Fixating on intimacy

Live music performance and music video production company Wood and Wires have been turning heads with their ear-to-the ground ability to provide creative content

Wood and Wires has grown exponentially into a production company since Adrian Vieni, ArtSci ‘11, dove in headfirst in 2009, filming Mother Mother, Moneen and The Wilderness of Manitoba in Toronto.
Wood and Wires has grown exponentially into a production company since Adrian Vieni, ArtSci ‘11, dove in headfirst in 2009, filming Mother Mother, Moneen and The Wilderness of Manitoba in Toronto.
Credit: 
Supplied Photo By Jess Baumung

Who are you?

I'm Adrian Vieni, I'm a soon-to-be Film & Media grad from Queen's, a musician and an aspiring director/cinematographer.

What do you do?

I film live music performances, music videos and promotional clips for musicians, labels and organizations. I also play guitar and watch a way too much TV and movies ... if that’s a thing.

Where can people find you?

People can find me at woodandwiresproductions.com and on twitter at @woodandwires

Where did Wood and Wires begin?

I really dove in head first when it came to making films. I have no regrets in doing so, other than maybe getting in a little over my head, having so many things to film with so little experience/knowledge of how to do so.

Wood & Wires really begun in Toronto in December 2009, when I went to film a couple bands with The Touch, a Toronto-based video duo. I had just bought my first camera and that morning went to film Mother Mother, Moneen and The Wilderness of Manitoba.

What came out of that day was a new split-screen series for What We See Is What You Get [the segment on on AUX.TV], featuring my cinematography, as well as that of James Featherstone. The first few films of that series are still some of my favourite videos to-date, particularly the Moneen session.

From there, I literally just started contacting bands and labels that I liked, and just hoped they would be into doing a shoot with me.

Since then, Wood & Wires has begun to develop into a full service production company, but keeping the Wood and Wires Video Series as the main focus.

If Wood and Wires had a mission statement, what would it be?

That’s a really hard one. I've never been a fan of cheesy slogans or mission statements, and few that I've ever read have actually seemed to stand on their own. I think Wood and Wires is still developing and finding out what it really is, so at this point a mission statement is tricky, because it could be irrelevant two weeks from now.

The goal though, is to deliver original, creative content with a high production value, yet that still feels real and intimate.

What are you inspired by?

What got me into this originally was music. When I hear a really great song it usually evokes images in my head, or emotions, and that’s the inspiration. From the film side, I'm inspired by beautiful images, especially those created by average people, with average gear--not oscar winning cinematographers shooting on $100,000 35mm Film cameras with hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in lighting.

The French filmmaker Vincent Moon was one of my first inspirations in the music cinema world at least. His series of Take-Away Shows for La Blogotheque was the first of these music video series out there, and he still does it better than anyone else.

Really, anyone going out there and making live music films, including The Wood & Wires Video Series, is directly referencing Vincent Moon's work. He's also created some beautiful feature length music films, such as his most recent one with Efterklang, called An Island.

What’s your idea of a perfect shoot?

That’s another hard one. Some of my favourite pieces that I've made have been from what would be considered far from perfect shoots. A great example is Provincial Parks, one of the bands I shot with James Featherstone. We got to their place for the shoot several hours late and were so rushed, yet their setup in the shed, their vibe, their sound- everything right down to the incense they were burning- made the film so amazing.

I would say, generally though, a perfect shoot would be one in which the artist or subject is just really genuinely excited to be a part of it. Along with that, add in a unique location (for music, somewhere with great acoustics like the Sydenham United Church), an adequate amount of time with the artist and you've got yourself a perfect music film.

How do you pick which bands you showcase?

I really look for bands that stand out for me and that I would want to watch a performance from. It’s hard being stubborn, because if I don't like the artist, then I'm not going to want to make the film and that’s quite limiting. I often scour local concert listings and find out who's coming into Toronto or Kingston … contact them and hope for the best. Lately though I've been contacted more and more by bands and publicists looking to be part of the series.

Do you have a favourite video you’ve shot?

Up until recently, my favourite video was with a really small Toronto band called Provincial Parks, which I already spoke about. Last week, however, we premiered a new film for the series I do on AUX.TV, with the band Frog Eyes, and that's now easily my favourite piece. Everything from the church we shot at, to the intensity of the performance, to the things the singer had to say in our interview, just made it so real, you know? We Are The City get an honourable mention for how original they were with their session.

I’m going to list some folks & without thinking too much, tell us a little anecdote from your shoot with them.

The Darcys: Good bros. We drank a lot of beer that day at the Steam Whistle brewery and I think it turned out to be such an amazing piece of work. Wes also has the best moustache in Canadian music.

Basia Bulat: So kind and grateful. She was one of the first recognizable artists to post a Wood & Wires video and reach out to me and I was so thankful she did.

Florence & The Machine: Intimidating. She's such a big name, yet was so down to earth and if I hadn't know who she was, I wouldn't have thought any different of her. Working with big artists can sometimes be really hard though. With this one, we filmed some of her concert, and ended up being booted out by security prematurely.

Dallas Green: Having been such a huge fan of Alexisonfire and City and Colour since I was like 13, I looked forward to this shoot more than any of the others. I had tried to get a shoot with City and Colour locked down for a little while, but had no luck.

My good friend Amanda Zelina, otherwise known as The Coppertone, surprised me with an email while I was away on tour and all it made me want to do was get back to Toronto. She contacted Dallas and I, inviting us out to her place out in the country to film this song that she was recording with him and the rest is history.

What’s the best thing anyone’s ever said about your work? The worst?

I can't really think of one specific thing anyone has said, but just generally its really cool having musicians or industry people approach me and tell me that they really like what I'm doing, especially when its someone that I look up to. I think the series has been received really well in Canada, and I haven't really heard any negative comments personally.

The coolest thing that has happened recently though is having a 3-time Oscar winning cinematographer--the guy who made Saving Private Ryan and Schindler's list, just to name a few--think my work was good enough to land me a gig shooting a music video he was DP on. The worst part was getting told that they went with someone else.

What’s the most rewarding part of Wood and Wires? The most challenging?

By far the most rewarding part of it is having people tell me that they really enjoy watching the videos. If I know that people are watching them, and it’s making their day just a bit better, then that right there is enough. For me also, I'm never really happy with what I do, so to have something that I'm truly proud of, that’s a really big deal to me.

The most challenging part is making sure the shoots actually happen. When you plan something months in advance, it often gets lost in the shuffle, so keeping on top of things is really important. Locations—that’s another challenge. Anyone want to be my location scout?

What kind of camera do you shoot with?

I shoot on a Canon 7D. It’s a DSLR, a stills camera that has really taken off for video in the last year. Its shallow depth of field and the ability to add a million different types of lenses onto it has made it really appealing for filmmakers. They've even started using them on TV shows and music videos lately.

What’s next?

That’s the big question isn't it? If I knew the answer, I would tell you.

Right now the plan is to move to Toronto and make some projects that have been in the work for months--a couple music videos, EPK's and a short film. From there, who knows?

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