Never Get Tired: The Bomb The Music Industry Story

By Samarth Kanal
 
‘Never Get Tired’ is the Kickstarter-backed documentary centred on DIY punk collective, Bomb The Music Industry. We caught up with songwriter and founder of BTMI, Jeff Rosenstock and filmmaker Sara Crow to see how the project is coming along.They also gave us¬†an insight into the emotions surrounding the release of ‘Never Get Tired’. On a related and important note, the production team need any footage that fans have filmed of BTMI on tour. So if you can help, get in contact with them at¬†No Future Films.
 
Check out the trailer and the interviews below.
 

First, we interviewed Sara Crow – the¬†director and producer in charge of Never Get Tired. On top of this, Sara has¬†directed music videos including Lemuria’s ‘Scienceless’,¬†and was associate producer for a¬†Pixies music video, ‘What Goes Boom’.
 

Sara, at Punktastic we’re¬†really excited about this documentary as huge fans of the band! I have to ask, what compelled you to start this project?

When I was in high school and early college I was going to see Andrew Jackson Jihad a lot because they were this incredible local band; I went to go see them on tour and they were playing with Bomb. I remember them playing this crazy cover of Neutral Milk Hotel and all these kids were freaking out and I thought it was the most incredible energy I had ever seen at a show.

Then I looked them up online and found Quote Unquote. I was really curious about how anyone could live and make art while giving away their work for free. I was interested in exploring that idea, and I had a few extra credits I needed for college, so I reached out to Jeff and Laura Stevenson and they were willing to let this weird twenty-year-old follow them around and ask them really dorky questions for a school project. By the time I finished my short film, I think Bomb trusted me a little bit more and people were encouraging me to ¬†make it a real movie. Jeff and I had geeked out over the music documentaries like ‘Fugazi: Instrument’ and ‘Dig!’. I was like, “If we commit to making this a feature, it might take a really long time. Are you sure you’re okay with that?” and he was like “Yeah! ‘Dig!’ took ten fucking years and that’s the best movie ever.” Hopefully he doesn’t regret that because it has taken a long time! Believe it or not it can be a little stressful to have a camera in your face for five years, but they’ve all been very patient with me so I’m really grateful for that.

I know it’s an indie film so release dates are hard to commit to, so around when do you want the documentary to be released?

I think we’ll be ready to apply to film festivals by the end of the year. Hopefully we get in somewhere and it will screen in the spring, but beyond that I have no idea. Sometime next year for sure.

What are the main difficulties that you’ve encountered so far with making the documentary and is there anything more that fans of can do?

I mean, financing sucks for sure. That’s to be expected though, funding documentaries is really hard and I would have been crazy to think it was going to be easy to pay for this project. The hardest part was just the trials and tribulations of making my first film. I started this when I was 21 years old and I was learning. I was also trying to do everything myself because I didn’t have the budget to bring on any more people. I was shooting, directing, recording sound, driving around Europe all night and then trying to shoot in the morning, so I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning. Making a documentary can be heartbreaking because real life is fleeting. If you don’t catch the moment, it’s gone forever. About halfway through the project I got a really talented cinematographer, Adam Uhl, and that was a huge gamechanger. He freed me up to actually direct and follow the story. So I guess the biggest difficulty was being young and stupid.

You’re in post-production now, so that must be a relief of sorts. What more is there to do in order to achieve what you wanted?

It is a relief! My editor Amy and I are about halfway done with our cut. After that I have to do sound mixing, colour correction, and graphics.

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So did you trail BTMI on tour? What was that like and what are they like? I’m sure you must have some cool stories!

I went on tour with BTMI in 2010 and was in the van with them, and then I went on a tour of the UK and Europe, and then again on their last US tour in 2012 where I trailed them. They are hilarious, raucous sweethearts. I love them dearly and can’t imagine the person I would be if I hadn’t met them. I’m not telling you any stories because you’ll have to see the movie!

So what does it mean to you that people have contributed so much to make this documentary? With the end in sight how are you feeling?

When the Kickstarter went live I was glued to my computer for six hours watching donations come in, covered in goosebumps. I guess I sometimes feel like my generation can be really apathetic and ironic and shitty, but everyone I’ve met through Jeff and BTMI has been really sincere, enthusiastic and hopeful about the future of music and art. It’s so fucking cool to me that those people were so overwhelmingly supportive on this project, because the film is based on that spirit.

Next, we chatted with Jeff Rosenstock, founder of the music collective that is Bomb The Music Industry, and the¬†donation-based record label, ‘Quote Unquote’¬†records. He also has a podcast¬†and various other projects.
 

Jeff, How does it feel to know that a documentary is going to be released about BTMI, and to know that so many people have pledged towards it?

It is crazy to have a documentary being made about a little thing that you did, but the entire response to Bomb the Music Industry! was consistently surprising to me. Seeing the trailer was a pretty emotional experience for me – I’ve been as super hands off of the movie as possible because I want it to be honest, not just us trying to make ourselves look good. So it was really overwhelming to see what this band had meant to people, and what we achieved without utilising the normal channels for ‘success’ that bands often feel they need to traverse.

To know so many people pledged towards it is also pretty nuts, but I think that’s a bigger deal for Sara. This is Sara’s movie and it just so happens to be about me and my buddies. I don’t like asking people for money, and we just tossed a few links up to the Kickstarter here and there. Knowing that so many people wanted to see this movie obviously makes us all feel pretty nice inside but we’ve made it pretty well known to people who like Bomb that they don’t need to spend money to show their love and support.

When you started BTMI did you ever envision a DIY punk band having such an active fanbase, and something like this movie happening?

No. I think for most people who create shit (music, art, whatever), it’s always a pipe dream in the back of their head that the shit they’re creating might have some sort of legacy. To have been a part of something that was worthy of documenting, that people in the movie or at shows say they view with the same lens as fucking Black Flag, Fugazi or Against Me! is the best thing I ever could have dreamed of.

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How much of a hand have you had in the making of the documentary and how has it been working with the production team?

I’ve done my best to not give any input on the direction of the documentary, aside from one short still shot of a smoke stack in Minneapolis that I AM DEMANDING MAKES IT INTO THE MOVIE SARA. That said, I consider Sara and Adam – the two people who have spent the most time filming this stuff – good friends at this point and have done my best to encourage them to get whatever they needed from us for the documentary, whether it’s interviews with us and our friends, old footage I have kicking around on my computer or coming and hanging out on tour. Amy, who is editing the film, is one of my closest friends. But again, as a fan of documentaries and stuff I know that aside from making myself available, the best thing I can do to make the movie good is not tell someone else how to make their movie.

So what was it like having Sara trail you on tour?

Touring with Sara was like touring with anybody – sometimes you’re best friends, sometimes you drive each other crazy. There were definitely times where it was fun to see how a relative outsider to the world of touring would react to the weird shit you come across travelling around the world in a van.

When ‘Never Get Tired’ is released, what are you going to do to celebrate?

If I had to guess what I’m going to do, it’d be go see the movie and probably go to the party afterwards and hopefully drink for free or at least sneak in tallboys. If friends come to town to see the movie, like they did for the last Bomb shows, I look forward to hanging out with them and having them cram onto my floor and ration the hot water appropriately.

 
Never Get Tired needs your help! If you have footage of BTMI on tour, please get in contact with the team; you can also donate to the documentary and find out more at No Future Films.

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SAMARTH KANAL