Local filmmaker Jon Alexander pulled off the impressive feat of showcasing the beauty and variety of St. Louis terrain and the music scene at the same time with his short film, “Nature of Sound.”
Broken into three parts, the film features keyboardist/producer Mad Keys, singer/songwriter Tonina Saputo and DJ Hoodbunny. The artists are plucked from their natural habitat onstage, putting them at one with Mother Nature.
They performed live in the middle of trees, fields of grass, flowing springs and rocks.
“My goal was to try to capture all seasons within the series,” Alexander said. “We got a little bit of the winter and the fall with him [Mad Keys]. You see the leaves and the snow on the ground.”
Alexander screened “Nature of Sound” two weeks ago at 2720 N. 14th and held a post-show discussion that included the All Black Creatives collective. The film will be released digitally on July 28.
“It was about surrounding yourself with health and wellness – being outside and rejuvenating yourself and resetting,” Alexander said. “ It’s just keeping that whole movement of health and wellness. I want everybody to be cool and happy. That’s what my work is about.”
Much like the scenery he presents in the film, the trio of artists he selected represent the depth and variety of St. Louis music
“I chose Mad Keys because I always been a fan of his and I love the music he produces,” Alexander said. “He gives like a really relaxing feeling – like I’m in a jazz club or something real fancy. I really enjoy his sound.”
Keys has a sound that is a throwback to the best of the Neo Soul movement during the late1990s and into the new millennium. Smooth piano chords over pulsing beats inspired by hip-hop that compel a smooth head nod.
Saputo – a local bassist and vocalist that gained international acclaim when she was name-dropped by former president Barack Obama as part of his favorites playlist of 2018 – offers a unique sound that inspires nature to be at one with her as she sits and croons a smooth ballad while playing the guitar.
“Tonina, I just really love her voice – she has a dope voice,” Alexander said. “She is a really talented singer and I felt like she would really fit in nature. I don’t know if y’all could hear it, but when we were recording, the birds started chirping in the background while she was singing. I was like, ‘this is beautiful.’
DJ Hoodbunny brings the turnup to the woods when he gets on the tables to mix the best of the rising rap stars St. Louis has to offer for the film’s final element.
“I really love how he mixes songs up and his mashups,” Alexander said of Hoodbunny. “And I felt like I needed something a little ratchet to close it out. “I also thought it would be dope to have St. Louis artists in the mix.”
With his turntables perched on a rock across from a flowing stream, Hoodbunny chops and screws selections from Zaddo, Jiggy Keys, ICE, Freshanova, Leonard, Charlie Free & Sav Karti and Meela Li.
Hoodbunny said Alexander talked about the concept of making a film that blended St. Louis music and St. Louis nature while they were hiking for Hoodbunny’s birthday.
“We talked about this – and here we are a year later,” Hoodbunny said.
“It was a really collaborative project,” Alexander said. “I’m just all about bringing people together – everybody getting their shine and making it happen.”
For more information about Jon Alexander, visit: https://chillseason.me/home