhaps the grit of Machina
somehow holds hands with the grit of the Terminator future. That Ill
leave to your judgment.
1. How did you first discover the underground sync culture?
In November of 1999 my son Ray (CODE ATOM) told me one of his friends
had read something really cool on an internet message board. If you
watch The Wizard of Oz while playing DSOTM it looks like the album was
written to go along with it. It had a list of things to look for, and
precise instructions on how to cue it up. It sounded too good to be
true, so of course we had to try it.
2. What about syncing caught your interest?
I found it mind boggling that two different forms of media created
so many years apart, and that shouldn't have anything to do with each
other, could have so much in common. There are even a few die-hards
out there who contend that Pink Floyd must have done it on purpose.
3. What made you decide you wanted to try your own hand at it?
It seemed pretty obvious to me that if there was one combination that
worked, there must be others. My love of (obsession with) music and
movies gave me an extensive pool to choose from. I've been collecting
music since the days of vinyl LP's. And my movie collection numbers
over 2000. Of course now I'm collecting them on CD and DVD.
4. How did you go about trying your own hand at it?
In 1999, I had a GO Video dual deck VHS recorder. This meant I could
play a tape on one side and record it on the other. But there was another
really nifty feature about the machine that made it ideally suited for
my purpose. Instead of the audio from the tape, you could feed in an
alternate audio source and record it simultaneously with the video.
I had the 1993 video tape of The Wizard of Oz, and Ray had the original
CD. So we cued up The Dark Side of the Moon on my computer in Windows
Media Player, paused it at the beginning and set it to repeat. I had
a cable going from line out on the computer to line in on the recorder.
It took three tries to get it right, but I ended up with a perfectly
synced, very good quality recording of The Dark Side of Oz. I was flabbergasted
to say the least!
5. What were some of your first sync combinations?
The next one was Eternal Nightmare, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before
Christmas with Downcurv's dC. Then came The Lord of the Rings - The
Fellowship of the Ring with Led Zeppelin IV, Toy Story with Toys in
the Attic, Black Sabbath and The Exorcist, David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust
with The Last Starfighter... and the list goes on.
6. Any early drastic failures you learned from?
Yes, I've had a couple of major "hiccups" where I lost everything
on my hard drive. One was when my computer got the Blaster virus and
the other was when I accidentally loaded the operating system over two
years worth of work on my F drive. So I've learned to be more careful
and use common sense. Always keep backups of your work, and invest in
the latest version of Norton anti-virus. A firewall is not a bad idea
7. Can you actually make a living selling sync stuff?
My goal is to have a basement office at Turner here in Atlanta, where
I could create syncs full time. With the right backing and promotion
this could easily be a billion dollar enterprise. The beauty of syncs
from the studio's standpoint would be that the first and most expensive
part is already done: the movie and music already exist.
8. What made you decide to take an unorthodox approach to syncing?
I'm not exactly sure what would be considered orthodox in the realm
of syncs. So, I don't know.
9. Is it tedious to work on syncing?
It's more fun than you could possibly imagine - I'm having the time
of my life. I've spent literally thousands of hours over the last six
years working on syncs, perfecting every detail as much as was humanly
possible. But when you're doing something you love to do, no sacrifice
of time or energy is too much.
10. How do you discover syncs, just mix and match until something works?
Actually it's much easier than that, and funny, too. Stephen and I
refer to it as "The Rainbow Connection" (and then we break
into song). As you know there's a rainbow on the cover of The Dark Side
of the Moon, and in the Wizard of Oz Dorothy sings Somewhere Over the
Rainbow. Then there's the triangularly shaped prism on the cover, and
all the triangle shapes and references in the movie. So there's your
precedent. If there were other syncs, there would also be a trail of
bread crumbs to lead you to them. Similar themes, images, titles, lyrics,
something that in hindsight is blatantly obvious. As an example let's
take Rob Zombie. On track 2 of the White Zombie album La Sexorcisto
Vol. 1, there is a snippet from Night of the Living Dead: "...an
epidemic of mass murder being committed by a virtual army of unidentified
assassins." So when I was looking for the CD to go with Night of
the Living Dead, I immediately thought of Rob Zombie. And it absolutely
had to be his solo album Hellbilly Deluxe with the song Living Dead
Girl. And sometimes the CD will lead you to the movie as in the case
of White Zombie's Astro Creep 2000 with the song entitled More Human
Than Human. If you'll recall from the movie Blade Runner, that was the
Nexus Corporation's motto. Also in the song he says "I am the Nexus
1, I want more life f**ker, I ain't done". Hmmm... Rainbow connection?
You bet. That's just one of thirty or so more syncs that Stephen and
I know of but have not done yet. How about Planes, Trains and Automobiles
(starring John Candy!?!) with the Cars' Candy-O... Planes, Trains and
Candy-O. Then there's The Breakfast Club and Supertramp's Breakfast
in America, The Running Man and Jackson Brown's Running On Empty, Radiohead's
OK Computer with Hackers - it's quite a list. I stumbled onto something
miraculous quite by accident, and discovered that I have the knack for
11. What's the greatest sync in the world, in your opinion?
I'd have to say the greatest is The Dark Side of Oz because it opened
the door for all the others.
12. How do you feel about the whole intellectual property argument
some bands and movie studios probably harp about in regards to syncs?
The only way I can see that someone would be upset about syncs is if
they felt they were losing something. As I started to say earlier, syncs
would give these bands and studios a new venue and a new medium through
which to be known. I encourage people to support the artists and studios
by buying the original movie and CD for each of the syncs because by
knowing both creations they'll get a much deeper insight as to how and
why the art forms sync. I don't see any problem there at all.
13. Are you an information anarchist?
If you mean do I believe information should be free to all those who
seek it, then yes. In every aspect of life, the most efficient person
is an informed person.
14. What is syncing's most important contribution to pop culture?
It takes our two favorite forms of entertainment and creates a totally
new and exciting way to enjoy them both at the same time.
15. Final thoughts?
It's been an honor for me to stumble across this and be able to bring
syncs to life. Music and movies have meant the world to me, and I feel
good being able to give something back to them.
article written by: Upchuck Undergrind