Doug Brown on his new Grindcore Documentary: SLAVE TO THE GRIND
Toronto native Doug Brown is on his way across the United States this summer and fall to showcase his new Grindcore documentary “Slave to the Grind.” The first official documentary on this subject, the film explores the history and influence that bands like Repulsion, Brutal Truth and Anal Cunt (just to name a few) have had on extreme music. Starting out with a crowd-fundraising goal of $12,000, it exceeded to $19,681, proving people wanted to see more about this sub-genre. Any fan of extreme music will appreciate the time and dedication that was taken to explore the bands and influences. Definitely check it out when it comes to your city, it is not to be missed.
You are freshly back from showing the movie at Obscene Extreme Festival in the Czech Republic, a perfect place for Grindcore fans to experience the documentary. Was the reaction what you expected? Why do you think it’s taken so long for someone to make a film dedicated to the subject?
DB: Screening three times at the 20th edition of Obscene Extreme was a dream come true. I won’t lie, I was nervous screening the film over there – If there is going to be a place where my film would be challenged by an audience, it would be at OEF – these people know their grind! I have been thrilled at the reactions from audiences thus far. I was able to discuss my film with hundreds of people from all around the world and I continued to be taken by the enthusiasm towards my project. It makes the four year slog to make this film all worth it!
Talk a little about the artist featured in the film and what viewers can expect. Did any artist decline on being featured in the film?
Anyone who knows even a little bit about the genre could make some obvious guesses at the key players that make up the historical elements of the film – Repulsion, Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Brutal Truth – They are all present in the film. What I am most proud of is that we have found subtle ways to lace the film with some lesser known and up and coming bands. Fiend, Wake, Deboned… Grindcore is everywhere, and people of all ages dig these messed up tunes. I am very happy with the quantity of bands we have included without disrupting a story line.
This said, we made some hard decision along the way. We conducted interviews that we could not include due to time restraints. I guess that is what the bonus features are for! As for people declining – only one person declined, and the film reveals who that is.
The musicians do most of the narrative, which is important. Did you learn anything new from the interviews that you didn’t know before? Where you nervous to interview any of the people featured?
Slave To The Grind is not a concert film – it is a series of stories told first hand by nearly 60 musicians from around the world. It is surreal to be in a position to have so many legendary musicians explain the history of your favorite genre of music to you in detail. Every day I learned hundreds of bits of information of the history of grindcore, though to me it is the intensity and passion of each of these musicians that I continued to be floored by. I always knew that there is a certain type of person that gravitates to music as extreme as grindcore, though I did not expect each musician to be as kind and inviting as those who I met. As an example I would never think I would become such good friends with a member of Anal Cunt. As for nerves – I was quite nervous for my first few interviews, though those nerves were routed in a lack of understanding of the direction I was taking this film. Once we got in a groove, I found we were looking forward to each interview. Each subject was like a piece of a puzzle that was unlocked.
What was the motivation behind you making this film? What challenges did you run into?
I suppose my motivation was simple – I want the world to know about Grindcore. I love it. Grind is the most intense and pure genre of music out there. It’s objective is simple – a combination of speed and intensity, though the music is so incredibly inaccessible. I also am happy to have been the first to make a film on the subject. I would not be surprised If I didn’t make it,someone would have made a film on the subject in the next few years.
As for challenges – This whole film was an unbelievable uphill challenge. Though this is the fourth feature length film I have worked on, I underestimated the challenges in making a film on a history as global and politically charged and grindcore. I currently have catalogued 1000 hours of grindcore history and have a photo archive of nearly 20,000 photographs. This is also backed up and stored in a separate location, and even the process or archiving these materials in their highest quality was one of the most daunting undertakings. And that was done before we started making the film!
This has been a very fan funded movie, which shows just how dedicated extreme music fans are. What was it like seeing your goal reached and then go beyond what you could have asked for?
I was beside myself. We had been researching this topic for a full year before we went public with it, so we were already quite attached to what we were working on. We were nervous, but we also felt like we had something quite unique on our hands. We had only conducted 4 interviews when we launched our kickstarter campaign, and we used each of these interviews to cut a brief teaser to get people aware of our project. Oddly, those clips could not be further from what the end product is like, though I am glad we made them to get our footing as filmmakers in a new territory.
It goes without saying that the fans are just as important as the bands in any genre of music, though grindcore fans are a whole other level of intensity. Getting messages from people from all around the world thanking me for making this film is a reminder why I made this film in the first place.
What has making this movie taught you as a filmmaker? Do you have plans to make any other films in the future and if so what are some subjects that you would like to feature?
This film has taught me the importance of staying organized. For example, we transcribed each minute of our interviews, word for word to time code. We had nearly 100 hours of interviews that were three quarters of a million characters typed in a 650 page google doc. It took nearly a year, but it saved endless time when looking for bits in the editing room.
I hope to one day make a film on the history of the Archie Comic, and I feel like Peter Steele would be an amazing topic for a film. Firstly, I am going to take a year off. This film exhausted me on a level I can not put into words.
I saw that Sebastian Bach was annoyed about the title you are using (for those unaware, this is also the title to a Skid Row album). I would think that annoying someone like him might be a badge of honor. Did you laugh when you saw that?
I loved the album Skid Row Slave To The Grind growing up. I also hate Gilmore Girls, so ya – that was a badge of honour.
Check out the links below to learn more about the movie and Doug. Make sure you see the film when it plays in a city near you.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Slavetothegrindfilm/