[Majestic Journal] A Conversation With: Catching Flies
Making music that sounds human: Get to know the man behind Catching Flies.
"Sounding Human" grants us intimate access into the world of George King (a.k.a. Catching Flies) in the short documentary, which sees the 28-year-old step out of the shadows and into the camera’s eye for the first time.
"I was conscious of the fact that I had never really had anything out there online in terms of showing me as an artist and being in the studio,” says King. "I wanted to do something like that, and this film felt like the perfect opportunity.”
As someone who has never particularly enjoyed the media and interview aspects that normally come with being a music producer, King entrusted good friends Saul Abraham and Josh Feder to tell his story. "To be honest if I didn’t know these two, I wouldn't have done this video,” admits King.
Having previously directed the David Rodigan film 'Rodigan’s London' and BBC3’s 'Moses Strongman', Saul and Josh shared King’s vision to produce not your average artist video as it were, but something a bit more fun and engaging to watch. The final result certainly realizes that ambition.
Shot over two days in 60-millimeter film, this beautifully crafted documentary gives us a snapshot into a day in the life of King.
"Filming on 60mm felt very warm and analog, and I think that's quite important to my sound and for what I like to create in the studio,” explains King. "It was nice to merge those two worlds, and everything came together really nicely.”
"I've never put anything like this out there before, so I'm equally as excited as I am nervous to see how it's received. All credit goes to Josh and Saul though. I'm really, really happy with the end product, so I can't thank them enough really.”
"Sounding Human" takes us on a journey through significant points in King’s life shown through injected snippets of precious archive home video footage. From clips of his jazz piano playing "Grandad” to King playing in a band as a child, the audience not only hears about King’s musical influences and inspirations behind Catching Flies — they are also experiencing and immersing ourselves in them.
"Filming on 60mm felt very warm and analog, and I think that’s quite important to my sound and for what I like to create in the studio." - Catching Flies
"There's a load of stuff that actually didn’t make it in there that was just really nice to see, and I didn't know most of this stuff even existed,” says King with a laugh. "It was great to see these videos, especially the musical side of things, because there were loads of videos of me playing drums when I was like 9 or 10 years old — a lot of which I asked them to take out of the film! It was a really nice adventure down memory lane.”
The film also allows a glimpse into King’s creative process, his love for discovering and using samples — not to mention his extensive vinyl collection.
"I think if you do follow the same process every time, you can end up with similar results,” explains King. "I try and mix things up so I'm always testing myself and trying new things, whether that's sampling something that sounds like it should never be sampled, or sometimes me sitting at the piano and coming up with a little piano loop or a drum beat.”
"Trying something new is ultimately when the best stuff comes out. When you're basically doing something you don't know much about, there's a kind of naivety to it that creates unpredictable and exciting results."
"Trying something new is ultimately when the best stuff comes out." - Catching Flies
Sampling plays a major part in the soundscape of King’s music as Catching Flies, and he often finds himself getting lost down the rabbit hole for a couple of days, immersing himself in the world of YouTube.
"It's just super fun,” says King. “YouTube is so amazing in the sense that it’s like an endless diary and collection of everything you could possibly imagine. I can go on there and can find anything — for example, a kid in Japan playing a demo of an old 80's synth. I love the idea that I can take a note from a demo video of that synth, and then it ends up being manipulated onto one of my records. It seems like the possibilities are endless, and now within seconds you can be in any corner of music.”
We’re all guilty of getting lost in our digital world at times, spending hours staring at a computer screen or endlessly scrolling on our phones, and for King, this was an all too familiar reality. It took him several years to find that balancing act of productivity and spending time away from the screen.
"...sometimes having that perspective away from things is really important." - Catching Flies
"When I started making music full time, I think I just assumed that I had to sit there for like 18 hours a day, every day,” he says. "All that ended up happening was that I was just burning myself out, and so these days, I find it much more productive to escape from the studio and do something else — particularly things that I’ve never tried before. Then I go to the studio for five hours and you know, you kind of get a lot more done in that way. I think sometimes having that perspective away from things is really important.”
King’s journey over the past six years since the release of his debut EP "The Stars" has not been without its ups and downs, but it’s all been a learning curve and an exciting ride — and towards the film’s conclusion, King realizes the importance of making music that is an honest representation of himself.
"It took me quite a long time to realize this and honestly, I’m still not fully there. It’s an ongoing process,” concedes King.
"I started producing when I was 16, and I never imagined that anyone would ever hear it. It was just something where I'd come home from school and produce music because it was like a way of de-stressing and I really enjoyed it. There were points where I got caught up in making tracks that I thought the people wanted to hear, and not necessarily creating my own visions. So, I just kind of had to get some perspective and be like, you know, I do this because this is what I love doing."
"Ever since I've had that realization, I've been super productive and am really enjoying making music again because I'm just treating it like something I love."
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