Friday, October 19, 2012

Interview With Diego Ramos

Today I give you a bit of an interview I had with Diego Ramos (who happens to be my son.) Diego is a creative film-maker who is willing to experiment, take chances with his art. He's done camera work, directed, produced - actually, you name it and he's probably done it if it's connected in any way with film or video production. He has a long list of credits with more than 17 years producing film and video programs for cable, corporate, educational, and network markets. Here's how he describes two of his current projects:

DR:  Currently producing The 4th Quarter,  an emotional documentary about the true lives of low income communities across America. [The film] highlights the many NFL players, coaches and sports journalists who are giving back to their communities. [I'm also] producing Music Scene: The Documentary Film. Part-1 Colorado.

I wanted to learn more about the music project, so I asked

MR:  Describe your music scene project - what are you trying to do? How close are you to completion?

DR:  Music Scene, The Movie – Colorado, is a visual narrative about the evolution of music through the life and times of musicians in Colorado. It captures the true nature of the Colorado Wild West through the lens of musical artists from the 1930’s to the present. These characters and the situations that influenced and continue to define their development, dispel stereotypes of what “real and pure” Colorado music is and means. The long tradition of progression that Colorado musicians live by showcases their continuously evolving and redefining creativity. They are contemporary chameleons, mirroring genres and styles as they morph into the uniqueness that is their truth and essence in music today. The audience will experience a personal journey as the film crew captures the heart and soul of each band, following them from the studio and creating songs to experiencing a glimpse of their personal lives in ten minute episodes of struggle, style and triumph.

The documentary follows a socio-historical perspective that unfolds in an animated timeline. The timeline is presented in the climax of the film with the eclectic melee of the current music business sliding in and out of historical facts, and then swinging into the outcomes and successes that each featured artist will share, looking at where they are today. Performances by the musical artists will fashion the conclusion of the documentary, which will be filmed in “Live in Concert” segments.

The animated socio-historical timeline will include over thirty Colorado musical artists from the early 1930’s through present day.

MR:  Sounds very ambitious. Many of La Bloga's readers have little background about the history of Colorado music. We could go back centuries and talk about indigenous music, and then the very traditional music of centers of Latino culture such as the San Luis Valley. But from what I've seen of your project so far, it does not deal with these music genres.  What is some of the history that you hope to cover?

DR:  In the early 1930’s Colorado celebrated the black jazz fusion musician George Morrison and his Rigadooners. They were the toast of Colorado at the notorious and still operating Rock Rest Lodge in Golden, seducing large mixed-race crowds with their unequivocal blend of honky tonk, swing and blues until the Klu Klux Klan intervened. We move ahead several years to the Astronauts, out of Boulder, who had a hit, Baja, and played instrumental surf music throughout the early1960’s. For a decade the Astronauts seeded the Colorado music scene planting roots for the upcoming changes in the 1970’s. The next group that had longevity and staying power in Colorado was Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids. They gained a notorious reputation for playing wild, out-of-control shows at clubs like Tulagi’s in Boulder. The band caught the original rock and roll nostalgia wave of the time because of their “live” show reputation. They were featured playing oldies in the 1972 film American Grafitti and on a 1974 episode of Happy Days and continued tearing up the Boulder stages for decades. The band now is based in the Colorado Springs area, and often performs rock and roll with symphonies around the country.

The film will also include producer Jim Guercio and his Caribou Ranch Studios in nearby Nederland, which has attracted artists like Elton John, Chicago and Dan Fogelberg, who still lives in southwest Colorado, as well as the Boulder band, Sugarloaf, which had a couple of top 40 hits in the 1970s, Green Eyed Lady and Don't Call Us, We'll Call You. Jock Bartley, who teamed up with songwriter Rick Roberts to form Firefall, a country-rock group from Boulder, and had a string of late 1980s and early 1990s hits, is also included. The first punk-rock band in Colorado in the 1970s, The Ravers, recorded a single, Cops Are Punks in 1977 at the dawn of the punk movement at Mountain Ears Studio in Boulder, and received national press from the then influential magazine Trouser Press. After moving to New York and changing their name to The Nails, The Ravers had a minor hit, 88 Lines about 44 Women in the 1980s. A young Ravers fan and roadie, Eric Boucher, who was a Boulder High School student, later changed his name to Jello Biafra and formed the very influential Dead Kennedys in San Francisco.

I hope that the film creates a clearinghouse of the musical artists that have not only captured and created the Colorado music scene but who have also gone on to impact the music scene nationally and internationally. Interviews with music scene artists will spice up the featured musical epilogues with personal commentary about their professional real life journeys.

MR:  Is Denver enough of a music scene for a movie? How would you describe the local musical atmosphere?

DR:  I describe the local Denver scene as close to the Seattle boom in the 90’s. It's growing every day with numerous artist coming out every month. The Frey and The Flobots set off a storm of bands 2008 to now.

MR:  What's been involved in getting this together in terms of other people helping out, technical help, etc? How many on your team? And who are they?

DR:  I have a subcontract crew that I work with on various projects.They have been most helpful in the process. We filmed a 13 hour day at the Comcast Media Center, the largest studio in Colorado.

MR:  Why is this project important to you? What are you trying to accomplish?

DR:  Musicians and the local music scene have always been in my mind. When I was a teacher at Adams City High School I researched the music scene and found the talent to be unrecognized and each band had a story to tell. Producing and working on realty TV gave me the experience to put something like this together.

MR:  Who are some of the musicians in your documentary?

DR:  The Epilogues, Erin Jo Harris, Melissa Ivey, Eldren, Della, CacheFlowe, Wheelchair Sports Camp, The Foodchain, DjCavem, In The Whale, and many more...

MR:  When this is finished, what are your plans for it? Any hope of widespread distribution?

DR:  Enter into film festivals and seek out distribution. Start working on and researching Part 2.

MR:  What's your process for getting others to help out, like the bands for example?

DR:  Events and showcases, concerts. Teaser clips on the Facebook page and website.

MR:  What kind of fundraising are you doing?

DR:  Kickstarter and DYI. You can donate to the film now at  Kickstart campaign starts January 1st, 2013.

MR: Are you working on other projects? If so, what are they?

DR: Just finished The Real Women Of Philadelphia, and the comedian Josh Blue for Vice President Campaign, which can be viewed on YouTube:

Final note from Diego: Music Buzz Magazine plans on putting out a cover and article on the film in December.


Here's the trailer:


Thank you, Diego. Anyone interested can find out more about Diego's project, and look at some of the film footage, on the website: 


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