.....love of film music from the 60s and 70s like Spaghetti Western, James Bond, Detective, and Blaxploitation soundtracks. One day one of them said, “We ought to work on an album of music like that” and the idea for 35mm was born
The Birth of 35mm
Fumihito Sugawara and Claude 9 had been playing together for about 12 years in a hip hop/funk band called Afrofreque. They had gotten to be close friends and bonded over their shared love of film music from the 60s and 70s like Spaghetti Western, James Bond, Detective, and Blaxploitation soundtracks. One day one of them said, “We ought to work on an album of music like that” and the idea for 35mm was born. They each had a song they were already working on so they started working every week in Claude 9 Studios to write more material.
They assembled a sound palette of sounds and instruments that could give them their “retro-sonic” style including hollow body guitars with tremolo, a Farfisa organ with spring reverb, an electric melodica, and some rhythms from an Ace Tone Rhythm Ace, one of the first preset drum boxes ever made. Fumihito had previously released three solo albums on the Ropeadope record label and that label was receptive to the 35mm concept also.
Claude had already been working with bassist Alan Uribe in live modern cumbia band Charanga Cakewalk so Fumi and Claude called him to add some bass to some of the tracks for the album. Soon after that they tapped Fumi’s friend, jazz drummer Masumi Jones, to add live drums on a few tunes. Percussionist Rey Arteaga was also brought in on bongos and percussion for the song “Swingin’ Party”.
Fumihito, Claude, Alan, and Masumi had never played all together as a group yet but it obvious from the performances on the album 35mm that this group of musicians would be a winning combination. They booked their first performances in the last months of 2013 just prior to the album being released by Ropeadope records in January 2014.
In the preceding section you heard about how Fumi and Claude bonded over their shared love of 60s and 70s film music. Some of their specific influences are John Barry, Ennio Morricone, Lalo Schifrin, Henry Mancini, and Isaac Hayes. Claude is also a big fan of 60s pop vocalists like Tom Jones, Nancy Sinatra, and Dusty Springfield as wells instrumental artists like Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Young/Holy Unlimited and many others. Fumi is a big fan of many Italian film and television composers(Piero Umilliani comes to mind) and the sub-genre known as “Italian library music” i.e. music recorded for film and tv for no specific project but sold by companies that compiled “libraries” of music for different moods and genres.
All these artists and genres are influences on the music of 35mm, but the main idea that ties everything together is that the group always gravitates towards music that tells a story, whether the individual song is a vocal tune or an instrumental.