Q&A interview with Director Michael Grodner on “The Icarus Line Must Die” – a narrative feature set against the backdrop of the current LA underground music scene. (more info here)

Arthur Glover: So prior to making this film, did you have a background in the LA rock scene? 

Michael Grodner: I’ve been working in the LA music scene for a number of years. As a music video director and as the creator of Dirty Laundry TV, a music web series where we interview bands in a laundromat while they do their laundry. I’m also involved in putting on indie and punk shows at places like The Smell, The Echo and the Teragram Ballroom among others — so yeah, for the last ten or so years it’s a world I’ve become acquainted with.

Q: Did you ever seen Icarus Line live at any point before? What was it about the band that drew you into making a film about them? 

MG: I have. Joe’s one of the best front men I’ve ever seen. It’s like he was born to do it. That — and the music he was creating is what initially drew me to him and the Icarus Line as the subject for a film.

Q: Why do you think music biographies tend to be in black and white? Control, the film about Ian Curtis, came to mind when watching this. 

MG: We were inspired by the No Wave films of the Lower East Side from the late seventies/early eighties. Movies like Amos Poe’s The Foreigner & Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger The Paradise came out of this period — both of those were shot in black and white — so it was an aesthetic we were going for. There is a certain cool vibe you get from black and white — since most everything you see nowadays is in color. Black and white feels more underground.

Michael Grodner

Q: So they were an active band  from 1998 to 2015. From what you’ve gathered, what do you think was their peak years as a band? They did have a lot of revolving members. 

MG: I suppose when Penance Soiree came out in 2004 was what people consider as the Icarus Line’s peak period as a band. But I happen to think their last album, All Things Under Heaven, is fantastic, too. So, you know, take your pick.

Q: This was your feature direction debut. Do you think music will always be a point of topic in your future films? 

MG: I don’t know if music will always be a point of topic in my film (I have a science fiction film and a horror film in the works). But I think music will always play a crucial role in the films — despite the genre.

Q: What do you think of the LA rock scene nowadays? Is it still as good? 

MG: The Icarus Line came up during the same period of time when there was a rock renaissance going on country-wide with bands like The White Stripes, The Strokes, Liars, Yeah Yeah Yeah getting peoples’ attention. It was a vibrant time in LA, too, which I don’t quite see right now in the “rock” scene despite there being some good bands — but hopefully a resurgence is right around the corner.

Thank you for interviewing!

Michael Grodner

Michael Grodner

To view the trailer, go to: https://youtu.be/ESN5hbQGWWA
THE ICARUS LINE MUST DIE is now at the Laemmle Royal and will rollout theatrically over the summer. It will be available on digital on July 10 (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, Fandango Now, Xbox and local Cable Providers).


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