Techno Tuesday: John Acquaviva on producing new horror film ‘The Red Man’
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
John Acquaviva has always been lauded for his cunning entrepreneurial abilities. From co-founding seminal techno imprint Plus 8 Records alongside Richie Hawtin, to helping launch digital retailer Beatport, the Italian-Canadian DJ can always be found pushing exciting new ventures. His latest endeavor includes executive producing a new horror film titled The Red Man, which follows a globe-trotting DJ who slowly unravels his neighbor’s devious plan to kill the building’s tenants.
John initially got on board when his longtime friend Jimmie Gonzalez showed him the trailer for the film back in 2012. Excited by the premise of the film, Acquaviva enlisted another longtime cohort: Oliver Giacomotto. The French producer, who has been an active contributor to Acquaviva’s own Definitive Recordings, has provided the haunting score for the film.
Watch the trailer for The Red Man below, and read on for John’s full story about how his involvement in the film came about.
Much like most businesses I have done, beginning with Plus 8 Records, I often have little or no real experience, but as it often does, that inner voice in my head popped in and said, this is a wonderful fun and cool thing to do…. so how hard can it be?
So I thought I would make a movie….
Jimmie Gonzalez is a long time DJ friend of mine originally from Chicago, now living in Las Vegas. In mid 2012 he sends me a little trailer about a movie called THE REDMAN which he was hoping to make into reality . Jimmie then bootstrapped and did a more detailed pre-movie trailer, then threw a launch party in Las Vegas December of 2012 for the crew that put it together also inviting a few friends including myself.
The more I got into the script about a DJ who was at odds over his career, deeply reflecting upon the end of it all, I thought it was a fantastic study of what all of us experience to some degree at some point in life. To quote David Byrne from the Talking Heads and their song Once In A Lifetime: ‘and you may ask yourself, How did i get here?’ This is certainly a big component of the movie and it explores some dark paths and considerations that normally we just don’t want to go down…but we did.
So long decision story short, within a few months, I told Jimmie how much I loved his script and his vision. Basically telling him I would be happy to keep it all in the friends and family sort of way in that I would partner up with him to do this film than anything else.
Well, once again, I am proud to say i joined as well as connected with some cool people and that idea is now a reality. But back again to 2012…
Of course, great positive attitude will only get you so far, and doing a movie is a little bit more involved than releasing an ЕP. So I needed to call some friends and start to figure this out. On the creative side, during an autumn session with my dear friend and label partner Olivier Giacomotto in Bordeaux, where we always cooked up great food and tunes. Olivier recalls: ‘We were actually working on an ep which ended up being LET IT GO’. WE actually ended up asking Dan to do vocals for that EP as well, making a moody introspective video to go along with it. Jimmie based in Vegas built around his core of local talent who already participated with distinction on the pre trailer.
‘I remember you called Jimmie to send us the trailer, so that I could watch and see it … which I did, and when i sent the music to Jimmie he loved my music for the trailer and asked me to get on board to do the whole soundtrack’ recounts Olivier when i called him to enlist his version of history for this article.
As well, for all the geeks out there who want to know more of the technical features meeting the art along with the thinking behind it, in the words of Olivier Giacomotto himself:
“95% of the soundtrack is made with very specific frequencies, not music notes, the goal of those frequencies was to disturb the audience, causing discomfort and dizziness… Jimmie wanted something « druggy », « evil », so i used a lot of pitch oscillations and atonalities to match the mind of the main character and the overall feeling of the movie. electronic machines are involved too, main character in the film Evan Go is a dj, so there is a lot of patterns from drum machines, like 808, or 909… synths like tb303, but also arp2600, mini moog, etc…
One good story to tell: I remember a night of February 2015, at the end of the post production process, i ended at the emergency room of the hospital with an extreme tachycardia, I was exhausted after working during days and nights on the most evil parts of the score… i guess all those frequencies really had an impact on me.”
We immediately got to work across the board, calling no other favours beyond our core groups skill set as well as not talking about the project in public as we needed to complete the task before going any further.
Filming was done November of 2013 then post production during the greater part of 2014. We have since hit the road attending a few small independent festivals like Macabre Faire Film Festival, Nevada Film Festival, Torremolinos Spain, Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival, PDXtreme and Blow Up Chicago for 2015 culminating in team screening in Vegas, then closing at IMS Ibiza and Cannes, which for us is the biggest one we have screened at.
A lot of these festivals are literally like music festivals, and the smaller ones are sweet but each one can be an adventure. so after raving from festival to festival so to speak to some notable acclaim , we are ready to begin sharing the fruits of our labor with you in these final screenings as we try to develop the plan of bringing the movie to the world.
Asked if we plan on working on more films…Olivier replied “ I’d love to do more for sure” echoing my sentiments exactly.