Interview : Mitch Fillion “Southern Souls”

16 Feb

After Mitch Fillion’s band Kilhuminzu played their final show last summer, Fillion didn’t go home and cry. Instead, the Hamilton-based 24-year-old dreamed up another project, combining his love of music and filmmaking to produce the Ontario equivalent to La Blogotheque, the French website that showcases videos of bands performing songs while roaming around Paris (often to the chagrin of the locals).

Originally Fillion was just going to make a movie about the music scene in Hamilton, but then he opted for Southern Souls, which launched in September with 15 videos. Today the site, which features performances by bands from southern Ontario as well as “other souls,” has 77 bands featured on it, each with 2-3 songs played in unusual spots in the province.

The band selection on Southern Souls is primarily invite-only, where Fillion not only curates who is presented (like Great Bloomers, Diamond Rings, and Will Currie and the Country French, to name a few), but also is responsible for the filming, editing, sound recording, mixing, and location choosing.

Although Fillion hasn’t played much music since the break-up of his band, he’s doing a spectacular job at making sure that fresh musical takes on some of our favourite Canadiana are available on the world wide web. Here, Fillion talks to Dirtbag about getting kicked off of location, Ryan Dahle, and being ad-free.

Dirtbag Journalism: How many hours does it take to shoot a band’s scene? How long does it take to edit it? What is the time lag between when the video is shot and when it is uploaded to the site?

Mitch Fillion: Most of the single video shoots take about 15-20 minutes, in some cases I spend a few hours with the band and we shoot a few songs in different spots around the city. I usually edit all the videos the night I get home and upload them the next morning for the band to preview. There is sometimes a good two weeks before I can put them up on the site since sometimes I film 1-2 bands a day and only put a new video up every other day. It allows me to take a break if I need to and still have videos to air on the site.

DJ: In another interview, you admit to having spent $15,000 in film equipment for this project. Do you use this equipment for other projects as well?

MF: I have been so busy with this project that I haven’t had much time to work on other projects though I have dabbled with some short films and documentaries

DJ: Which videos are you favourites and least favourites? Why?

MF: The videos where it’s apparent I spent a good portion of the afternoon or night with the band, it’s not as fun just meeting up to shoot for 15 minutes and leaving. I like to go out on somewhat of a hunt for cool locations and shoot multiple songs in different spots. Burn Planetarium is a good example of one of these.

DJ: Is there any Ontarian/Canadian band that you’ve been dying to video?

MF: Ryan Dahle from Limblifter (Vancouver, BC). He’s been my favourite songwriter since I was around 15 years old.

DJ: What is the greatest challenge while filming these sessions and why?

MF: Location permission, which we usually don’t bother getting but sometimes end up getting kicked out. It’s much nicer doing this project in the summer since we have so many more options with the outdoors, it’s been tough in the winter keeping the locations interesting.

DJ: How does being a musician influence how you portray musicians in these videos?

MF: I’m sure I share a similar passion for what they are doing and I’m not just in it for the sake of being a filmmaker, I want to capture them in an honest way that’s true to their style of music and their personality.

DJ: Why did you on decide on running an add-free site and instead fund it via donations?

MF: I am trying to bring the music community together and hope the artists and fans appreciate what I’m doing enough to contribute a small amount to help me keep it going. It’s hard for me to ask for money from a band that I’m asking to be a part of the project.

DJ: What is your greatest ambition with this website and how do you plan on achieving it?

MF: I am just having a lot of fun meeting new people I’m not really thinking about capitalizing on it or what opportunities it will lead to, I’m more hoping it leads to opportunities for the bands, which in some cases I’ve heard from some that it has.

Posted by : Melissa Kim


One Response to “Interview : Mitch Fillion “Southern Souls””

  1. jordaan February 17, 2010 at 6:51 PM #

    this is a great interview. mitch is a really great guy and definitely has been doing a wonderful thing to make the crazy music community of southern ontario feel more united.

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