Groundbreaking Australian musician Tim Minchin has revealed his new single ‘Leaving LA’, released via BMG.
‘Leaving LA’ is a predictably sardonic and poignant meditation on the conundrum that is La-la Land. A combination of the pop and orchestral stylings that Minchin is renowned for, the release comes at the head of his mammoth sold out Australian tour, which includes five shows at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre, three at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall, and four at Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall. Minchin will also be appearing at the sold out Splendour in the Grass 2020, headlining the GW McLennantent on Saturday July 25.
Minchin’s return to Australian soil, after four years living in Los Angeles with his wife and two children, was a welcome one for the composer, actor and musician. He described life in the US under Donald Trump as “untenable”. Aside from the political climate, his time in Los Angeles also saw the demise of a $90 million Dreamworld animated film project, as well as the closure, after a six month run, of his Broadway musical ‘Groundhog Day: The Musical’ (his follow up to the seven time Olivier-winning ‘Matilda: The Musical’). However, out of the wreckage of his US residency came the hilariously sharp-tongued ‘Leaving LA’, with more music to be released later in 2020 on his forthcoming album.
“‘Leaving LA’ was written in my final year living there,” said Minchin. “It is meant to reflect the bitterness I felt when the project I had been working on for 4 years got trashed. But it’s also meant to feel a bit sad, and a bit funny, and a bit fond. It’s bittersweet; like a break-up song written for somebody you’re still a little in love with. The perceived glamour of Hollywood is laughable once you’ve lived inside it. Don’t get me wrong, there are brilliant people there making wonderful art, but it’s pretty damn ugly to look at, shamelessly materialistic (obviously), and full of desperate – and desperately unhappy – people. It’s also full of tourists leering at obscene houses, and frantically searching for a good spot from which to take a photo of an old real estate sign. I try my best to steer clear of clichés, but the famous sign felt to me like an unexploited metaphor: it, like the town it teeters above, is iconic, unique, two-dimensional… and, if you’re expecting glamour, a bit disappointing.”
Award-winning, uber talented childhood friend of Minchin’s, Tee Ken Ng, has created a mind-blowing film for ‘Leaving LA’, which puts this release firmly into the realm of art. It is a fascinating foray into zoetropes, an animation technique which involves paper-constructed video frames on a spinning turntable, creating an effect similar to stop motion. The result is a captivating illusory world that Minchin is trapped in, like a rat on a wheel, and eventually escapes from.
“When Tim first approached me to collaborate with him and played me his track ‘Leaving LA’ about the two dimensionality of Hollywood (amongst other things), we discussed animating with cut outs and paper models,” said the music video creator Tee Ken Ng. “We both felt that paper construction was a fitting medium to depict a place of superficiality and facades.”
“At the time I was heavily into creating designs for vinyl records and DJ slip mats that, when viewed through a camera while being spun on a turntable, would animate. The zoetrope dates back to 1833 and is basically a cylindrical variation of this pre-film technique… We created 12 zoetropes for the video. All the frames of animation were captured from footage we shot across 2 days in Sydney of Tim and his band. Every frame had to be printed and cut out from paper and arranged and glued down in sequence around the circumference of the zoetrope discs… The lamppost zoetrope required over 100 individual lampposts and Tim singing in the car required 478 printed cutouts. Faced with the technical challenge of filming something rotating at speed whilst dangling a camera in the middle of it, we ultimately decided the best camera to use was an iPhone 11… Working with something that people carry around in their pocket felt like a perfect fit for the entire DIY ethos of the project.“
On the music video, Tim Minchin said, “The film has taken thousands of hours to make, and has become a project that not only enhances the song, but utterly transcends it. It is one of the most wonderful pieces of animation I have ever seen (and that’s coming from someone who was directing a $90 million animated feature film in f^%king Hollywood for four years!).”
Tim Minchin is a veritable creative genius who, while best known for his musical comedy, has also had worldwide success in musical theatre and acting, most notably as the composer and lyricist for the Olivier Award-winning, Tony Award-winning and Grammy Award-nominated Broadway show Matilda: The Musical. A Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the performing arts, Minchin is a fixture in Australia’s arts community, exemplified by his consistently sold out tours of the country. He also performed a run of sold out shows in the UK in the latter part of 2019.
Minchin’s most recent collaboration, the song ‘Carry You’, was written for UPRIGHT, the television series he co-wrote and starred in. Tim asked Missy Higgins to record the song, in her distinctive style, for the closing credits, and the rendition has now received 97,000 views on YouTube.