Filmmaker Francis Leclerc had fun choosing the songs to punctuate his new feature film. The piston. From Radiohead to Metallica to Iron Maiden and Neil Young, film music brings together some of rock’s biggest stars.
No fewer than 25 songs from here and elsewhere make up the soundtrack of this highly anticipated adaptation of Stéphane Larue’s novel. Among others, Radiohead, Neil Young and Ben Harper can be heard. Several metal groups (including Iron Maiden and Metallica) are also in the limelight, as the film’s lead character — a 19-year-old student who gets hired as a dishwasher at a restaurant in the early 2000s — often plays it for his listeners.
It’s quite rare that a Quebec production has gone for such an ambitious musical score. This has already happened, particularly with CRAZY, the late Jean-Marc Vallée, whose song rights consumed $600,000 of the entire production budget at the time.
In an interview, Francis Leclerc prefers not to disclose the amount of budget that was allocated for the Le Plongeur soundtrack. However, he says that he puts aside a certain amount of money in advance to acquire the rights to the songs.
“The film’s producer, Marie-Claude Poulin, was working on CRAZY at the time, so she knew what it cost, a soundtrack like that,” says the filmmaker, who asked music supervisor Joss Dumas to negotiate the copyright of the songs.
“I agreed to make concessions so I could put the money aside to get the music I wanted. »
Francis Leclerc was pleasantly surprised by the quick – and enthusiastic – replies from some of the big names in international music.
“The response rate was exceptional,” he says. When Neil Young says yes to you in two days in the same week that he decided to leave Spotify, you’re like: Wow! »
“It was also super quick with Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. He made sure it was a little independent film, he wanted to know my approach, why we wanted that song in the film back then. I wrote him that the character in the film was addicted to the game and her song [Like Spinning Plates] would play at a time when he was returning to play slots. Forty-eight hours later, I received a reply telling me he had spoken to the group and everyone agreed. It’s great when that happens. »
In an interview with Sophie Durocher on QUB radio in December, Xavier Dolan said he had to give up a dozen Quebec songs for his series The Night Laurier Gaudreault Woke Up because a record label didn’t respond to his calls.
Francis Leclerc says he had similar problems “because of the same record companies”.
“What helped me was knowing well some of the Quebec artists we hear in the film, like Dumas and Stefie Shock,” he points out. So we fought together to get the rights to their songs released. But having to negotiate so hard to get the rights to Quebec songs is ridiculous. »
The film The piston hits theaters on February 24th.
Some of the songs from the film:
fade to black from Metallica
Seventh son of a seventh son, by Iron Maiden
hit my bitch, by The Prodigy
faded, by BenHarper
like spinning disks by Radiohead
block rock beats, by The Chemical Brothers
change your thinking by NeilYoung
have the time from anthrax
rhyme thief, by SugarRay
junkie man, by Rancid
Hello Chantal, by Stefie Shock
Racoon, by Jean Leloup
miss ecstasy, by Duma
Puzzle, by anonymous