Public Panic is taking on campus radio charts. From #44 the last week of September to #37 mid-October, we expect great things in the coming months. Not to mention rumblings of a European tour coming 2016. Stay tuned!
Click HERE for link to the show.
I remember watching Steph Copeland performing at Phog Lounge years ago under the moniker ‘Perilelle’, and thinking ‘she makes it looks so simple.’ Her hauntingly beautiful voice is unforgettable.
This Sunday on The Indie Show, I will chat with Steph Copeland about her new album ‘Public Panic’, the films she has scored and what’s next for her! Take a listen to one of my favourite tracks on the album called Editor:
Black Fawn Films have put out some quality horror films over the last few years, combining some original ideas and smart filmmaking to elevate the standards in a genre that sometimes finds itself falling back on too many clichés and downright bad stories.
On top of that, we have seen the treatment of women change from victims to strong characters who wish to fight back. Black Fawn Films have two new films debuting at the Fantasia International Film Festival, Antisocial 2 and Bite, both of which are female heavy and give the audience some more characters that are much more than simple eye candy.
To get a much better understanding of what it’s like to be a woman acting in the horror business, I was able to talk to some of the actresses involved in both Bite and Antisocial 2. One thing they do agree on is how much they’ve enjoyed their experiences with Black Fawn Films, even when they didn’t get the part they were auditioning for.
“I auditioned for The Drownsman and even though I didn’t get the part the great people behind Black Fawn had piqued my curiosity” Annette Wozniak said. “Funny enough, I got a call to audition for Bite and was very happy to get the part. The Black Fawn group is a huge inspiration to a lot of people and I was so grateful to work on Bite.”Josette Halpert agrees. “What attracted me to Black Fawn Films is their unique marriage between classic and modern horror. Both Bite and Antisocial subvert the original horror trope of a male protagonist. They prey on the fears of a modern audience and create films with a unique amalgamation between old and new.”
Composer Steph Copeland is also pleased at how Black Fawn Films have chosen to portray women in their films. “Black Fawn has really been good to us ladies. I love Sam and Casey of Antisocial 2 and Bite. However there is a long way to go in the genre as a whole. Time after time I still cringe and think to myself has the writer ever met a woman?”
Elma Begovic and Denise Yuen, both starring in the upcoming Black Fawn movie Bite, also believe the view of women in horror is changing. “In the past, we were often solely victimized or sexualized and even when we were stronger or tougher, we were often fairly one-dimensional. These days, protagonists in horror films are often women and, as opposed to just being victims or sex objects, they tend to be built with far more complexity and thus are easier to relate to.” Denise says. Elma takes it one step further. “I think that woman are driving leads more, and can carry a feature with true substance, rather than portraying the marginalized “female” roles we’ve seen repeatedly in film in general.”
I was also interested to find out whether these actresses thought the average horror fan would be excited about this portrayal of a stronger female. Josette Halpert certainly thinks so. “Absolutely. It’s refreshing to have stories featuring strong female characters who embrace their human vulnerability but don’t need saving from a male counterpart. They’re resourceful and fight back, creating a more interesting plot than if they’d been killed off in the first 45 minutes in a skimpy outfit.” Elma Begovic also agreed with this line of thinking. “I hope that audiences are excited to see strong female characters and performances! I think both of these movies work so well because of their female leads, and I think audiences will be both surprised and intrigued by how bad ass and tough these characters are. “
Finally, I figured who better to ask then a collection of women in the movie business about the state of the ‘old boys club’ mentality and whether or not things are finally evolving past that od and outdated way of thinking. “For sure there is still a boys club but I think its phasing out as a new generation of socially conscious film makers like those from Black Fawn break through. Women are definitely gaining ground” states Steph Copeland. “Although the film industry may be seen as a “boys club”, we are coming closer to an equal representation and balance between men and women in film. Both produce compelling pieces of work that aid in the progression of Canada’s film identity” Josette Halpert said.
I’ll leave the last comment on this subject to Elma Begovic, who sums things up pretty well. “I think that the film industry is a work in progress. The sad truth is that while we see more female leads in movies, pay rates still vary between men and women and male actors still have a heavy input in who gets cast as their female co star in films. Thankfully, well reputable actresses are speaking out about this, and informing audiences and fans about how things need to change. And time, hopefully they will. Boys club or not, I think some pretty strong women can hold their own in this industry, and I hope to be one of them.”
There is no doubt that while the attitudes and depiction of women in the horror genre has been terribly slow to change, it is indeed changing, thanks in no small part to companies like Black Fawn Films who have given women a voice and strength in their movies that is not simply a token gesture but something with substance, showing off the talents of these great actresses.
Let the old boys club beware, the women are coming and they are kicking ass and here to stay. From this writer’s perspective, it’s about damn time.
I want to thank actresses Josette Halpert, Elma Begovic, Denise Yuen, Annette Wozniak and composer Steph Copeland for their time and insights.
Keep up to date on Bite and Antisocial 2 here:
By: Luke Williams (@musicwithluke)
Anchor Shop: So first of all congratulations on the brand new album!
Steph Copeland: Thanks so much!
AS: You are a film composer and work primarily within the scifi and horror genres. I’ve always been interested in musical composition as it is associated with the visual medium. So, before this gets anymore long winded, why don’t you tell me how you compose your music for those films?
SC: My approach to a project is to take the locked picture when they give me the film. Sometimes the director will throw in a little temp music because they have had to show it to their producers and they just keep it in there. Sometimes I will get it just raw with no sound at all. What I will do is take three passes on the film from start to finish. First I will watch the whole thing and make some notes and then I’ll do the first pass, which is a “cue pass”. So if someone throws a punch I’ll mark a queue or if someone is lurking I’ll mark one there. Second pass is buttering up those queues and the third pass is what I’ll deliver to the director. After that the director will make notes and then they will make changes or we will sit down together and make changes.
AS: Sounds like a pretty involved process.
SC: [Laughs] It is and it isn’t. In the beginning it was all kinds of daunting but when I got my routine down, it was a lot more enjoyable.
AS: So Public Panic is the name of the new album. It has been described as being rooted in rooted in delicate vocals and electronic production. Let’s talk about where that came from. Did you bring anything from your musical composition over into this album or did you step away from that and try something completely different?
SC: I did have some orchestral roots especially for “Hanna,” one of the tracks where I have a lot of horns, brass and strings coming in and it gets a little big so that sort of makes it so you can imagine Godzilla romping through a city. I do attach a lot of visual and cinematic imagery when I am composing and so when it came to Public Panic I really married pop music with some of those big orchestral ideas.
AS: So one thing that you touched on there that I really want to talk about is how you bring that visual aspect to the music. You recently released a song titled “Nadia,” which is the single for the album. It is a really beautiful piece of synth pop with a lot of darker melodies and really visual lyrics. Is that indicative of what else is to come on this album?
SC: Absolutely! The lyrics are a very important thing to me and the story telling is a really important thing to me as well. The music that I like to listen to always tells a story and that is what I want to do. There are stories in pretty much every song so I would say the album is pretty visual, at least for me it is.
AS: You are originally from a small town in Ontario but have since emerged as an electronic artist in the massive music communities of L.A., Detroit, and Toronto. As a musician from small town Ontario myself, I can attest to the fact that when you arrived in a big city like Toronto, your inspiration and ability to create music becomes so much easier. Tell me what was the journey like for you?
SC: Absolutely! I grew up in Wallaceburg Ontario, population 13,500. From there I moved to Windsor and while I was in Windsor I became apart of the Detroit scene because of how close they are. I worked with a guy named Eric Leiss and we formed a group that toured out to L.A.. Once I moved into Windsor, trekked into Detroit and got to play a few shows I gradually graduated to the giant metropolis that is Toronto, and that was the next step I think. When I came here it was so big but I was actually quite focused on just staying in my studio and composing the music for film. As far as getting out their and onto the scene, I didn’t do that very much and I’ve still sort of yet to do that but I think that is going to be up and coming.
AS: So you’ve been playing it safe and hanging out in your own zone then?
AS: You were the recipient of a Popular Music Recording grant from the Ontario Arts Council a few years back. I believe that grant helped to make the album a reality. Just how important was the grant in terms of making the album?
SC: Yeah what a gift they gave me! It pretty much paid for half the cost of what the album ended up being. So it really was the thing that jumpstarted this whole process and I really couldn’t have done it without their help.