Sean Beavan from 8mm is a world famous producer who has worked with the likes of Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt and Depeche Mode. Room Thirteen caught up with him recently in Los Angeles.

R13:You have just returned to Los Angeles after visiting London. Did your UK shows go well?
SB:Yes. Our first show at the Metro had a crowd of folks right up front and they were really wonderful and very receptive, completely the opposite of the "stand in the back of the room with your arms crossed in judgement" L.A. thing. It really set the tone for the rest of the U.K. shows. The live scene in London is just bristling with energy, excitement, and really great bands. That is why we were so interested in being a part of it. By our last show at the barfly the crowds were singing along.

R13:8mm is made up of you and your wife Juliette. Is it difficult to maintain a balance between a professional relationship and a personal one? How do you achieve this?
SB:Juliette and I have the kind of relationship people hope for in their wildest dreams. To me 8mm is an excuse to combine my two biggest passions, music and Juliette. We just love being together and finding that we are so compatible writing together is really wonderful. My strengths in instrumentation and progressions and hers in melody and lyric are the perfect combination. I also write poetry but I serve mainly as an editor for her writing and will throw in the occasional hook lyric or melody where she serves as editor to all my little snippets of song ideas picking out the best and bringing them to life. I think it all works for us because we didn't get involved because the music brought us together. We brought us together and we have been in love for eight years and only discovered we could do this as well last year.

R13:Do you and Juliette have set roles within the band, for example does she write all the lyrics herself, or is everything much more a joint effort?
SB:There are no hard and fast rules, but mostly I sit down at the guitar or piano and come up with a structure with a skeletal melody idea. If Juliette likes it she wanders around the house listening and forming ideas. She will then usually sit down and tell me the story, sing some lyrics and melody and then we put it together from there. I'll then make her CD of the basic structure and she plays it in her car and finishes the lyrics. Some songs like 'Give It Up' I just start recording because the idea comes fully formed in my head but can't be played on just one instrument. Those songs are all about the build. How the instrumentation takes you on a journey. Juliette takes a CD of that and creates melody and lyrics and then I adjust the arrangement accordingly. Song writing is a definite joint effort for us.

R13:You have worked with so many big name bands over the years, is it more of a challenge to keep other artists happy, or to try and satisfy your individual needs musically for 8mm
SB:Each is it's own challenge, and challenge is what makes life interesting don't you think? I remember in catholic school when the nuns used to talk about heaven being calm and peaceful. A place where there were no troubles etc. All I could think was that it would be boring, so stale. I need bitter with my sweet.

R13:Working with such influential bands like Depeche Mode, which artists compelled you to take up a career in the music industry?
SB:The first record I ever bought was Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon', so go figure! I was hugely influenced by Bob Ezrin's production on the Alice Cooper records. I think that I have always been aware of the production and mixing of records. It may be one of the things that drew me into music. That is why being a small part of Nine Inch Nails was such a joy.

R13:Have you had much support for 8mm from some of the other artists you have worked with?
SB:Yes. The musician community here in L.A has been wonderful. I think that Pepper Barry (ex-Buck and current Bobot Adrenaline founder) has been to every show. Scott Russo of Unwritten law came to me after he and his girlfriend (singer Amy Allen) had heard our EP and said, "Dude, look at my arms, the hairs are standing upon end. I f***ing love this s***! Whilst working with Chronic Future, Mike Busse and Ryan Breen handed me a CD of a skeleton of a song and said, "Let's make this into a song for 8mm," and 'Nothing Left to Lose' was born. Tommy Stinson (the replacements) heard our EP and asked Juliette to sing background vocals for his 'Village Head' CD. Tony Ciula, Marilyn Manson's manager, told me our EP is in standard rotation at the Post Human Management offices. Jim Rose and Bebe 'the circus queen' came out to a show in L.A. with some folks from William Morris. Free Dominguez and Bruce Somers of Kidney Thieves have been coming to shows and James and Andy from Paloalto just offered to play drums and bass respectively for us. The list goes on and on.

R13:What are the best and worst experiences you have had working with bands over the years?
SB:There are so many great moments, it's hard to recount them, and the bad moments I forget because I don't dwell on negative things. Why waste any part of your short life on bad things, you know? Some highlights:
- Watching Trent sheer off the knobs of three pcm 42's in a row with the bottom of his mic stand while singing 'Ruiner' in the control room.
- Coming up with the cool breakdown beat for 'Ex-Girlfriend' with Adrian Young of No Doubt at Ocean Way.
- Watching the shock symbol banners come down on the first night of the Antichrist Superstar tour and seeing the audience go insane.
- Singing backing vocals arm in arm with Scott Russo and Amy Allen in my home studio in L.A. whilst recording Unwritten Law's 'Here's to the Mourning.'

R13:Your music has a very haunting sound, how would you best describe it?
SB: Psychedelic Americana with trip hop grooves.

R13:I read on your website that your music is heavily influenced by New Orleans. What is that like as a place to live, and how does that affect your sound?
SB:It is the only place like it in the United States. The city is so connected to it's history you can feel it's ghosts in the humidity. There is such a culture of living within the moment. People go out to eat, they go out to drink, and they go out! They don't just sit in their chairs watching the people on television do all their living for them. Yet they are also connected to death in almost a celebratory way. It definitely goes along with a drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may be dead attitude. It is romantic and unique. It's a lovely place.

R13:In a recent interview you described the music of 8mm as a 'peep show into the private lies and lives'. Is that something that you feel is reflected in the typical stereotyped Los Angeles lifestyle?
SB:Yes and no. I think it's everywhere. Go to any small town in America and ask an old lady what's going on. She'll tell you things you can't believe. People live for the shame and tragedy of others. Look at reality television! Look at Shakespeare for God's sake! We are interested in pulling aside the veil, opening up those little wounds that infect every life. Hopefully people find catharsis in the fact that others are going through the same things. What's more interesting than love and loss? What's more compelling than seeing someone about to make the same mistake and what drives them to do it?

R13:What do you see for the future of alternative music, are there any new bands you would recommend or like to work with?
SB:I really think the term 'alternative' is probably outmoded by now. It really is just a term that record company people use to try and get songs onto certain radio formats in hopes of crossing them over to mass radio. It acts a little like those parental advisory stickers where they figured out if you put that sticker on the album cover it sold an additional 200,000 records. Say something is alternative and it allows your average listener a bit of a snob appeal, like they are in on something cooler than something else. How alternative is Good Charlotte? To me, the future of music is going to be signed and unsigned bands. The real music aficionado will listen to both on an equal basis much to the consternation of the major labels.

R13:I heard your music described as part David Lynch, are film soundtracks a possibility for a future project for you?
SB:We are interested in film, television, video games (we are an excellent Halo killing machine). I think that music helps enhance emotion in any medium and the music in each of those mediums is getting really good and very creative.

R13:Finally, what are your plans for the rest of the year, will you be touring again?
SB:8mm will be playing as many shows as people are willing to see. We love doing it live. Remember that it's just more time for Juliette and I to be together.

8mm's debut EP Opener is available now.