What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music

| March 10, 2014

In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Red Bull Music Academy recently released the full-length feature film What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music.

Directed by award-winning director Ralf Schmerberg and shot at the 2013 Red Bull Music Academy in New York, the film is available worldwide on digital release on redbullmusicacademy.com.

What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music explores the challenges that a life in music can bring. Through arresting and original images orchestrated in a rhythmic and musical way, the film seeks to go beyond music, and ask questions about life itself.

Artists featured in the film include Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Giorgio Moroder, Erykah Badu, Nile Rodgers, Rakim, Skream, Q-Tip, Bernie Worrell, Egyptian Lover, Ken Scott, Thundercat, Richie Hawtin, James Murphy, Debbie Harry and Stephen O’ Malley and many others. Every one of these artists has been heavily influential in shaping the face of music today and all of these artists have lectured or been studio tutors at the Red Bull Music Academy.

What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music evokes the heady atmosphere of the Red Bull Music Academy, a place where fresh musical ideas tend to spark between artists representing different genres and generations. In a different city each year, 60 up-and-coming musicians from around the world participate in workshops with musical luminaries in a custom-fitted complex of studios and workspaces. By night, they perform in the city’s cult venues and concert halls, alongside contemporary and classic innovators as well as heroes and heroines of the local scene. Long after the last notes are played, the experiences and insights gained there tend to resonate deeply in the lives and practices of those who take part.

This film was interesting in that you were exposed to an intimate look at the music industry with veterans who have been around for a while and some newcomers—but they all shared about their love of music, the struggle of getting their projects off the ground, as well as how they handled fame when it finally came. Q-Tip said that if you are vulnerable, then the music that you make will bring out the truth. He talked about the fact that it is OK to share your innermost feelings in order to create a good outcome.

The documentary discussed the disco era and how at one time in New York it was better to have a good looking DJ to bring customers into a particular club, even if the DJ lacked talent.

Record producer Giorgio Moroder also talked about being open, saying that one’s passion should come out in music and that a musician should follow his or her heart and share what’s inside. He is credited with being influential in synth disco and the electronic dance movement.

Others, among them Badu, held court with audience members who revealed their appreciation for the artist’s music.

What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music is a great primer into the music industry and gives the viewer a good look into what makes musicians tick and also gives the viewer insights into many musicians and their appreciation for their audience and for the concert experience.

Look for What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music at redbullmusicacademy.com.

About the Author:

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago. She is the author of "Old School Adventures from Englewood--South Side of Chicago" and the proud parent of "the smart rapper"--chemist-turned-rapper, turned humanitarian...Psalm One!
Filed in: Video and DVD

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