I was going to say let’s start at the beginning but I’m not sure which particular beginning – Patchbay Records, Redrum’s Unit 22 or the amazing animation to go with the track – which is after all what we’re really interested in being a short form film magazine.
But first a brief low-down please about Patchbay – how it came about and its intention.
M: Patchbay was officially launched on 12th April 2019 by Myself and Red. I had been working on the idea and designs for Patchbay during my time at university in Brighton and launched it as part of my final major project. We’ve always worked together on weird little music and design projects but I just thought “fuck it” and launched it one day to give us the kick up the arse to finally start putting our ideas out there. I figured once I’d put it online and told everyone I’d be too embarrassed if we flopped so we had to look good. I started Patchbay with the intention to reconnect audio / visual culture and disciplines via a platform which would act as a “patchbay” for different creatives, connected under one roof raving. We share a spookily similar taste in music, art, film etc and are just determined to do something worthwhile because we love it.
Is Red Filgate’s producer-moniker Redrum?
R: Yes, it’s kinda a pun I guess? It’s also because I’m a massive film nerd, which is what I’m studying at Manchester University.
Unit 22 is Redrum’s second release – what was behind the decision to use stop-frame for the video?
R: I’ve been fascinated in stop-motion ever since I was a kid. I would make Lego stop motions and do little rotoscoping animations. I love it so much because of the endless creativity, building every tiny little detail to exactly how you want it. You literally watch yourself bring something to life. I went to do film at university with stop frame animation constantly on the back of my mind, it just so happened I got randomly paired to live with an animator in student halls. I kind of knew I was going to shoot a stop motion film as soon as I touched down in Manchester, it was just a matter of finding the right people to help me.
Please tell us about the process behind making it – starting with the visual narrative – was every detail sketched out initially?
R: I “wrote” the story but there was no script or story boarding. We were all just constantly talking about what would come next or another brilliant idea one of us might have had. We basically made up each shot as we went along. However, we did have a pile, and I mean a big pile, of drawings in the corner of the room that we would often sift through and say “yeah let’s give that one a go”. Sometimes I would stick one on the wall which would make us feel very organised and professional.
Where did you build the set?
It was the end of first year so most people had gone home for summer, however we were allowed to stay in our halls for a few months before we got kicked out. Sam and I were the only two who hadn’t left and I remember us saying to each other one day, “fuck it everyone’s gone now let’s turn the whole flat into a no sleep 24hr stop motion studio.” We removed the mattress from Sam’s bed and his bed frame became the set while he slept in the corner. It took me a week to build the set while Zane put in all the little detailed props like the little beer cans and bin bags etc.
Had the three animators – Red Filgate, Sam Carson and Zane Crowther – worked together previously?
R: Sam and I lived together and always talked about animation but never actually worked together. Zane and I were paired up for one of the first uni projects where we realised we had a similar style and were interested in the same things. We knew we were going to work on a project together it just took meeting Sam to get this project going. Max and I have been working together for years and were in the first months of Patchbay planning the video and trying to give it the voice and platform to exist and be experienced by people.
Describe the process of making the characters please. Any major problems creating them?
R: I will never work with clay ever again. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic but we had built 30 little raver figures complete with hoodies, bucket hats and fanny packs before we actually tried to animate one of them. After you move a clay arm up and down 30 times over the space of 4 hours it’s going to fall off. A lot of the figures had to be completely rebuilt with wire skeletons. Another thing with Claymation is, we wrapped up this film in June / July and I still find clay smeared into my things now, and it’s January!
The lighting is great too. What did you shoot it on?
R: It makes me laugh when I think back to how we lit every shot. As students we don’t have too much access to good lighting so we had to go round to each one of our mates and ask them for their desk lamp, by the end we collected a good nine or 10 which we had dotted around the room. However, we were lucky enough to get our hands on a pretty special macro lens which had a light on the end of it, this helped a lot when trying to light some difficult shots. I do not recommend desk lamps at all, even if you’ve got loads because you’ve robbed all your mates.
What were the main challenges of the whole production? And how did you resolve them?
R: We shot Unit 22 over 10–13 weeks so as you can imagine, three guys cooped up in a pitch black room all day with a frustrating amount of clay, eventually tempers get shorter and shorter. We knew we had to finish the film by July because that was when we were going to get kicked out of halls so we didn’t let a day go by without shooting less than three seconds. We were working until 5am some nights if we were on a roll, it was gross actually, but then again I loved every minute of it.
You’ve set up Patchbay quite recently so we’re assuming there wasn’t a mammoth budget on this?
R: Unit 22 was paid for by food money my mum sent me, living off ramen and spending the money on clay. In the end I think the animation came to about £100 if you don’t count the £100 pound fine Sam received after moving out, apparently his whole room and mattress was smeared in clay.
M: Yeah we didn’t really have a budget or even propose one for the project, it was just more of a shared drive for something interesting and representational of what we all experience and love. I think we spent at least twice as much on the screening and release party we threw, and that was LOW budget. Everything we release and work on psychically or digitally has had basically no budget. Just makes us think about what Patchbay could do with an actual budget.
What’s the next project?
M: Well since the release of Unit 22, we’ve had some amazing feedback, had it selected for competitions and screenings plus some more lined up for 2020. We’re currently working on the next film/release on Patchbay, working with completely different artists and musicians, but still overseeing art direction and production. No clay this time. We want to tackle something completely different. Expect another stop-motion late 2020 for mine and Red’s debut collaborative record.
Anything else you’d like to share?
M and R: ANYONE WANT TO GIVE US A BUDGET FOR OUR NEXT FILM / RELEASE PLEASE?!
Big up Patchbay and the whole family involved in helping do what we do <3
Human Exodus 2020.
Max & Red
Redrum, Unit 22
Written & produced by Red Filgate
Design by Max Marshall
Mix & mastered by Red Filgate
Animation by Red Filagate, Samuel Carson & Zane Crowther