The Music -- and More -- That Moves Us
How do you know when you’re truly inspired? Do you get wired?
At BB4, that’s the sensation shooting through us when we hear the right song, see a fantastic film, or stroll by scintillating street art. Inspiring the production of new music is what we’re all about here, but we know that spirit moves the most when we recognize what moves us.
That’s why we’re dedicating this post to calling out some movies and music that keep our own minds in motion. Here’s just a few of the artful acts that have warmed us, informed us, and driven us to create this creative space.
Muscle Shoals -- 2013 documentary film about FAME Studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Rafael Planten, Founder of BB4 Studios: “I saw Muscle Shoals around the same time we were opening BB4 in 2015. The energy there really grabbed me. The owner of one of the studios said, ‘I feel like a could cut a record with anybody. You put me in a room with them, I’ll cut a record with them.’ That confidence really motivated me. I remember thinking, ‘Yes! That’s the attitude - the energy I give will push this studio forward.’
“Later on in the film, (FAME Studios founder) Rick Hall broke off from Muscle Shoals, and started FAME down the block. He believed in a group no one knew about at the time called Lynyrd Skynyrd and said, ‘Let’s cut a record with them.’ Soon after, the band had their tragic plane crash. That inspired me to just go with your gut. Even if nobody’s heard of an artist, just follow your gut if it moves you to support them, no matter what their sales are or what’s in the moment.”
It Might Get Loud -- 2008 documentary film that explores the careers of guitar greats Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White.
Rafael Planten: “My favorite part about this movie is when these three musical icons talk about their personal battles. It was amazing to hear about what helps them get ready to create, the preparation -- all the work that goes into their personal process and shaping their outlook.
“What stood out for me was a moment when The Edge talks about his sonic flow. I’m paraphrasing here, but what he said was, ‘Sometimes I feel good, and sometimes I feel like an idiot and say, “I don’t know if I just came up with something worthwhile.”’ When you hear those great musicians say that, it just recharges me. Because creativity is always a battle: Sometimes it’s going to flow, sometimes it won’t, sometimes it comes and goes within the same song. It was really helpful to know that that’s a universal thing, it’s not just me.”
Rapture -- Netflix’ 2018 documentary series that shares the life stories of hip hop artists and examines their international impact.
Kiara Mudd, Studio Manager/House Engineer for BB4: “There are a lot of similar moments to It Might Get Loud in Netflix’ Rapture series. It shows many different artists and how they deal with their mental anxieties when it comes to recording and performing. That shows you that even people on that level still have the same problems that we do when it comes to making songs, wondering, ‘Is it good enough?’
“It’s a reminder that everyone is human. Even if you’re dealing with anxiety and mental health issues, you can overcome them to get to your goal.”
“Love Song” by Sara Bareilles -- Ironically, this song is about Bareilles’ frustration in not being able to write a track that would please her record label. It wound up being an international smash hit, peaking at #1 on a number of Billboard charts in 2008 in becoming a mainstay of pop radio playlists ever since.
Kiara Mudd: “Songs like that only succeed when they genuinely have to get squeezed out of the artist, not just the song but its feeling. Hearing that vulnerability brings the artist closer to what you are. They’re this person that’s supposedly high up, in the elite, but it turns out they have a lot more in common with you then you thought.”
Rafael Planten: “I agree. Hearing a tune like ‘Love Song’ brings the human connection closer. A stranger speaks words, and you discover that you know them, and they know you. You get a powerful sense of experiencing something that you relate to, from the words or the emotion in their voice, which reveals them to be human too.
“I remember RZA of Wu Tang Clan said, ‘Stress on the brain causes stomach pain and ulcers.’ YES. we all know that, but to hear something simple and real as that from him it’s like, ‘Word.’ I can grab onto that.
“When we were designing BB4, we were going to make a window into the live room so that we could communicate with them visually from the control room, but we decided not to do it. I thought about how the artist needs to be vulnerable and go into their own place. They might not have gone there if people were watching.
“That relates to other measures we took here, like the cryogenically treated wires, to get that sound to be sparkling in pristine. It’s ultimately about making the message as clear as can be. We want the artists who work here to feel one with the space enough to let it out as best they can. So they can keep that moment happening while they’re recording, while they’re mixing, while they’re creating.”
Seeking inspiration all your own? Join us for a session at BB4.