FILMMAKING. MUSIC. ART. STARTUPS. WRITING. + MORE
At Fluence we’re bringing all kinds of creators together with people who can help them with feedback and exposure, and we can’t wait to share one of the latest people to join!
Bruno Natal is a documentary filmmaker, co-founder of We Demand, and music writer with contributions for Vice, Spin, Urbe, and XLR8R. He is a passionate advocate of crowdfunding and new technologies, and we’re excited to bring you an interview with his latest thoughts on journalism, tech, and filmmaking.
You co-founded the innovative platform We Demand – a place where fans can go to show their support for future live events from their favorite artists. What was the inspiration and story behind the idea?
The whole idea is to connect fans and artists and give complete control of this relationship to the artists. We want to help them communicate with all of their fans for free, whenever they want. We started this as fans, trying to get bands we liked to play in Rio, where we are originally from. Most of them were skipping Rio on their tours to Brazil simply because no promoter was willing to try it out. Rio can be a very tricky market, with the weather playing a huge role in determining if people will go out at night.
We knew that there were enough fans that, like ourselves, were tired of having to travel elsewhere to watch these shows. We then decided to get all of these people to crowdfund the shows and it worked! 80+ shows after that first one, we expanded to the US and became a platform to help artists connect to their fans by simply asking fans where they want to see artists play. They can then use this channel to sell tickets, make announcements or even crowdfund concerts in certain markets.
You directed and produced the wildly successful documentary film ‘Dub Echoes‘ – what inspired you to trace the origins and influence of Jamaican dub on modern-day electronic and hip-hop music?
The love for dub music, period. Chico Dub, the doc’s researcher, and I are big dub heads, and we always felt outraged for how little recognition it has gotten for the important role it has played in contemporary music history. With that in mind we just picked up a camera and went on a journey to interview everyone we thought was relevant to tell this story with no budget or proper production.
We talked to almost everyone we aimed for. Turns out that mentioning the word “dub” and “Brazil” in the same sentence is some sort of magic key to open those heavy doors. The film made it into a lot of respected festivals and eventually got a DVD release by Soul Jazz Records (a label we love), which cemented the whole journey quite well. My dream is to have a director’s cut on its ten year anniversary, with all the archived BBC footage we couldn’t afford back then – to make it perfect.
As a contributor to high-profile magazines such as Vice, Spin, Urb, and XLR8R, what counsel would you give to up-and-coming writers and content curators looking to pursue their passions further?
As a journalist, above all, I have always written about things I care about. This is one of the perks of being a freelancer; you get to pick your stories (to a minimum degree, at least). Researching and writing about what you like can make for better stories and it eases out the hard work in a way.
After deciding what story you want to tell, the next step is finding which publications to pursue. This is very important, both to not waste anyone’s time (yours and the editor’s) and also to be able to come through with something you like without having to “re-shape” the story too much in order to fit somebody else’s needs. With that sorted out, you would be surprised how far a simple email can go. Pitching the right story to the right editor in the right publication takes the luck factor out of the equation – but most of the times, you will always need a bit of luck.
What are some of your favorite websites or resources for finding fresh music, ideas, and film?
I like reading blogs, hundreds of them. By going directly to them instead of using RSS feeds, I then dig deeper when I see something I like. Also, I love to use Soundcloud and Spotify to be kept in the know in terms of new releases. Bandcamp is another great source, but nothing beats getting that odd tip from someone you know. That’s when you get to find sounds that no algorithm would be able to suggest to you.
Do you have any exciting news for upcoming projects?
I’m totally focused on We Demand now, and things are starting to happen. It’s very exciting times for us!