An Unusual Project – Danzer’s First Music Video
How do you get five excellent, classically trained musicians to play their instruments to the rhythm of machines that produce high-quality hardwood? How do you make sure their fine instruments can be heard at all, when playing alongside rather loud machines? – And why would anybody worry about any of this?
Well – at Danzer, we just did. And I must say, the project was fun, unusual for a hardwood company – and we are very happy with the result: You can hear and watch it for yourself at www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMpk4LX2Y5Y. An impression of how the video has been made can be gained from our “Making Of” at www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEZgvU56fcY.
The idea for the video is a couple of years old. If you ever had the chance to visit a hardwood processing plant, you will have noticed an intriguing rhythmic quality inherent to the steady strokes of a veneer slicer or the happy whizzing of water sprinklers on the log yard. So, why not using the natural percussion of our manufacturing plants as a background for a musical performance, we thought.
Easier said than done: The project could only be started, after we had found conductor Aki Schmitt, who kindly offered to support us with this project. To get started, he spent a day at Danzer’s veneer mill in Mělník, Czech Republic, where he listened to the sounds of the factory. Based on these tunes, he proposed a few musical themes, which he thought might fit. In the end, we decided unanimously for the tango "La Cumparsita" by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez (remember the dancing scene in Billy Wilder’s “Some Like it Hot”?). Aki Schmitt arranged the piece for Danzer including some special percussion effects to mimic the factory sounds.
From there, the work shifted its character from concept development to organizing the musicians and a film crew. Due to the background noise level in the factory, the music had to be recorded at a sound studio first. Film artist Richard Marx from Berlin, Germany shot and directed the video.
During the shooting, all Danzer people in Mělník perfectly played along while still focusing 100 % on their work. They had been well prepared by our plant director Stefan Schmahl; and of course they liked the diversion. Our safety officer Miroslav Schweizer diligently watched over everyone’s security during the three days of filming activities.
The professional musicians from the Prague area had fun, too. During the breaks they took selfies in front of Danzer machines. To them our veneer slicers and dryers were extraordinary – while we found having musicians in the plant uncommon: naturally different points of view. In any case, we were lucky that these skilled instrumentalists supported our project. The job required a lot of stamina as the five musicians had to play the three minute piece for more than six hours again and again and again, while Richard Marx and his assistant camera man Arne Jannsen shot the same scene from one angle after the other. Six hours standing, playing - and in case of our accordionist: wearing a 30 pound instrument the entire time – I was amazed how everybody was still looking happy.
My sincere thank you goes to everybody involved in the project. I do hope many people interested in wood, music or Danzer will have the chance to watch and listen!
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