When jazz musician Jon Batiste teamed up with Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor to create the music for Disney’s ‘Soul’, he says 13 year old Jon probably wouldn’t have been surprised to hear he would one day be working with a rock legend.
Jon Batiste tells Noise11.com, “I shouldn’t say I shouldn’t be surprised because all of the things that have happened in my life I would not have predicted. I think something like that would have been welcome to me. I’m 33 now”.
Teenage Jon Batiste had wide music tastes. “Back at that time I would have been using my allowance to buy CDs to build my CD collection,” he says. “At that time I remember buying, not Nine Inch Nails, but CDs from every single section, because it was split up the genres. I would always buy CDs based on having a variety of different genres or having a variety of different album covers. I would buy Led Zeppelin records, I would buy Korn records, I would buy Bjork records, stuff people may not think I would listen to. I have downloaded many artist discographies that people don’t even know I would have in my catalogue, my mental rolodex. I checked out Nine Inch Nails much earlier than I ever expected to work with them. I think I would have welcomed that at that time”.
Batiste, Reznor and Atticus Rose composed the music for ‘Soul’. “Just think about the pitch meeting for ‘Soul’. We want to do a movie about a black jazz musician who is middle-aged, who is going on this quest to discover what these existential questions are. What’s the meaning of life, where does the soul come from, what happens when we pass away? And jazz will be at the centre of it as well as electronic music blended with jazz. In that way that it’s not on the beaten path and it’s not mainstream and the music is something he really thrives on, I relate to it in that way. Overall, I think the film is something I really relate to. It really is an intersection of so many things I’m all about”.
Jon says ‘Soul’ will relate to most people. “I would go as far to say that most people relate to Joe, having this thing or that thing that they put a lot of value in. They have this experience that everything in their life will be okay and they realise that maybe they see someone else get there or maybe they get there themselves and it doesn’t fix everything. Hopefully they will discover that life is bigger than that thing they may have put on a pedestal and there is much for to life than that. In that way I think we can all relate to Joe in some way or another”.
While a Disney movie, ‘Soul’ has many grown up themes. “It was a movie for all ages in that kids could get into the animation and some of the themes but then there are also these very heavy themes that when they watch the animation 10 years from now they will catch it and then watch it 10 years from then and they they’ll catch even more. If you are 5 years old you can watch this film for another 15-20 years and still not get it all”.
Jon Batiste’s new album ‘We Are’ is out now.
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