Twenty years ago I sat in the old gym of Dacula High School watching the North Gwinnett varsity team play Dacula. I was listening to the six month old OutKast album ATLiens I’d borrowed from a friend, pressing play on a world which would redirect my experience of life for the next two decades to come.
From start to finish I listened to the entire album and was enchanted by the creative spirit and artistry of this ATL hip hop duo. From their comic book style album cover/booklet to their otherworldly musical sound, I was taken away and introduced to a story that would slowly become the defining element in my life.
Over the course of the following months, a story began to develop in my mind inspired by the tracks on the ATLiens album. Like an extended music video, each track would inspire and contribute a different scene until they created a sort of music driven mythology akin to a Concept Album. As the years past, the story gained more definition and texture from the various interests I had in mythology, religion, psychology, science and creative arts.
The movie is a Living Arts concept in which the audience becomes a part of the work and joins in the experience of the art. Because it is a story born of music, it is not an art form meant to be observed/critiqued but the story calls you to engage it and become an active participant in the events like a crowd at a concert or enthusiastic fans at a game.
Music is an art form that naturally inspires an emotional/behavioral response in people that resonates on a personal level because music is what emotions sound like…an audible reflection of internal energies. Well mythologies serve the same purpose but in a narrative structure. I felt that you could create a Total Art Form that wove the engaging nature of music with the connective narrative tissue of mythos to present in a communal spectacle/setting like a movie theater. But I cannot emphasize enough the integral nature of music in this process as it is more than just a supplemental element added to provide atmosphere for the main narrative…music is an essential character to the story.
Eventually the one story/movie became seven albums (Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Soul Food, ATLiens, Still Standing, Aquemini, World Party & Even in Darkness) of which I’ve completed four of the seven scripts. Incorporating the visual storytelling style of Fantasia with the mythological/fighting elements of Mortal Kombat, the story includes inspiration from Dragonball Z and winks at the dancing choreography found in 1980’s music videos.
Next Step Spiritual Soul of Suw