LA-based musician Air Pop has released his first feature film via Beta Pictures. “Daisy Park” tells the story of two cellmates, one girlfriend, an affair and the revenge that follows. The soundtrack is uniquely woven into the film according to the characters and their interests. Because Air Pop is entirely self-taught, there’s a definite sense of DIY that gives the film a distinct personality, style and cohesive vision encompassing both his skills as a musician and as a storyteller.
Can you firstly just tell me a little bit about the film?
AIR POP: The tagline for the film is "falling in love with your cellmate's girlfriend" which came from a super old semi-private Tumblr post I made a few years ago. I posted a picture of an isolated prison surrounded by forests… That caption stuck with me and helped me develop the story. The film ended up being about a girl with a boyfriend stuck in a minimum-security prison. He gets a new cellmate, and they become really close friends. The new cellmate, Ian, needs a place to stay, so Raul (Daisy's boyfriend) suggests he stay with Daisy… Which ends up being a bad idea. It’s a very simple tale and I like that about it.
Had you done any prior film work? Where does your interest in film stem from?
I made a few music videos but those were pretty much practice to be honest. I enjoy them but, to me, music videos are a whole other medium outside of a proper film with narrative. I'm not saying music videos aren't as important though- because they're definitely a powerful form of expression for our generation. I'd say it stems from watching a shitload of films throughout my life. I used to download Kubrick movies off Kazaa back in the day. I was always trying to find "adult" films and figure out why they were so impactful.
Who did the shooting? Did you feel your prior experimentations really did aide you in execution?
Yeah. I shot every frame of Daisy Park... Exactly. Those earlier works were super helpful as far as process and equipment goes, but I taught myself lighting on the spot, researched vintage lenses… all that shit. The internet is dope like that; You can learn anything for free.
How large was your crew?
Extremely small. It was pretty much me and whoever was acting that day. Everyone was really cool about carrying bags of gear and waking up early. I had someone help me with some aerial shots and some sound work, but it was really all on me.
Guerilla style, I think, is really the way to go.
Yeah, definitely some DIY shit. No one had acted before. The main girl, Sophia Park, was in New York and friends with Asher Penn- he produced the film. It was his idea that I talk to her and it ended up being perfect. She came out to Los Angeles for a few months and it was really cool getting to know her as a person and hang out a lot. My friend, Michael Hernandez, who plays Raul had some really great photos on Facebook that caught my eye. He looked kind of scary but also sweet at the same time, which was his character's personality conflict. Most of the other people are just friends or friends of friends that were down to help out. I don’t think anyone I asked said no… Still kinda shocked about that.
Do you think it was potentially easier to work with people that hadn’t acted before- as it made them a little more malleable?
Did the music come before or after the film? It's obviously written into the script so I assume that was a premeditated creative decision.
I had created a ton of finished music demos between late 2012 and early 2014 that I never used for anything. When I was creating the characters, I had different music tastes in mind for all of them; that's how I thought to just invent a bunch of fake band names and band ephemera. I started making some other tunes outside of my usual go-to methods and made the Toxic God Lungs stuff, lots of double kick drums and screamo-based vocals. This totally affected the dialogue and gave the film a whole other angle.
When did you shoot and how long did post take you?
We started shooting the day after my birthday (March 1st) - and filmed pretty sporadically until July. I kept it a pretty loose shooting schedule to allow everybody involved to have a normal life. Post didn't take very long. What's cool about narrative and having a solid script is that the editing kind of works for you.
Are you working on any other film projects?
Not really at the moment. I’d like to maybe do a few "jobs" or something to continue practicing on smaller things and try to build a team of people. I think about process a lot before I feel good about working on something larger. I do have a feature-length film in mind that I made extensive notes for years ago. I'd like that to be my next film.