The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Firestations Release Epping Forest Lockdown Film
Luke Turner , July 1st, 2020 11:06

A charity single from the London group is out via Wiaiwya

Many things have been buried in London's Epping Forest over the years: old beer bottles, mole traps, stolen loot, the occasional gangster.

Now London group Firestations have made a video, which you can watch above, for new charity record 'Dream Home' by interring film in the forest floor. The track is part of a release for the Wiaiwya label, aimed at raising money for Médicins Sans Frontieres, and was recorded during March and April's COVID-19 isolation. The label asked seven acts to record a 77-minute track, and you can hear 'Dream Home' in full here. We spoke to Laura Copsey from the band about making the film, which you can read below.

What does the Epping Forest landscape mean to you?

Laura Copsey: We all live in Walthamstow so Epping Forest is on our doorstep and we spend quite a bit of time there – Mike running, Martin walking his dog Bruce, and for me, the forest is often a catalyst for the art I make. Sometimes this starts with something I find, other times it's things I have made and then hidden. There is something grounding about the forest and how long it has been there – I enjoy tracing things back in time, earth works, tumuli, ancient oak trees – the forest is able to put things in perspective for me. More recently with the lockdown, we have been incredibly grateful for the woods as an extension of our world.

How did you, practically, make the film – from burying it to developing and cutting to the music?

LC: The film is 16mm leader. It didn't involve any developing or fixing because everything you can see is a trace – the dirt, the moss, mould, bleached by the sun over the roughly three month period it was left in place in the forest. Physically, I secured the film at one end with a rock and then loosely buried it, partially submerged in places, then left the elements to make their mark as a kind of collaboration with nature and a document of the time.

When we finished 'Dream Home', I went and retrieved the film and sent it in the post to James Holcombe at Erehwon Lab who telecined it for me to create a digital file, which I then edited together. The music was a collaboration between members of firestations, written and recorded in two socially distant home studios by Michael Cranny, Martin Thompson (AKA Bit Cloudy) and myself. The piece makes use of field recordings, captured in the forest at sunrise when nature is loudest. During lockdown we each gradually added to the music and sent stems back and forth online until we agreed it was finished.