ST. LOUIS – Area rising filmmaker Jon Alexander brought together three of the city’s most talked-about musicians to create “Nature of Sound,” a short film set in St. Louis’ natural surroundings.
Alexander highlights Mad Keys, Tonina Saputo, and DJ Hoodbunnny, all placed in various parks around the metro area to showcase each musician’s talent without the distraction of cars, other city noises or interruptions.
Alexander said the idea for this film came from his own personal struggles to figure out how to advance his career as a filmmaker. He’s had several successful projects, including the short film “Enough,” which has been featured in two festivals. Alexander said that he liked go to parks to think and relieve stress, and that while there he had gotten the idea for his next project.
“This project was in the space of health and wellness,” he said. “It has a lot to do with re-centering yourself.”
The film begins with keyboardist/producer Mad Keys alone in an icy clearing in a forest, with nothing but his keyboard and sound-producing machines. The camera zooms and panels over Keys, while his musical compilation fills the space, uninterrupted.
Alexander is a supporter of mental health, believing it is important for people to check out when necessary and reset. As the seasons change in the film, Alexander features flowers blooming, foliage returning to its lush appearance, and singer/bassist Tonina Saputo seated alone with her guitar.
“When Jon told me the theme for this project, I was really excited about it,” Saputo said. “It was all about synchronicity for me. I just released an album based on St. Louis and nature, so this was perfect.”
As the sun blazes over Saputo’s shoulder, her voice fills the film’s audio space, transitioning smoothly into the last performer, DJ Hoodbunnny.
Hoodbunnny is an area DJ known for his house beat mixes. He plays with audio from one song, while mixing lyrics with another. For the film, Hoodbunnny stayed true to his art form but played only St. Louis artists – including Zado, Jiggy Keys, Meela Li and others – for his mix.
Alexander said “Nature of Sound” was critical for audiences, to show them the importance of engaging in nature.
“We all come from nature,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer as to why it makes you feel better; it’s like going back home.”
Although the film is already available online for viewing, Alexander said he wanted to keep the project going. He’s open to suggestions from audiences on which St. Louis artists they’d like to see next.
“Nature of Sound” is available online at chillseason.me/nature-of-sound.