ModWear5 - E18 - Emma-Rosa Dias September 26 2016
ModWear5 with Emma-Rosa Dias Episode 18
It was launched on Friday 26th August as part of Channel 4’s Random acts. As part of our ModWear 5 feature we met with the Producer / Director Emma-Rosa Dias to find out a little bit more about the short-film and more about her company – Afro-Mic Productions.
1) What would you say the “The Devil” is about?
“The Devil” is a celebration of the fashion and music of Mod subculture, a detailed look into a timeless British scene which features real Mods from the 60s, 80s and the 21st century coming together for a night out. The short-film was written by Mark Baxter and is narrated by Paul Weller.
2) What’s your inspiration behind the project?
My interest in Mods actually goes back to the early 80s. I used to spend everyday after school in my mother's record shop so I was exposed to all kinds of subcultures. It wasn't just Mods but it was Punks, Skinheads, New Romantics, Goths and that really had an impact on me. It was only three years ago though, when I was directing a Belfast City commercial which featured a Mod event, that I reconnected with the scene. I was amazed to see this subculture that I saw firsthand in the 80s still thriving, and I knew I had to document this. I then spent the next two years creating a trilogy of short documentaries on this subculture that is generally hesitant to open up to mainstream media. Our trilogy concluded in Tokyo and it was amazing to see this British subculture thrive 6,000 miles from its spiritual home of London.
But 'The Devil' really came together when Random Acts and Northern Ireland Screen gave us the opportunity to create a short film showcasing the best of Modernist life. Our time spent with the Mods revealed a lot about the lifestyle and we were impressed by their attention to detail and their love of aesthetics and we felt we needed to capture this. This translates directly into the film as we obsess over their clothes, their scooters and their dancing. But it's not just about fashion, there is also a real sense of community amongst Mods, and in 'The Devil' you will see three different generations of Mods come together and give each other respect which was really inspiring to witness.
3) How did you pull it all together?
It all started with my friend and author Mark Baxter (The A-Z of Mod), we approached him with the idea and he agreed to write a poem for C4’s Random Acts Spoken Word strand. This poem of course became the script for 'The Devil'.
From the very beginning we wanted 'The Devil' to be an authentic representation of what it means to be a Mod, so we immediately sought out locations and wardrobe that would ring true for the subculture. Two of these locations are Bar Italia and Blow Up at St Moritz Club, which are both located in Soho and they both do a great job of showcasing Mod life. For a real Mod wardrobe we were supplied with some new pieces from Peckham Rye, Gibson, Art Gallery, Adidas, Fred Perry, Merc and Ben Sherman, and they all look the part.
Of course wardrobe and locations are nothing without a cast, so we reached out to all the Mods we had come into contact with over the years and asked them to take part. We received an overwhelming response as everyone loved the idea of starring in something that would celebrate their culture, and every Mod you see in 'The Devil' is real. Many of them brought their own vintage clothing and did their own hair and make-up and they all look immaculate.
Of course 'The Devil' wouldn't be what it is today if it wasn't for the spectacular narration. We approached Paul Weller with Baxter's poem which he loved and he agreed to narrate it. I couldn't imagine any else doing it now whenever I see the Devil today.
4) As well as paying special attention to detail on the way the film was shot, the way everybody looks and the authentic locations – getting the soundtrack right must have been a huge part of this project?
Yes, capturing that authentic Mod sound was really important to us so the soundtrack needed to be just right. We contacted Acid Jazz Records and Blow Up Records Ltd and their help was invaluable, they guided us to two tracks that work brilliantly and we really appreciated their input. The songs used are 'Sinister Six' by Mother Earth and 'The Hawk' by Big Boss Man, and they're really representative of the Mod scene as a whole and just as real as the Mods and locations.
Whether you are a die hard Mod or unaware of the scene, these tracks will really make people sit up and take notice, and 'The Devil' just wouldn't be the same without them.
5) What do you & Afro-Mic Productions have lined up in the future?
'The Devil' is the kind of content we love to create. Filming subcultures that are under everyone's radar is what really excites us and you can expect to see more of this kind of subculture content in the future!
You can connect with Emma-Rosa on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmmaRosaDias
Check out more from Afro-Mic Productions: http://www.afromicproductions.com/