KCRW Music at Sundance: Emily Wells, Will Bates, Dustin O’ Halloran

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Emily Wells outside the green room on the town ski lift! by Mark Leibowitz
Emily Wells outside the green room on the town ski lift! by Mark Leibowitz

The streets of Park City during Sundance are simply buzzing with energy (and packed with snow, of course). We were offered the incredible opportunity to bring some artists down to Main Street, where all the action happens, for a series of nighttime showcases at the Sundance KCRW Music Café Presented by Acura , which kicked off last night.

We decided the natural fit for our Friday showcase was to spotlight some up and coming composers who have provided music for films at this year’s festival and are doing really interesting work. We’re longtime fans of pianist Dustin O’Halloran, who has been based out of Berlin for the last few years. There was a group “shhhhhh” before he started playing. He filled the quiet with some stunningly gorgeous music.

Dustin O'Halloran by Mark Leibowitz
Dustin O’Halloran by Mark Leibowitz

Next up was Emily Wells, the formerly LA-based artist who now calls New York home. She has such a presence on stage, whether pounding drums, playing violin, singing or looping all of the above. She is a very special artist. She played a song from the movie “Stoker” that is part of the festival and actually credited KCRW with the opportunity, as the filmmakers first heard her work on our station!

I also got to chat with her before the set and find out about her new band Pillowfight, alongside Dan the Automator and Kid Koala. Ends up she was on a panel with Koala and they became friends. Dan had been working on a project he wanted a female singer for and Koala held his phone up at one of Emily’s shows and suggested her for the job. Simple as that!

KCRW Studio at Sundance Film Festival

Last but not least was Will Bates of the band Fall on Your Sword. He’s no stranger to Sundance and he brought a drummer for this special presentation of his score work. Backstage he told us about scoring the film “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks“, which is premiering at Sundance. He said it was a challenging gig as it’s almost two hours of score music and he felt a bit awkward actually watching the movie because there was so much of him in it (much like actors don’t like to watch their own performances, I suppose). He also mentioned that he just scored his first horror  movie and might be considering a move to LA. Will, we welcome you!

More to come…