It came to Jared Groth and Andy Martin one hazy Pontiac night. Working at local venues provided the access to bands; interconnectedness and a passion for local music brought together some of the best in their fields to create the twenty-something-member filmmaking collective Single Barrel Detroit. Musicians perform in a variety of environments that suit the particular songs while a revolving door of directors, engineers, photographers and journalists document the experience. “It’s an interactive conversation that we’re having with the city,” says assistant producer Candace O’Leary.
“You see a lot of… attention paid to just the blight. We just want to tell an honest portrayal,” says Groth. Single Barrel gives a tour of Detroit guided by Child Bite on the grounds of Theatre Bizarre, The Juliets among the Hanging Gardens at Forest Arms, The Satin Peaches at Hamtramck Disneyland, Alan Scheurman outside his Fourth Street home, along with stops at the DIA, the Burton Theatre, John K. King Books and the Russell Industrial Center. “We’re introducing these places to people where it may be in their backyard, but we also keep a consciousness for people outside the Detroit area coming to the site and it being just as accessible to them.”
The bands are often required to come up with miniaturized, lo-tech versions of their songs. Accidental sounds from the surroundings are not only left in, but occasionally sought out. “There’s so much richness from what used to be the wealth of Detroit,” sound engineer Hugh Holesome says. “It’s taking the music that is current and… marrying it with where we’ve come from.”
“We’d like to keep it as spontaneous as possible, so that when the performance happens you get that sense of just being there,” says Martin. “A lot of the concept revolves around the idea that the music itself that’s produced can actually be inspired by the location.… Without capturing the environment that we’re in, then we’re not doing justice to the whole concept.”
“A lot of times I prefer that the band has never been there,” Groth admits. “That experience where the band is surprised and then they react to it… maybe even musically.”
pictured: Holesome, O’Leary, lead creative editor Zachary DuFresne, Martin, Groth, sound engineer Andrew Smetek and editor Patrick Duffy. Director of photography Mike Berlucchi and web designer Jeremy Franchi are either the “meat” or the “potatoes” of the crew—I didn’t catch which. Watch at singlebarreldetroit.com.