Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Evolution of Soundtracks in Snowboard Movies

And then there was sound.
When you are watching a video part what’s sticking the most? The rider for sure! But what makes a good video part and what makes a great video part? First, you must have the right editor to mix and balance the amount of tricks and the different terrain. When this is done, even if it’s one of the most important jobs, the music must be choose. Sometimes, it’s the rider that ask for a particular song from an artist he/she likes or a genre he/she listens. Other times, the editor will suggest a kind of music that fits with the particular rider personality and/or style. However, I will always remember the part of Peter Line in The Resistance with the Ween song or JP Walker’s closing segment with the marvellous Redman/Method Man tune. Music is a big part of our lives and it is omnipresent in everything we do. Sometimes it defines who you are and your values or a particular time in your life.
The snowboard movie soundtracks have become almost as important as the soundtracks of the next Brad Pitt flick. Just look at the soundtrack of The Art of Flight: you can actually buy it on iTunes.
In the beginning, end of the 1980’s to the early 1990’s budgets were small and buying rights for music was costly. Anyway, the snowboard industry was pretty underground and even as skateboarding was some kind of counter culture. What I mean here is that it has this do it yourself attitude to it all and the fact that the guys who were snowboarding weren’t the kind of disco studs. They were into punk, metal, emo (old school emo à la Jets To Brazil or Archers of Loaf). So it was logical and convenient to use those songs to adjoining their video parts. If you look at an Old School movie like Child Games 1993 (a classic by the way) you had this kind of unity of second/third-wave of Punk Rock music. The music was very homogeneitic by today’s standards but pretty efficient and, of course, of its time. In this era, bands like NOFX, Penny Wise, Bad Religion, Lag Wagon, No Use For A Name just to name a few were very popular.

Late 1990’s early 2000’s, the Hip Hop industry was becoming popular and the Rap music of the 1980’s and early 1990’s was popularized with artists like Wu-Tang Clan. Snowboarding, to follow the flow included more artists like Canadian group Swollen Members, Hieroglyphics, Method Man, etc. It was the time where 50-50 music was placed in movies; 50% approx of punk-rock related artists and 50% approx of hip-hop related artists. Almost everybody was happy with the mix. Even if it was more underground artists the sound was efficient and appreciated. Listen to the soundtrack of Technical Difficulties for example.
Later during the 2000’s budgets of movies sponsored by majors became massive as opposed to what has been set before. The variety and quality of music has been decided choose with a wider audience and depending on the kind of movie and the kind of effect editors wanted.
It is now hard to dress a full portrait of the entire music of snowboard movie soundtracks. First, the variety and huge number of releases each year makes it hard to fully encompass the amount. The diversity of tastes of the riders and the fans is now even harder to satisfy. Sometimes a part will be better with electronic music while another part will be optimised by a reggae song! Next time you are watching a snowboard movie take more attention to its editing to note if the music fits well and if the entire movie has some kind of weft to it follows.

What is your favourite soundtrack and why? Please answer in the comments section!

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