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They used junk parts to invent the blueprint for electronic dance music way back during the psychedelic Sixties...
Before Drum Machines, and Disco...
Before Samplers and Hip Hop...
Before Synth Pop, Kraftwerk, or Casio ever made a tone...

There was Silver Apples.










Silver Apples: Play Twice Before Listening is a feature length documentary film telling the untold story of the enigmatic rock group who invented synth pop, the Silver Apples.

Silver Apples: Play Twice Before Listening includes interviews and rare live performance footage featuring both original members of Silver Apples, along with an endless list of appearances by their colleagues, collaborators, fans, artistic luminaries, rock stars, minimalist composers, performance artists, counterculture heroes, historians, record collectors, and plenty more surprises!


Format: Digital Video, 16mm, Super8.
Worldwide rights are available.
Contact:
Info@Sovalfilms.com
For book rights inquiries, sponsorship proposals contact
Pixel@PrimarySkool.com





THE STORY


They made music out of junk parts, and invented electronic dance music during the Psychedelic Sixties. Silver Apples: Play Twice Before Listening. is the feature length documentary about the unbelievable trials and tribulations of the first synth pop group, one of music histories most eccentric missing links. Silver Apples are one of the great untold stories of rock history, and Sixties folklore; unsung heroes with an important cultural legacy which was all but forgotten, nearly erased, all except as a worldwide underground pop culture phenomenon. Decades later they emerged to claim their legacy.


In 1967, two freaky outsider artists emerged from New York's celebrated Greenwich Village coffee house scene with the blueprint for electronic dance music. It was a time when the world was on the cusp of landing on the moon, and anything could happen, but even in a period filled with visionary technology, artistic innovations, and a free thinking counterculture, Silver Apples were an enigmatic anomaly. Just too unconventional, and too ahead of their time. Even more shocking, they did it all using primitive homemade gear. The group's mad scientist vocalist, Simeon Coxe III, built a giant one man band, junk art synthesizer from over a dozen raw oscillators, color coded telegraph keys, foot pedals, doorbells, dismantled organ kits, and other World War II surplus test tone parts "played" with hands, elbows, knees and feet, which he self named The Simeon. Danny Taylor used an excessive double sized drum kit, tuned chromatically, to play mind numbingly mathematical looping beats over the bands dark witchy drones and hippie mantra love songs. The visionary duo released two major label records with an unlikely partner in Kapp Records, home to such conservative acts as The Kingston Trio, Burt Bacharach, and Eartha Kitt, before promptly falling off the face of the earth. Today, they remain the long lost organic precursor to repetitious machine music, the first rock group to create futuristic pop songs using layered pure electronic sounds with looping syncopated drums, creating what would become a prototype sound.

Silver Apples: Play Twice Before Listening, is an inspiring story about being creative ahead of ones time, despite all adversity. Like many other pioneering figures of their period, Silver Apples should go down as American mavericks who faded into relative obscurity only to have their work rediscovered, and passed around amongst a cult following of record collectors and musicians, eventually becoming sampled, covered, and paid tribute by many of the worlds most influential artists today. The records managed their way into the teenage homes of Joey Ramone, REM, Devo, Jello Biafra and so many more with an influence that transcends genre. Little did the missing members of Silver Apples know it, but a revival movement built around analogue synths, rare beats, and garage rock from the Sixties, had recognized the mythology of the freaky Silver Apples as one of the richest tales pop culture has ever told. How they became so widely influential while remaining terminally obscure is a phenomenon all of it's on. Check the music history books, even today, and you'll rarely see them mentioned beyond a quick name drop. Much of the Silver Apples saga still remains a mystery even amongst their biggest fans. If they didn't really happen, we'd probably have to make them up.

Several decades later, the original Silver Apples discovered the world had finally caught up with them, thanks to a new generation born with a natural appreciation for weird sounding pop experiments, and they reemerged Rip Van Winkle style to claim their legacy. We’ll meet Simeon, the last of a dying breed, who recounts his madcap adventures with his gift in the Southern oratory tradition of storytelling, and then Danny Taylor, a cowboy raised in Manhattan's Upper East Side, will charm you with his own bittersweet story.

Silver Apples: Play Twice Before Listening is a real life Spinal Tap, a story of near miss stardom, and in the end the question is... why did they do it? Silver Apples: Play Twice Before Listening will help change how we think of electronics, and the origins of the blips, drones, and stuttering beats that dominate pop radio today. Ultimately we learn that you never can tell how your ideas will resonate in the world, or the true power of boundless creativity. This is Silver Apples: Play Twice Before Listening, a film about how we can all dare to be like Silver Apples.

(In memory of Danny Taylor. 1948-2005)



Biography of the Simeon Synthesizer
by Simeon of Silver Apples
(excerpts from Oz. underground press circa 1969)

Both Danny and I were bored with conventional musical instruments - no so much how they are played but the sounds that the guitar itself makes. I don't care how many fuzzes, wah-wahs, or vari-tones you run it through, it still sounds like a guitar. And that can still be very groovy. I'm just saying that we wanted to find something new, and we knew it had to be electronic just because that seemed to be the area most open to experimentation.

A friend gave us a World War II surplus audio signal generator and we went to work from there. Not having any electronics training, we had to go step by step, shock by shock, learning how to hook it up - vary it's sound - key it in, make it go. This old generator is the nucleus of what is now the Simeon synthesizer. At the time we had never heard of a synthesizer.

It had to be played like a fretless string instrument, violin or cello or like a slide trombone. After I got to be pretty good at it it occurred to me that if I had a few more generators, keyed through a series of of switches mounted on a plywood board, that I might be able to get some bass lines figured out with my feet. So we got the cheaper ones we could find and stacked them on a table and I started practicing. Boop-ah-doop-ah-boop-ah-doop-ah-doo. Next I noticed that while my feet were busy, and my left hand was busy playing the melody, my right hand was idle. So we got some more generators and wired them through telegraph keys, all in a row. My first keyboard. I found that by setting the new generators in certain ways I could play chords by poking different combinations of telegraph keys. The more generators I had the more chords I could play, so we hooked something else and got some more.

The Simeon now was a heap of wires, keys, wah-wahs, and generators. So we hocked something else, and got some plywood and glue and screws, and made a big flat box with everything mounted down on it - and in it. God was it heavy, but The Simeon was not a "thing".
The Simeon Synthesizer was now almost like a real musical instrument, all I had to do was play it. Being ambidextrous helped. Actually, The Simeon is a conglomeration of sound toys that anybody could sit down at and freak out on. We are the first to admit that the Simeon is a crude little monster. It was never meant to be a Moog like creature, in fact it was recently in the same recording studio with a Moog and it didn't blush a bit. Someone called it the result of hippie technology and it flexed its muscles. It is made to be a live-performance instrument, and leaves all the multi-overdubbing tricks to the sophisticated fancy black boxes with blinking lights and myriads of patch cords.

The Simeon loves to crouch out in the middle of a stage and have someone pull out all of its stops. It's an energy machine - getting it together - it once tried to mount the Moog, with love in its tubes.
"Silver Apples: Play Twice Before Listening" (2012) is the first feature length film from director, writer, and producer Barak Soval, and Soval Films. His short film "Valerie Says" screened at dozens of festivals including, Austin Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Albany International Shorts, The Warhol Museum, and SXSW.

Soval Films is in development, and early stages of production/research for a follow up electronic music related documentary, and development stages for a couple narrative feature projects.

As graduate of the San Francisco School of Performing Arts where he won a nationwide merit grant, and as a graduate in film production from the School of Visual arts, he produced a student Clio Award winning PSA. Work experience includes jack of all trades work in theatrical development, stage management, and freelance for broadcast television, and new media content.

While growing up, Barak spent a lot of time with his grandfather, who was both and electrician, and a trombonist.


Where can I see the film? Can I buy a copy?

Not yet. We've received a number of invites to regional festivals, and reputable screening series and we're looking to find a suitable home for a premiere.

What does "Play twice before listening" mean anyway?

The back of their classic first record with the beautiful silver mylar cover, says "INSTRUCTIONS: Play Twice Before Listening". The line, a kind of tribute to the kind of instructional warnings seen on the back of early hi-fi stereophonic type recordings, came from the bands manager, Barry Bryant.

What about some Silver Apples documentary called "Of the Moon"?

This is it! We changed the name at Simeon's urging. The title ended up being a bit more high concept than intended when some archival material became impossible to secure that would have helped offered more meaning to the name. There have also been an abundant amount of Moon related titled films. That did it.

What's in it?

Equal parts myth making, and myth busting. Expect interviews with members from the Silver Apples original childhood garage bands, art world friends, collaborators, and more.


Are Silver Apples still alive? I thought that guy died.

Simeon lives. He's alive. Silver Apples live, as a one piece, one man band. Simeon plays live. The second member of the duo, drummer, Danny Taylor died of health complications, technically a heart attack. Both members were in a near fatal car accident on the way home from a late night Halloween gig, which was the 3rd of what was supposed to have been many reunion shows. Simeon, originally reported dead, and then paralyzed, made a miracle recovery. While he still suffers from the effects of the accident, he is functional thanks to a miracle recovery.

Does Simeon know you're making this film?

You wouldn't believe how common this question comes up. Rest assured Simeon, Danny, and the extended Silver Apples family have been incredibly gracious in their support. While not a fluffy electronic press kit, or vanity project, Silver Apples have been very involved.

What time period did you film the band?

We started during the late-90's reunions. Our first official shoot was during the CMJ appearance when Simeon rushed over to say Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 would be joining him on stage, and that it was history which needed to be documented. Our entire crew that day was holding silent Super8 film cameras, for a planned shoot of a different sort, so we unfortunately missed the full spectrum of that one. One of the last shoots for the film was of Simeon joining Sonic with his band Spectrum in a big New York venue, for an encore of "A Pox on You", and we finally got it. Funny how life can loop back around.


More Q & A soon. Feel free to write with some of your own.





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