New Spaghetti Western, Neo-Noir Film "Pickings" Reps a Killer Original Soundtrack!
There's a new spaghetti western noir film that just hit the theaters, and let me tell you, they had me at spaghetti. The story is focused around a group of mobsters trying to shake down a neighborhood bar. However, things don't go exactly as planned when they discover that the female bartender is a badass not to be trifled with.
We were blessed with the opportunity to talk to one of the stars of the film, as well as the composer of most of the songs for the films all-original soundtrack, Katie Vincent! Here's what we learned...
CIC: Can you talk about the soundtrack to this film and how it came to be?
Katie: Pickings is a spaghetti western, neo-noir spectacle of a film! So! Then it came to creating the soundtrack for it, I really wanted the whole thing to not only enhance and support the narrative, but I also wanted to pay homage to this wonderful self-contained genre. Style is a large part of the movie, and therefore the sound. I also wanted to make sure I was staying true to what I thought was "good" music. If I don't want to sing it, and sing along to it after the fact, then no one else is going to want to either.
CIC: There are a lot of cool sounds going on in "The Way it Goes"! What instruments did you use while recording it?
Katie: "The Way it Goes" was so fun to write because the mission/goal of the song was to create an anthem for the entire for the entire film. So I got to think BIG... but like in a country, down home sort of way. So we had a couple acoustic guitars, but we slammed on them. We also had an electric bass and a cajon, just to create some weight in the sound that could be incorporated into the crescendo of the piece. And of course, I'm a big fan of all things tambourine. I feel absolutely ridiculous playing it, but it's such a satisfying noise maker! I love playing with vocal harmonies too, so I played a lot with those in the studio! There's such a fine line between cheesy and completely fun... I like figuring out where that line is and exploiting it!
CIC: Can you describe you're writing process? How did you go about writing the lyrics to these songs?
Katie: I wish there was a way I could make out some formula, some rhyme or reason. There isn't really. I kind of just work with a lot of futzing around and some decent instincts. I'll find chord combos that I like and build a riff on that. Maybe I'll think of a phrase in a certain way that I dig, so I try it on as a lyric. I always have the goal in mind of what I want the song to feel like... not necessarily how that's going to happen. I'll listen to artists that i think have the right idea, maybe sing along to get my head in the right space. It's a lot of trial and error, but for some reason this art form is so... "when you know, you know". It either clicks or it doesn't, but when you land on something, it's instantly anchoring.
CIC: So do you come from a family of musicians or how did you get involved with it?
Katie: That would be a negative. One of my brothers has gotten into DJing in the past couple of years and my grandmother played organ in her living room, but that's about it. I do certainly come from a long line of music appreciators... that's probably how I ended up getting into music. I always loved it. My mom was show tunes and my dad was Pink Floyd... pepper in my own high school obsession with Eric Clapton and you've got me. I've written songs since I was a kid and did a lot of school musicals growing up. Finally managed to pick up a guitar about five years ago and have been self-sufficient in my music making ever since.
CIC: How do you think the Spaghetti Western movie feel translates into country music?
Katie: I had so much fun figuring out this very question. Again, I pretty much insist on trusting my instincts with stuff like this, but I also wanted to ensure that my head and heart could agree with each other here. Spaghetti Western is a genre that transcends art form. We all know it when we see it, and we all certainly know it when we hear it. It's epic but contained, sweeping but tense, timeless but so specific. There's a solemn triumph in the lone cowboy (or cowgirl) taking the law into his own hands, to get done what needs to be done... I guess it's pretty romantic. So the music needs to naturally cover all these feelings and traditions.
CIC: What makes a great soundtrack to you?
Katie: MOOD and MEANING. There's nothing better than hearing a song from a great soundtrack and it instantly transporting you to the exact scene in the movie that it was playing in. A good soundtrack impacts how you work and exist in the world around you. Makes you see things in a different way; a different way that is married to what the film aims to make you see and feel. It's a total partnership that when it works, is seamless.
CIC: What musician most inspired the musical style of this film?
Katie: Three, sorry not sorry. Johnny Cash, Chris Stapleton, and Melissa Etheridge. Old and new. Lotta grit and storytelling to go around.
CIC: You're vocals are INSANE. Did you have formal training or is that all on your own?
Katie: Ha! Why thank you! I did! I did classic voice training from like 12 up to like 22. So ten years! I'm very thankful for it because it taught me the different parts of my voice and how each one is ideally supposed to be used. Though, I did try to make my voice sound like someone else for a really long time. It wasn't until I picked up a guitar and got into breaking all the rules I spent so long learning that I finally found "my sound". But it's what they always say: you learn something to forget it. But you never really do, you just reach a point where you intrinsically know what works for you and what doesn't. My voice wouldn't be half of what it is without those years spent figuring it out.
CIC: You also star as a lead actress in the film. How did you first get involved with the movie, did the music lead to the role or reversed?
Katie: I was lucky enough to work on a short film called Prego with Usher Morgan, the writer/director/producer of Pickings. It ended up being a bit of a surprise success. We got a lot of festival wins and went viral. So we knew that we had a winning formula between the two of us. He started sending me early drafts of the Pickings script and asked if I could do a southern accent. And I was like "Duh"! So I came on as an actor. The music stuff came after the fact as we were finishing up refining the script. Then, the more I stuck my nose in the business of the movie, the "Producer" angle was inevitably finalized. It's been crazy and so freaking rewarding!
CIC: Any future performances, concerts, or events we should know about? How can people follow you?
Katie: I'm based in NYC, so we're aiming to set up some gigs in the area. I've got a music video for "The Way it Goes" coming out ASAP, so I'm excited for that next step. I'm as curious as you are! I'm just enjoying the music making. Now it's time to share it. The film too! We're setting up our VOD and streaming options, that'll all be configured by the summer. It's going to be a great year!
Now make sure y'all go and check out this badass movie, download the soundtrack, and get to following this superstar, Katie Vincent!