Floria Sigismondi conquered the world of music videos before writing and directing her first feature film, “The Runaways.” She shares the “raw power” of her club-hopping youth, the song that introduced her to her husband, as well as a track that was a video director’s dream - a “clean palette” for her creativity. The Runaways, based on the '70s all girl rock 'n' roll band, is out now.For More Info: therunaways.com
Jason Bentley: This is Jason Bentley from KCRW and I'm here with director Floria Sigismondi, whose trademark camerawork in music videos for The White Stripes and Sigur Ros has been replicated by many others. She wrote and directed her first feature film, The Runaways. Today, we'll be playing excerpts of songs she's selected that have inspired her over the years as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project. Hello Floria!
Floria Sigismondi: Hello.
JB: What did you bring for us today?
FS: I was trying to think of what blew my mind at a time…sometime in the '80's. We were visiting my cousins in Detroit, Diana and Petita, they were older than my sister and I and they would take us to these wild clubs. They'd have all these wild friends and shaved heads and wild colored hair and rainbow makeup. They introduced us to secondhand clothing and dressing up and, you know, sneaking into these clubs that my sister and I definitely couldn't be in. But just hearing Iggy Pop and "I Wanna Be Your Dog" -- it does something to you physically, you know, like a little raw love affair.
Song: "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by The Stooges
JB: Do you always listen to music to fuel your creative process?
FS: I do and, in the process of doing music videos, I listen to something so much until I stop listening to the words and stop listening and then all of a sudden it's this visual explosion and I've got to document it. I didn't realize that, but writing the script (for The Runaways), which I'd never done before, I found that I had to listen to a lot of music to kind of get into the headspace of doing that, so I guess music definitely plays a big part in my creative process.
JB: Iggy Pop with ""I Wanna Be Your Dog." We're here with Floria Sigismondi, she is our Guest DJ at KCRW.com. Floria what do you have as your second pick?
FS: I've got a song from Sigor Ros and it's a very special song for me. They approached me to do a short film, not really a music video but a short film, which was a new kind of way of looking at what I do. This became the soundtrack to something, anything I could do, and the band didn't have to be in it or anything. But, the way that they sing, you don't know what they're saying, so it was amazing, it was this clean palette. I could do whatever I wanted. You know, when you listen to music, it really just pulls at your heartstrings. It just completely transcends all language and everything. And it was one of those songs and it just made me weep.
Song: "Untitled" by Sigur Ros
FS: For me, it was the first time I had approached music as a soundtrack to something and it was the first time also I'd chose to work with children. I'd never worked with children beforehand and I was always kind of afraid of kids. They're just so unpredictable *laughs* you never know what they're going to do. It was amazing because I was like, ‘My god, I can't direct them.’ You can kind of say ‘Herd yourself over here,’ and ‘walk over and, kind of, you know, stand over there,’ but really kids just do what they want to do. So it was amazing, it kind of allowed me to not gain so much control on the situation and just really appreciate what was happening in front of me. It makes you realize how free we can be if we allow ourselves to be
JB: Floria Sigismondi is our Guest DJ at KCRW.com. Her selection from Sigor Ros, it's "Untitled." Alright, next up, what do you have?
FS: I have a song by the band Living Things, "Bombs Below," that is kind of a real special song for me because that's how I met my husband. He's in the band Living Things – Lillian Berlin. I remember him writing a really great letter when I was approached with the song and I was like, ‘Who is this person? I can't wait to meet this person.’ And then I decided to do the video in Prague, so we'd go for walks and he'd pretend we were lost and I was *laughs* walking the streets of Prague, so it was quite romantic.
Song: "Bombs Below" by Living Things
JB: A letter, that is romantic. So you were drawn to him…
FS: I was drawn to him but, you know, it wasn't a romantic letter. It was just a letter kind of, ‘Here's our song, I hope you're interested in doing it.’
JB: Well, what was it about, the letter?
FS: Just about his point of view on life and what he wanted to do with it. He swore a lot in the letter, so maybe that had something to do with it.
FS: You know, it was so conversational and so matter of fact that I thought it was really honest. It wasn't really proper *laughs*
JB: It's Living Things and the song, "Bombs Below." Our guest DJ is Floria Sigismondi on KCRW.com. Next up Floria, you've chosen a song from The Beatles.
FS: This song was a special song to my daughter. There's something about Beatles and children, you know, they really kind of are drawn towards it. It's definitely become more of a staple in the house since Tosca has been born, for sure, and "Because" is one of her very first songs she learned to sing.
Song: "Because" by The Beatles
FS: Having a child…like I was as saying I was afraid of children, and then when I was pregnant I was like, ‘What's happening to me? Wow, this is so foreign but my body knows exactly what to do.’ It’s kind of amazing. But she's really talked me into living in the moment. I was always in the future, I was always running, always, ‘What can I do? How can I do it faster?’ I was always in a hurry and she's really kind of slowed me down and helped me really appreciate what's happening at the moment.
JB: It's The Beatles with "Because," as chosen by our guest DJ, Floria Sigismondi, on KCRW.com. Alright, your last choice goes directly to your recent film project and that's The Runaways’ "Cherry Bomb."
FS: Yeah, this is where I popped my cherry. *laughs* My first film.
Song: "Cherry Bomb" by The Runaways
FS: When I went to Art College, I worked at The Beer Bar Girl for a little bit at this club and they'd actually play Cherry Bomb really late at night. So it was something I heard all the time. This means a lot to me, you know, never having directed a film before.
JB: How radical was the jump for you or did it feel natural?
FS: Well, the writing was something very new to me, but once I got on set, it just felt so natural, just drawing on my own instincts like I would with any art piece, and just sort of feeling when the gut would say it works or it doesn't.
JB: Floria Sigismondi is our guest DJ. Terrific! An absolute pleasure to meet you and thank you for coming to KCRW
FS: Thank you, it was my pleasure
JB: For a complete track listing or to find these songs, go online to KCRW.com/GuestDJProject