Skyscraper Stan reveals the new video for his song ‘A Tune I Might Remember’.
Ex-pat troubadour Stan Woodhouse - better known as Skyscraper Stan - is premiering the video for his single 'A Tune I Might Remember', which is featured in the soon-to-be-released film 25 April. To find out more, we shot him a few quick questions to ask about the song, what it's like for a New Zealand musician living in Australia, and when we can expect to see him back on this side of the ditch.
25 April is an animated feature film about New Zealand’s involvement in the Gallipoli campaign of WW1. How did the opportunity come about to be part of it? Did you write ‘A Tune I Might Remember’ specifically for the film?
Nepotism is a beautiful thing. My old man was editing the film. Leanne Pooley, the director, asked him if I’d be interested in writing a song for the credit sequence. I agreed and wrote ‘A Tune I Might Remember’ to fit what I thought a WW1 credit sequence should sound like.
Did your approach to writing the song differ from usual since you knew it would be featured in the film?
The brief was to “explore a sense of home and try to keep it upbeat”, which is a bloody hard thing to do when you’re writing about the war to end all wars.
Yes, a lot. My brief was initially very vague and I spat out several ideas that I thought might work. ‘A Tune I Might Remember’ got stuck in my head most frequently so I ran with it. I approached the song much more like it was a soundtrack piece, layering on the choral elements and trying to give it a haunted feeling.
When I sent it to them it wasn’t actually what they wanted and I was asked to go away and write another one, which I did. This time the brief was to “explore a sense of home and try to keep it upbeat”, which is a bloody hard thing to do when you’re writing about the war to end all wars. I did it though, after much hair pulling and teeth grinding. In the end, they chose ‘A Tune’ anyway and the other song never saw the light of day.
What can you tell us about the music video for it?
The film clip uses footage from the film; it’s an amazing looking feature, entirely animated in a style not unlike rotoscoping (to my eye), intercut with black and white footage of myself walking and playing on a West Coast beach. The animated footage is in full colour so presenting the live footage in black and white has the effect of inverting history within the world of the song.
You’ve been based in Australia for about six years now. As a musician, what has it meant for you to escape Auckland? Do you feel like you fit in with the scene over there?
Like a lot of Kiwi musicians who move to Australia, I spend a lot of time in Melbourne. The music scene here is very strong and mostly very supportive. The “Americana” scene particularly is doing very well which is good for a troubadour like me.
There’s something about the expansiveness of Australia that I find incredibly inspiring. I thought New Zealand was isolated before I visited the Northern Territory. You can drive for thousands of kilometres without passing anything more than a couple of petrol stations.
I believe I’ll always consider myself a New Zealander but there is something about Australia that appeals to the bogan in me.
Australia has impacted my songwriting greatly. I believe I’ll always consider myself a New Zealander but there is something about Australia that appeals to the bogan in me.
‘A Tune I Might Remember’ follows on from your debut album Last Year’s Tune. What do you have up your sleeve for the coming year?
In the next couple of months I’ll be releasing a solo record. A live, acoustic performance I recorded over two nights at a little venue in Melbourne. Most of the songs are far more subdued than those on Last Year’s Tune but I think they’ll appeal to people who enjoy lyricism.
I’ve got plenty of touring lined up and hopefully that will include bringing the band over to New Zealand before the year’s end. I’ll be over there soon by myself to take part in a David Bowie tribute which I’m looking forward to.
As far as a new album goes, as soon as the money comes through I’ll be back in the studio. Last Year’s Tune came out in March 2015 so I figure I have until March 2017 to get another one done. In the meantime it’ll be writing and gigging as much as humanly possible. Got to stay busy.