When people think of New Brunswick, the first things that come to mind are likely such Maritime-based items as lobsters and changing tides—but if local filmmakers Tim Rayne and Arthur Thomson have their way, a new item will be added to that list: music.
Rayne and Thomson have been hard at work on The Capital Project, a two-hour documentary film showcasing Fredericton’s music scene. The documentary aims to shed light on both the incredible music that is created locally, as well as how it enriches and interacts with the community.
Rayne, the former station manager at College Hill Student Radio (CHSR), first thought of the idea while working in that position. With financial help from Telefilm Canada, Rayne and Thomson got to work interviewing both performers and others working in the NB music industry.
The team is now preparing for a special concert event on Nov. 2 at the Boyce Farmers Market, entitled “The Capital Project Presents: Awesome, I Shot That!” The event—which is free to the public thanks to a generous sponsorship from SABIAN Cymbals—will screen scenes from the film between performances from the various artists featured in it.
Uniquely, though, the event will also filmed and used in the piece, and the filmmakers are encouraging audience members to record the concert themselves, providing footage to be used in the final credits of the project.
In anticipation of this exciting event, I sat down with Tim Rayne and Arthur Thomson to learn more about their fascinating project.
The Brunswickan: Why do you feel it’s important to showcase the talent here in Fredericton and New Brunswick?
Rayne: I think New Brunswick doesn’t get the recognition for its talent; we’re always kind of the drive-through province—and I feel that we have a lot to offer. I think that we don’t even know how good the music scene is ourselves, and that this project is designed to bring opportunity to people to see and hear about the music that’s in their own backyard. For me, I think it’s an opportunity to show off what we can do, and this documentary covers everything from hip-hop, to punk, to metal, to funk, to country—it’s really all over the gambit. It’s really about the diversity of styles of music that showcase talent, and that, I don’t think people are necessarily aware of.
Bruns: How have you seen ways that music has shaped communities?
Rayne: Well I actually think that’s really fun and interesting, because in a lot of cases you start to see generations and generations of musicians when people played, and now their grandfather inspired them when they started kitchen parties and things along those lines. But what you notice is that music is a strong part of culture in New Brunswick—and it’s not just Celtic music—and we see that with the Harvest Jazz and Blues festival. In terms of community, there’s a lot of young people now organizing themselves and creating collectives where they can share jam spaces, and share resources.
Thomson: I think part of it too is just how supportive the community is; whereas you might see scenes where people are more competitive and looking to get ahead of the next band, here they’re including people. Like if somebody’s new in town, they seem to end up in a band somewhere
Rayne: Yeah it is community-based and there’s a strong support-base. When I lived in Vancouver and Ottawa, the culture to get ahead can be pretty cutthroat, but here it’s more about looking at challenging yourself. They challenge each other and the quality of the work just keeps improving. I think what will impress people the most about this project is the production value, the original music, [and] the talent that is here that have been pushing themselves for quite some time. If you talk to bands that travel, Fredericton is known for its strong music scene within the national music scene—but not within Fredericton. You can get bands who play in Europe and doing really interesting things all the time, but no one knows about it. Everyone’s in a vacuum, and this project is about showing that we can break out of that and have the opportunity to be heard, and generate some kind of income.
Bruns: Concerning the music scene itself, what aspects of the local talents are you trying to showcase?
Thomson: Part of what we’re trying to showcase is the music, of course—but what’s also coming out in the documentary isn’t just the music and the information just about the band, it’s the people and the artists themselves. Looking at how they create their music, what new and innovative ways they’re creating and distributing music and the impact it’s having on education. It’s directly about music, but also everything that surrounds the music.
Rayne: Yeah, it’s about the capital—that of course being Fredericton—but it’s also about the cultural capital, the economic capital and the human capital; so it’s one of the first films that has dug in that deep on a local music [scene] anywhere. I don’t think it’s unique to the city or even the province, and I think it’s happening everywhere… but it’s not being documented. We’re looking at the shift where people always wanted to be on major labels, but now the DIY culture is starting to provide opportunities that weren’t there before like distribution, marketing and social media. It opens the doorway for people to be investing in culture in new ways, rather than traditional industries.
Bruns: With “The Capital Project Presents: Awesome; I Shot That!” coming up on Nov. 2 at the Boyce Farmer’s Market, how do you feel the film and experience of the audience members benefit from them being able to film the concert themselves?
Rayne: I mean, the idea that it’s a community project means we want everyone to feel like they’re a part of it. When you go to a concert now, half the time you feel like people aren’t really watching it—but they’re watching it through their phones. Do I think it’s bad? I don’t know, but I can say that it makes for great footage. So, if people wanted to share some of what they experience—hanging out with their friends, having a moment—that’s what life is full of and this is a time capsule of a moment in time and place. At the end of the day, people can share that and we can incorporate it into the film. We’re not looking for anyone to film the entire concert—that’s crazy—but we do encourage people to upload some stuff to us after, and on the day we’ll give people directions on where they can upload it after.
Bruns: What reason would you give someone to attend your upcoming concert or to watch the film?
Rayne: With regards [to] the Nov. 2 show, it’s a great opportunity for anyone that’s here and looking to connect with the city—to meet people who were once students, who are students—and go down to experience what this city can offer in terms of entertainment, art and culture. I think that if people want to get a taste of some of the best musicians and get a feel for what’s being happening over the last few years [in the province], or if you’re just anyone who loves music. For the film, I take pride in where I’m from, but I also take pride in discovering things that people don’t necessarily know about or appreciate, so if you’re someone who enjoys learning about people and you want to learn about the process of creating, there’s that. If you’re an artist, musician, a parent or future parent concerned about music education, music therapy, there’s many themes in this project with something for everyone.
The Capital Project is a film that will engage any audience member with the slightest interest in music. The film is a snapshot of New Brunswick’s music scene; it focuses in on the human stories of the artists in that environment. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.