Saturday, May 17, 2014

I’m On My Way: What M83 Means to Me

We got there early. Too early. The anticipation was frustrating. Julie had the idea of standing in the lobby before the movie started, in case he showed up early. We walked into the theater, gave our tickets to the door and posted up in the large hallway. I looked to my right and there he was, my artistic hero, standing in the middle of a lobby, eating popcorn, laughing with his friends.

A few weeks earlier, I heard that M83 frontman, Anthony Gonzalez, was going to be at the premiere of his brother’s first feature film, You and the Night, at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. The film was open to the public, and Anthony and his brother, Yann, would be doing a Q&A following the screening. I’ve seen M83 live several times, but to have an opportunity to hear Anthony discuss his music in person was something I’d always dreamed. Anthony scored You and the Night, the soundtrack of which was released months ago. I’ve listened to it daily, usually when I’m writing. The words flow as “Un nouveau soleil” crescendos, a smile forms as “Nous” takes off.

Now, I’m not a nervous guy, but standing in the hall right next to Anthony Gonzalez, forget about it. Heart, pounding. Words, gone. Julie encouraged me to say something to him before more people showed up. We approached him, Julie introduced me, and my excitement was instantly replaced with overwhelming emotion. I had so much to say, but barely enough composure to stand up straight. More than anything, what I felt in that moment was an immense amount of respect. I respect Anthony Gonzalez and his craft beyond all measure. The music of M83 has had such a positive, lasting impact on my life. I’m unable to form a collection of words that accurately convey how much his music means to me, but for whatever reason, this feels like a good time to try.
My fascination with M83 took hold one hazy summer night in 2010. I was at a friend’s party, my mind fogged from humidity and cheap beer. Suddenly, a noise. An odd, soothing collection of electronic sounds. There’s no way to articulate the full impact that moment had on me, but the instant M83’s “We Own the Sky” blasted over that party, my life was forever altered. Within days, I purchased all of their albums and played them on repeat. Those songs, particularly the ones on Saturdays = Youth became the soundtrack to my life.

A year after first hearing “We Own the Sky,” I decided to seriously complicate my life. I told my female best friend that there was something more and she said she felt the same. But she was with someone else; whatever she decided, it would get messy. A month later, she called and told me she’d made up her mind. We lived two hours apart and agreed to meet halfway. I got in the car, heart racing. Instinctually, I put on M83’s “Midnight Souls Still Remain,” a haunting epic that repeats the same few bars for 11 minutes. A maddening track to some, but in that moment, it relaxed me. It kept my foot on the pedal, pressing just hard enough. When the song finished, I played it again. Another 11 minutes. Repeat.

Halfway was a gas station parking lot in central Virginia. I got out of my car and she got out of hers. “You and me,” she said. “So here we go.”
Months later, I had an idea for what I hoped would be a compelling short film. But consistent with my process, I enjoyed the idea of it more than actually writing it. So I put it off. I put it off until Oct. 4, 2011, the day Urban Outfitters began streaming the new M83 album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, on their website for free. At work, alone in my office, I hit play. The first song, simply titled “Intro,” built up slowly, before ripping me to shreds. Tears fell as I marveled at the complicated sonic rhythm of the track. The drums, so loud. The words, so high. Never in my life have I had such a strong, immediate connection with a piece of music. I went home and wrote the script for the short film in one sitting, letting “Intro,” guide my words. The film, a dark and challenging character study about a young woman trapped in the chaos of her mind, was to be called Earrings.

That relationship didn’t work out. We gave it a year, but things faded. And so it is and so it goes. Our break-up was a mutual decision, one reached shortly after I returned from Los Angeles after filming Earrings. While editing the film, I realized how odd it was that my personal life so closely mirrored the character within Earrings. Unlike Chlo in my film, I wasn’t using drugs or abusing alcohol to cope, but I was indeed alone. Scared and sad and alone. It was a dark time, a bad stretch of my life. I had nightly battles with myself – convinced that the film was crap, convinced that I had failed. But two things motivated me to keep going and finish the film. One: “Outro,” the song that closes Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. I knew I wanted to use the song in the trailer for Earrings, so I played it ceaselessly, noting every change in rhythm, every variation in instrument. “I’m the king of my own land,” Gonzalez echoes. “I will fight until the end.” Over and over. It helped heal.

“Intro” was my other motivation. From writing to filming to editing Earrings – the song never went away. And in the midst of emotional turmoil, I needed it more than ever. I ended Earrings with “Intro” blaring in the background. In the film, it’s a moment of hope. A young woman realizing there’s more. “We can stand, we can say, we are reborn,” Zola Jesus cries out on the record. “Hand on my breast, I’ll keep you warm. Hail.” Without “Intro,” there would be no Earrings, and without Earrings, my filmmaking career wouldn’t be where it is now. In my world, that song and film will be forever married, which brings me a great deal of joy.
I met someone quicker than I wanted to. After Earrings, I needed a break. I put everything I had into that film, so when Earrings was out in the world, I stepped back. Did nothing. Tracks like “Safe,” “Farewell/Goodbye,” “Beauties Can Die,” “Waves, Waves, Waves” and especially “I Guess I’m Floating,” were the fuel to my emotional leisure.

And then I met her. We had known each other professionally but had never met socially. She had seen Earrings and said many kind things about it. I had read a final draft of her memoir and was equally impressed. Her name was Julie and she was like me. We were writers and fighters, lovers and dreamers. Julie and I met one hot and humid night in Washington, D.C. The attraction was instant. Coffee turned into drinks, drinks turned into dancing. The DJ played “Midnight City.” The city was our church. A few weeks passed, and when I told her I loved her she told me the same. In the acknowledgments of her book, she thanked me for my love and quoted “My Tears are Becoming a Sea,” the song that had become, and will forever be, our song.
The idea for my next project took hold. A feature. A film about testing love amongst tragedy, in which the characters were as devoted as they were disloyal, kind as they were cold. There was never a doubt about what the film would be called – Wait, a title lifted from the fifth track of Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. “Wait” was to Wait what “Intro” was to Earrings. I had the idea for the film long before I heard the song, but when “Wait” came into my life, I knew I had to make the film immediately. The script came out exactly how I wanted, but I knew I couldn’t make the film I envisioned from Virginia. So in early spring 2013, I told Julie it was time for me to move to Los Angeles, but I wouldn’t go unless she came with me. She said yes, and come August, away we would go.

In the months between finishing the script for Wait and leaving for LA, I decided to make room for what would be the most personal film project of my life. In 2002, one of my best friends, Corrin, was in a car accident on Christmas evening and died as a result of the accident on New Year’s Day. Ten years. An idea: interview the people who knew him best, creating a film of remembrance about a wonderful young soul. I hesitated with the project, thinking the idea wouldn’t be received well by Corrin’s family. But while thinking about the project one afternoon, I heard a song. A song I’d heard a thousand times. It came on randomly at a specific time of immense vulnerability, and everything clicked. I would make this film, and end it with this perfect M83 track. I told Corrin’s mother about the documentary, and with her enthusiastic support, the film took off. After a few weeks of preparation, every interview was set. It was to be my biggest project yet; something important, lasting.

And then everything fell apart.

People got nervous. Family members became anxious. Old friends stopped returning calls. I filmed one interview, with a dear friend from way back when. It was sad and intense and real, exactly what I hoped for. But that’s all there was. Most everyone else backed out. The film collapsed, and I was utterly devastated. I’ve never spoken about it publicly because it still shatters me to this day. A few weeks after deciding for certain to cease production (one of the hardest decisions of my life), I heard the song that was to end the film. I couldn’t take it. It haunted me. I’ll always love that song; it helped close doors I didn’t know were still open, but it’s the one M83 track I can’t bear to hear. I can’t even bring myself to share its title with you, that’s how personal it is to me.
And now we have Wait. A film that has consumed my every waking minute for well over a year. Shooting the film was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Problems, money, doubts, breakdowns. It’s difficult to admit this, but because of these complications, I fell out of the love with the movie while making it. Take away my passion to create and you take away all that is me. But now that I’m nearing the end of editing, I’ve developed an even stronger relationship with the material. The soundtrack to You and the Night has helped a lot with this. As has Julie’s unwavering support.

I’ll talk more about Wait in the ensuing months, because I’ve said enough for now. But the point is, the music of M83 hasn’t just motivated my artistic endeavors, it has motivated my life. I can’t expect you to understand, because I hardly understand myself. I trust the music of M83. I trust it to calm. Trust it to listen and understand. It plays through my tears and widens my smile.

So, how do you articulate this to the man who is responsible for it all? You don’t. You tell him Thank You. You shake his hand and steady your voice. You hold back tears, and you say Thank You. You remind yourself, in the moment, that this is going to be a moment that defines you. Maybe he’ll ask you your name. Maybe you’ll learn that he’s as cool and relaxed and genuinely kind as you’ve hoped. Maybe he’ll thank you for your gratitude. Maybe you’ll tell him about the film you’ve just made, and the influence his music had over it. Maybe he’ll smile and say he’d love to see it.

And maybe he will. One day.

Maybe he will. 

70 comments:

  1. I don't know much about English music, much less about M83 in specific. So I won't comment about them but I love how personal this article is! I LOVE how art, in any form of it, can play such a personal role in our lives! Love it! :)

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    1. Thanks Shantanu! My relationship with art, and M83 specifically, has been so personal and profound. It just crazy inspiring!

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  2. God, this is just so beautiful and just so intensely personal. I'm sure that if Anthony Gonzalez has the chance to see Wait, he'll love it. I don't think that I've told you this before, but you have a gift with words. It's truly poetic, and this piece especially has moved me very deeply, and it's definitely one of my favourite pieces you've written so far. My excitement and anticipation for Wait is endless, and I hope that you are happy and completely satisfied with it. You are a true artist, and I hope that everyone has the chance to hear your voice and see your vision, because they are truly marvelous and unlike anyone I have ever heard or seen. And Julie seems like a lovely person, I wish the both of you the best!

    I'm not that familiar with M83, apart from a few songs (Wait, Intro, My Tears are Becoming a Sea, Midnight City). How many of their songs have you used in Wait?

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    1. Wow, Aditya, thank you so much for this comment. Your kind words mean so much to me, so truly, thank you. I'm very excited for the world to see Wait as well. It's definitely getting closer to being completed! And you know, I actually don't use any of M83's music in Wait, just because of copyright issues. So the film has its own original score, which is really something else, the guys who did it are crazy talented. Before they made the score, I gave them a few albums to base their creative flow on. Two were M83 albums, and the other was the Upstream Color score, so I think the music is very reminiscent of that!

      Thanks again for the comment. You're the best.

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    2. Damn, that's awesome! I know that Wait has taken a big toll on you, but I was just wondering if you have any other projects that you've thought about?

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    3. Oh I always have other projects brewing, no doubt. Not really sure which one I'll peruse next though. Gotta get through the current one first!

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  3. What a beautifully written piece, Alex! It is a true reminder of how art - whatever medium - is so important in our lives in really personal ways.

    Loved this and the project about your friend sounded like a wonderful homage.

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    1. Thanks so much, really. I so appreciate you reading the piece and saying those nice things. And thanks for saying that about that would-be project. Maybe I'll pick it up someday again. Who knows, right?

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  4. Alex - you are an amazing writer and a courageous filmmaker with a unique vision. I love watching you take your dream and make it a reality - not because its been EASY, because it hasn't been... but because it's the only way for people like us. Your resilience is inspiring. I am forever in awe of you.

    Now, no pressure, but.... I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WAIT!! Who's with me?!

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    1. You know I'm with you on that....can't WAIT!

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    2. Thanks guys! Jules, your support has kept me going these past few months, and I'm so grateful that you've been on this journey with me.

      And the WAIT will soon be over :)

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  5. That is beautiful man. I was introduced to M83 at around 2006-2007 when I first saw the video for "Don't Save Us From the Flames" as I was just amazed by the visuals of the video yet the music was so different as I needed something that was different as I was waiting for the new Radiohead while still listening to NIN. Since then, I've been hooked. I really love their stuff.

    I find a lot of their music to be cinematic as it has all of the elements of what would be the perfect film soundtrack. I'm glad you found something in M83 in the same way I have love for NIN (though I will not be attending their upcoming tour w/ Soundgarden just because of lack of interest).

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    1. Thanks buddy, that means a lot. I know how much you love NIN, so it's cool that we can both appreciate the impact music has on our lives. Also, I obviously love that you're an M83 fan as well. Good stuff man.

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  6. Great post Alex! It's amazing how things can be so influential and how they help us become more creative! I promise I'll check out Earrings as soon as I can!

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    1. Thanks Rachel! No rush on watching Earrings... I'm just honored that you'll give it a watch, regardless of when! And thanks for all of your kind comments over these past few months. They mean a lot!

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    2. No problem! You're my favorite blogger and I wish the best for you!

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    3. Wow, you're too kind. I love what you're doing on your site as well. Your favorite endings list rocked!

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    4. Thank you! That means a lot coming from you :)

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  7. Jesus, Alex. I respect and commend and love you for laying it all out there like that. Beautiful to read. Cheers.

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    1. Thanks Nick. I'm a huge admirer of your writing, so it means a lot to me that you liked this post. Cheers, indeed!

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  8. Beautiful, Alex...though I would expect nothing less. Thank you for taking such a personal risk in writing this. I know there were so many emotions and experiences involved. It's one thing to talk about someone else's work but quite another to lay one's soul bare.

    It always makes me happy to hear you and Julie speak of each other...the love you share is so evident. Is it too "mom" of me to say that I am so very proud of you?--because I am.

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    1. Aww thanks Dawn! That isn't too "mom" of you at all! I'm so thankful that we were able to connect in life, even if it was due to unbearably sad circumstances. I cherish the letter and emails you sent me during filming. You have no idea how much those meant to me. You're the best!

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  9. What a gorgeous post, and I love the way you tied together so many aspects of your life so seamlessly and in such a warm, genuine way. You are a tremendously gifted writer and filmmaker and it's been a privilege to get to know you in the virtual world.

    Maybe someday you'll expand this post into a memoir. I can imagine the names of M83 songs as chapter titles.

    You and Julie are lucky to have found each other. It's difficult to find someone who "gets" you (and vice versa) and is willing to go to any lengths to share your dreams and aspirations.

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    1. Steph, thank you so much for this comment. Your kind words over these past few years have really built me up and encouraged me to keep it going. So thank you.

      Wow, as soon as I saw your comment about a memoir, my head started spinning with ideas. Who knows, maybe someday! And thanks for you nice words about Julie. I'm so lucky to have found her :)

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    2. Thanks for your kind words. Given your writing ability, your memoir would be a delight to read. :-) BTW, Julie's memoir is on my "to read" list. It's on a topic that isn't typically on my radar, which is a good thing -- I always like to expand my knowledge. And I occasionally read her comments on your blog, and I've thought to myself "Damn, that lady can write!" ;-)

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    3. I'll definitely pass that message onto Julie, she'll be so happy to hear that you're considering reading it :)

      It really is a great book, many people finish it in a couple hours. Just flows on by!

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  10. Alex this is such a beautiful, articulate post. It is just so well written - expressive, interesting and rich. This is exactly why I subscribe to your blog!

    This is something of a coincidence but I stumbled over "Wait" by M83 the other day because I've been listening to the soundtrack of The Fault in Our Stars. I loved it so much I've been listening to M83 non-stop ever since and I am rather envious that you had the opportunity to meet the lead. But of course, at this moment I cannot think of anyone more deserving you to have had that privilege.

    And one more thing. I absolutely cannot wait to see Wait. Good luck Alex and keep at it!

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    1. Thank you so much, Angela! I'm so excited to see how "Wait" is used in The Fault of Our Stars. That film looks really special. And I'm so pleased to hear that you like this post - thanks for your lovely comments, both hear and elsewhere on the site!

      Meeting someone you admire so much is a risky thing. Maybe they aren't who you "want" them to be (if that makes sense). Maybe it's a bit of a letdown - who knows. But honestly, Anthony was so humble and grateful and kind, it was a moment I'll never forget. I'm eager to get Wait out in the world!

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    2. You're every welcome Alex! Yes, the film really looks like something, made all the more intriguing with a most fantastic soundtrack. It's been a pleasure reading your posts Alex. Your such an informed writer - you're like a film teacher.

      Well said. Meeting a person who you've thought so much about, appreciated for so long and yet has no idea that you even exist is a nerve-wracking experience to say the least. I'm so glad to hear of your positive experience with Anthony though. Looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labour! :)

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    3. Ah, you're just so kind. Thank you. And genuinely, I'm not just "saying this"... you really are doing great stuff on Cinema 13. I truly dig it.

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    4. Thank you so much Alex. I'm honestly having the time of my life writing it. Blogging is just such a great platform for reinforcing something you love. I'm reminded of how much I love film everyday and I have such a good excuse to spend time on it!

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    5. And that is THE reason to blog, in my opinion. Do it to reinforce your love for cinema, period!

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  11. This is such an unbelievably beautiful post, it brought me to tears. Gosh darnit Alex, you need to stop making me cry!

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    1. Aww thanks Stevee! Sorry for making you cry though! But like I said on our podcast, your kind words for my writing and filmmaking have meant so much to me over these years. Thank you!!

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  12. Wow! Beautiful write-up, man... I think everyone can relate to having music attached to memories, stories, and inspiration. At least I know I can!

    I actually listened to Wait a couple of weeks ago, because it is on The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack (and I'm sort of morphing into a teenage girl, in preparation for the film) ha. Great track!

    Honestly, though, thank you for sharing your story. Of course, I only know you through comments and blogging, but you are quite the inspiration for grabbing life by the horns.

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    1. Damn Tanner, thanks so much for this comment. Love hearing that you enjoyed "Wait" as well. I'm really excited to see that film. And I so appreciate what you said about grabbing life by the horns, that's really kind of you. You're on a great journey too, my friend, really eager to hear what you end up doing!

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  13. Very cool my friend. I understand perfectly how hard it can be to articulate one's feelings about a band or an album that you happen to have a special relationship with and that moves you. It's hard to come across as genuine without bearing your entire soul, it's something I doubt I could ever do but respect you even more so for you having done it. Even if we have different musical tastes (I'm sure) the impact that music has had on both of our lives and on our work will forever be intertwined. All great artists get nervous about meeting someone who has touched them greatly, I'm glad you met yours and maybe next time you see him will be when he's scoring your next feature!

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    1. You're the man. I'm so lucky to have met you. Seriously, for all of your comments on this site, thank you. They mean the world to me. As to your last sentence... wow, that would be the day, huh? Dare to dream, buddy. Dare to dream.

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    2. Likewise my friend. Should we ever meet out in California remind me to buy you a drink or something! Can't wait to see Wait! Who did the sound/score on that as well if you don't mind me asking?

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    3. Hell yeah man. And forget that I'M buying, my friend.

      The fellas who did the score for Wait are Ezequiel and Martin Etcheverry, of 6K Productions. Believe me, I'm going to be blogging about their contribution to the film a lot as the release gets closer. They really did amazing work. SO excited for people to hear it.

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  14. Wow, this is so damn beautiful I already know I will love your film! Thanks for sharing such personal thoughts with us, it's very inspiring. I'm pretty sure I will listen to some more M83 now, I only know two songs from them.

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    1. Thank YOU for reading! And for giving Full Circle and Earrings a watch, that all means so much to me. I hope you like digging into the M83 universe. Their music is beautiful.

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  15. I already said it on Twitter, but this deserves to be said again: beautiful, BEAUTIFUL post, Alex! I, with everyone else in the community, cannot wait to see your film! Are the city views from there? They are gorgeous!

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    1. Thank you so much, Elina. Your tweets were the first ones to come in, and I was like, "Oh, wow, this is blowing my mind." So thank you for those, truly. Those city shots actually aren't from Wait, they're just a few pics a snapped from my roof a month or so ago. But I thought they looked pretty neat, so I thought it'd be fun to include them here!

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  16. What a beautiful and soulful piece! Thank you for sharing. Can't wait to see the film...there I'd no doubt in my mind they will win am Oscar one day. I hope you won't leave Corrin's film on the shelf forever...his story is one that deserves to be told. We were lucky to have known him. A few weeks ago my husband and I watched the Matrix all I could do was think of him...

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    1. Thanks so much Cassie. I so appreciate you stopping by and commenting. The Matrix... god, he LOVED that movie. He would come over to my house and we'd watch that lobby shootout a dozen times. It was insane. I would love to make and share that documentary, but it really did take a lot out of me. But never say never, you know? Hopefully one day it will happen. Thanks again for stopping by, always great to hear from you.

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  17. Wow, man! This is so wonderful, so personal, so damn beautiful. And I just can't wait for "Wait". Wish you all the best, buddy. You're one of a kind.

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    1. Stergios, you're just the best. Seriously. Your comments over these past few months have been so kind and genuine, I'm indebted to you.

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    2. Oh come on, man, you shouldn't because each of my comments has been a result of your astonishing talent in both writing and directing. I'm just in awe of your work and truly hope you'll just keep on impressing all of us even more in the future.

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    3. Thanks man. I shall certainly do my best!

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  18. I couldn't be more proud of you dude!! You've no idea.

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    1. Stosh! Dude, this comment blew me away. Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by and saying that. So good to hear from you and I hope you and your family are doing well! Would love to catch up sometime if we're ever in the same area!

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  19. Wow Alex, what a wonderfully personal memoir of your life. The only time I have ever gotten personal in my own writings was with reviewing Fruitvale Station because I had a personally edge with that movie that I needed to get out there. Though they have not affected me to the degree that M83 has in your life, RJD2 (they did the Mad Men intro "Beautiful Mine") puts out my favorite music currently. When I was in a funk writing one day I youtubed their stuff and was so floored by one of their songs that if I ever get CC to production it is going to be the main theme. It works in ways that are unexplainable, it's just a perfect encapsulation of what I'm trying to evoke. Wonderful things that music and movies can do and you write about it so fluidly, keep it up my friend. Feel free to email me anytime about what's happening with yourself, I'll try to do the same.

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    1. Thanks Jeff, I so appreciate those kind words. I remember your Fruitvale Station post, and it is perhaps because it's so personal, I still consider it one of your best pieces. It isn't easy getting personal (at least for me), but sometimes it feels appropriate, you know?

      I need to check out more of RJD2's stuff, but believe me man, I know that feeling oh so well. So odd how a piece of music can bring your life together in so many ways. Very unique and profound.

      Definitely stay in touch via email man!

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    2. Oh man thank you Alex for reading that post and continuing to check out my site. It took such a long time to write that particular review, I wrote so many versions and revisions for it. I'm so glad you think so highly of the one that made it out there. Please feel free to comment on anythingI post Alex.

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    3. Sure thing man. Love your site.

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  20. It's been said all throughout the comments, but this is such a beautiful post, man! Your connection to M83 just shows what music can do. It can save, heal and uplift us all. I hope that day with Anthony Gonzalez comes, and I'm anxiously looking forward to Wait. Keep plugging away man!

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    1. Thanks Josh! Your encouragement means a lot to me. You keep rockin' and rollin' too, brother man.

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  21. Wonderful post!

    It must have taken so much courage to write about how art influenced your life in such a profound way. It's not easy - not everyone gets it, how comforting music or films can be and how much emotion it can cause in one's life and how much influence it can have over person's experiences. I wish I had your courage - there are some actual times music and things I love in films/TV series area literally gave me strength to keep going and not do something inevitable. It's kind of a silent comfort - I don't share it publicly but the emotions art provoke in me often have defining effect over my life.

    I really can't wait to see your new film, I'm sure it will be incredible, no matter how frustrating the process of making it could be.I'm glad after you felt disenchanted you found the passion again - it can be a real miracle, but I think it's a good sign, I think it means deep down it will be everything you wanted it to be.

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    1. Wow, Margaret, thank you so much for this comment. You're right, not a lot of people "get" this kind of stuff, but I've realized that the people who do get it, and who are influenced by art in such a personal way, are the people I'm closest to in life. It definitely isn't my style to share a lot about myself (even in real life, as it were), but after meeting Anthony, I felt like this was something I was ready to write.

      This music really has given me the strength and courage and inspiration to keep going, during various times over the years. And I'm so glad that you appreciate that. Your support for Earrings still means so much to me, and I'm eager to share Wait with you as well! Thanks again.

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  22. Wow, this is beautiful, man. Isn't it amazing how music has the ability to just change your life? Some of the concerts I have been to have genuinely felt like religious experiences, and they have brought me some of the happiest memories of my life. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Alex, this was a terrific read. Can't wait to hear more about Wait!

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    1. Hey man, really appreciate this comment. I remember discussing those religious-like concert experiences with you before... and that is so damn incredible when that happens. I saw M83 five times in 2012 (I know... I know), but it was so damn thrilling everytime. Truly a dream.

      Thanks so much for such a kind comment.

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  23. This is a really deep, emotional, and beautiful post. One of my favorite lines ever is the "you know her life was saved by rock 'n' roll" from The Velvet Underground's Rock and Roll because it means a lot to me. I feel the same way you do about music and I also love M83, and some of the songs you've mentioned have also encouraged me to write. I have a special relation with the band in terms of personal relations too, because my former boyfriend is a DJ, and he used to play a lot M83, so their songs, and specially Midnight City, will always remind me of that time of my life.

    In terms of inspiration I think The National is the band that does to me what M83 does to you. Even my blog it’s named after their song "Daughters of the SoHo Riots". I just put them on the background and the inspiration flows. So I totally understand how you feel when you listen to M83.

    I really hope everything goes great with your film. Really happy you made it through and I'm eager to watch it, ‘cause I'm sure it's gonna be pretty good. Talking about your films, I included a shot from Earrings here, because I felt it just belong there with the other films: http://illusioncinematographique.tumblr.com/post/86519283653/lost-in-translation-sofia-coppola-2003-fish

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    1. Okay, so, you have officially blown my mind. I've mentioned before that it feels like we're the same person because our tastes are so similar, but now... this is too much. The only other band I've come remotely close to connecting with on such a personal level is The National. Really. I love them. I listened to "About Today" and M83's "Wait" over and over when I was writing the script for Wait. And throughout production and editing, I've been playing High Violet on a constant loop. (Seriously, I drive Julie CRAZY singing "Terrible Love" all the time.) I made a wedding video for my best friend a few years back, and sample some bars from "Sorrow" in it. So, yeah, I adore The National, and I love that you do too.

      Additionally, thank you, as always, for such a thoughtful comment here. I'm so pleased to have connected with you online, for a number of reasons. Your blog is so incredible, and so visually stimulating. And thanks for the post on tumblr (I really should join that site at some point), what damn fine company you put me in there. Andrea Arnold has been a huge influence on my filmmaking career. Her short film, Milk, was a chief inspiration for Earrings.

      Thanks Mara. Really, thanks. "It takes an ocean not to break."

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    2. We are the same person! haha Seriously, it looks like we have a connection in terms of things we're passionate about, which is great. It's great to know you also appreciate their music as much as I do. About Today is one of my favorite songs from them. I even love all the different versions. The one from the White Sessions, I think it's the one they used in the film Warrior too, has an amazing build up with the drums and the strings that makes it quite epic. I listened to it constantly last year during this month, because of personal reasons and I felt more attached to it than ever. And wow to that line "it takes an ocean not to break". Terrible Love is a great song too, High Violet is my favorite albums from them along with Alligator. But it actually feels like Sophie's choice with them. I love all the albums. Their lyrics fascinate me, there are a lot of personal dialogues from Berninger with his wife, and I love how he even addresses to her in one song saying "say something pretty, something I can steal" because he borrows things from her constantly. And their sound is getting better with every album, with High Violet they reached a level of maturity, musically speaking. Berninger has improved a lot his vocals, he always impresses me. I could write for hours about them, as you can see! I wrote a piece about all their discography for a website, but sadly it's only in Spanish, if it would have been in English I would have let you read it.

      With all that said, knowing that you've been listening to Wait and to About Today only makes me more excited about watching your film! And I have seen the three films from Arnold but not that short film, I definitely have to check that out.

      And really, you don't have to thank me, in any case I'd have to thank you for writing these beautiful posts, it's really great to read such inspiring things. Hopefully I'd meet Berninger one day and I could share my experience with you. The closest I've been to someone I admire was to Francis Ford Coppola. He came to my city, Alicante, to shoot some scenes of Tetro. He shot them in the studios where I was doing a little course on screenwriting, and they let us attend a conference with him. He talked about his experiences on cinema and he was really funny and down to earth. I loved listening to him talking about Brando, being Brando one of my favorite actors, he almost makes me cry with all the stories he told about him and his acting.

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    3. I really took notice of them because of Warrior. That film - particularly the ending, and the use of "About Today" - had a very important and personal impact on me. It really shook me up. Their lyrics really are special. So unique and personal and perfect.

      That's so cool that you got to see Coppola speak live. He seems like a genuinely down to earth guy. I've always admired him. I hope you get to meet Tom one day as well. Trust me, it can happen - anything is possible.

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  24. Such a beautiful and personal writing, Alex. I only have listened some and love some of M83 songs but I understand the magic. I hope that one day the frontman and the band would recognize your love to their music, and maybe collaborate? Good luck to your film! All the best!

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    1. Thanks Andina :)

      To collaborate with him... wow, that's the pinnacle of my dream right there. But hey, who knows? Maybe someday!

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  25. (it may be a double message, don't know...I was kinda lost in the login procedure :) )

    By the way, just found out your blog and spent hours in it.
    Excellent writing all over.

    I'm a huge m83 fan myself, but I've only seen them live once (at Pitchfork Paris, last year) and I can confirm it's a dream-like experience.

    I'll leave you the addresso to my YT channel, where I "put movies into music" and I've mad a video of my fave M83 song, Wait, with Tarkovskij's Solaris.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/ContinoBricchio

    Hope you appreciate it.

    Again, excellent blog...will come back here often.
    Ciao !

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    1. Hey Stefano, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting, I really appreciate it. I LOVE love love that video you made for Solaris. It fits oh so perfectly. Seriously, great work there. Obviously, "Wait" has been a huge influence on my life. I'll forever be drawn to its sonic rhythms. Poetry in motion.

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