The short, engaging documentary Secondhand Sureshots, which every DJ / record collector must see, proves that there is indeed gold to be found in the dollar bins, and that a crate digger with a good eye and a good ear can simultaneously recycle and create from those cheap vinyl finds. Filmed four years ago as a production of dublab, this crate digging in the dollar bin documentary was very recently released on DVD by the Stones Throw label with bonus material. The film, which screened over the weekend at the Downtown Independent, was directed by Frosty, who aptly and eloquently described it as "an experiment in creative sound recycling." The film takes place in Los Angeles, where it follows J-Rocc, Daedelus, Nobody, and Ras G on a crate digging excursion (a "secret mission" is the film's official description) at the local thrift store's (Out Of The Closet Thrift Store) dollar bins to see what musical magic they can conjure up out of what most people would immediately discard as crappy records (and some are really crappy).
As any modern crate digging beat maker will tell you, it is not about what the original record you have in your hands has to offer, but what you can cull from it to transform it (via chopping up and reworking sounds) into something new and wonderful, and this is where the skills of these four gifted producers come into play. The film comes as a DVD + CD set containing the original 30 minute documentary with additional films featuring more music and art creation plus extra beats and mixes from all four producers, and some other niceness. Recently I caught up with Secondhand Sureshots' director Frosty to ask him about his love letter to dusty old vinyl.
Amoeblog: Are you a DJ / record collector / crate digger yourself?
Frosty: Yes indeed! I have a magnetic attraction to vinyl and an obsessive compulsion to dig through endless thrift store bins to find gems. Leave no stone left unturned!
Amoeblog: How did idea for this film come about?
Frosty: The Secondhand Sureshots film concept was actually the result of a subconscious epiphany.
I awoke in the middle of the night and wrote the fully developed plan for the film in my phone. In the morning I had a hazy recollection of a deep sleep idea so I checked my phone and found the Secondhand Sureshots concept.
Amoeblog: What was next step after you had the concept?
Frosty: The night after this dreamy brainstorm dublab was presenting a show with Edan at Spaceland. I spoke with my dublab colleague Bryan "Morpho" Younce and he enthusiastically came on board to co-direct and produce. We reached out to the stars of the film, who immediately gave high thumbs up to be part of the creative project and then recruited our pals Saul Levitz, Kevin Ramos and Clay Lipsky to round out the production posse.
Amoeblog: How did the choice of participants in the project come about?
Frosty: The films' stars, Daedelus, J.Rocc Nobody, and Ras G, are all members of the dublab family. They are amazingly talented djs and producers who have devoted their lives to discovering and sharing records they love as well as making original, stunning sounds. These guys all have a great sense of humor that is projected brightly in the film and [they] convey deep insights about their love affair with vinyl.
Amoeblog: And how about that location, Out Of The Closet -- how did you decide that was the best place?
Frosty: We chose Out of the Closet Thrift Stores because there are so many locations, they all sell vinyl and the records are $1 each. This created a consistent yet diverse environment for the digging segment of the film. The thrift store is essential to the film's premise because everything in the bins has been discarded. These are forgotten sounds and memories to be mined and revived.
Amoeblog: The film has a really nice, easy and engaging conversational unrehearsed flow to it. Were the questions even scripted?
Frosty: The questions weren't scripted. The whole film was a relaxed, fun experiment. We're all friends, so even with the camera rolling the vibe was relaxed.
J-Rocc "Secondhand Sureshot"
Amoeblog: What unexpected tangents and turns did the film take?
Frosty: This was a pretty low-tech/budget project so we had a few production hurdles. We shot it all on a single camera with one mic. I'm happy you felt the film flowed well because in reality the filming was pretty stuttered. The camera used a memory card to record. We could only afford one data card so every twenty minutes we had to stop the filming for twenty minutes to dump the footage. Often the energy was high in the moment but we had to stop filming to empty the card. We didn't want to lose the magic of momentum but had to pause the digging or beat making so we wouldn't miss important moments. We became experts at distracting the stars with kooky thrift store finds or erratic, cosmic dance moves.
Amoeblog: It's now been four years since you shot the documentary. Would you be able to make the exact same film now or have things changed in any way?
Frosty: Secondhand Sureshots was magical because all the pieces came together with inspired ease. We worked really hard but it was a fun project every step of the way. We have a lot more experience after this film project so the future is bright. We've got a new dublab film in the works that should blow minds in a beautiful way. Expect it when the time is right.
Amoeblog: What are the more recent projects you have worked on?
Frosty: We've been recording amazing dublab radio sessions, making a lot of VisionVersion live performance films, releasing some fun records, and keeping busy with high-concept happenings. We're having fun cruising into the future on a wave of creativity.
Amoeblog: Anything to add?
Frosty: We hope this film is a spark for creative folks out there. Everything is possible. Go make some music magic of your own!
In addition to the regular CD/DVD version there is also the limited run, 500 only Secondhand Sureshots Deluxe Super Set, which includes a DVD, picture disc LP, two slipmats, stickers and a gate-fold LP cover reclaimed from a thrift store and screenprinted by HIT+ RUN.