Interview with Composer SAM WAYMON on Howlin' Wolf Records release "GANJA & HESS" [Part: One]


Welcome into the Howlin' Wolf Records family and we welcome you!

HWR: What kind of impact do you believe the film had in 1973, how it's received in today near 2020 and what would you like to see the listener to take away from the soundtrack "GANJA & HESS"? 


SAM WAYMON: In 1973 no one had ever seen a film like this.  No one had ever heard a soundtrack like this being it was not a blaxploitation film like Hollywood was making - it was different. it was original . and it was not a gangster/shoot'em up cop movie. The impact was substantial and exciting. But not in America.  It was hailed more in Europe. It took Europe by a storm.  That's why it was chosen as one of the best films of the decade at the Cannes Film Festival.  But back here in the U.S. well, that's another story. After it opened on 57th street in NYC at the Playboy theater, with a lot of famous Hollywood starts attending the Premier with fog lights on the street and police closing off 57th street.. the press didn't understand the film and most people had to see it twice to understand the seduction and metaphor of the film Bill Gunn had written.  The music however, was liked from the  beginning. I was thrilled and perplexed at the same time.  I thought and knew you could not separate the two. The black community loved it. the black music industry folks and musicians loved my music and called it "before it's time" and called it a masterpiece for a young black composer such as myself. The Black writer's and filmmaker's community hailed Bill as a genius with language. I agree. That man could write language. That also helped translate my music into sounds.


I must say for 2020 the world is different now than then.  A new generation of people with new exciting challenges and visions and dreams and opportunities before them when it comes to creativity and sounds. and music. Technology has a great deal to do with that. But most importantly, the world can now see what Bill and I went thru to make this film back then. It was a struggle and big struggle. But we had to do what our dream commanded us to do otherwise we would be ourselves. Our theme was to always be TRUE TO YOURSELF.

I'm so thrilled Jeremy that people, you, Howlin' Wolf and Wall Crumpler love and appreciate the blood, sweat and tears that went into making this film. All i wanted people to know was you must do what you can to fulfill your dream at any cost. When it comes to Art, hey, nothing should ever get in your way. I'm hoping this film and my music is an inspiration and motivation to other young composers and musicians to follow their vision as I did. Old or young. Doesn't matter your age...just stay inspired and be around other creative positive people to keep you grounded. Period. If you have a gift be true to it and respect  it as I did and still do to this day and will till I'm under the grass.
 

HWR: Please share a story or memory working on the film soundtrack for "GANJA & HESS" and do you feel the film has a "cult" status?

SAM WAYMON: I don't know the answer to that. I guess it's because the  music is "raw and acoustic" and not complicated with too much technology - i kept it simple yet spiritually connected to the script and the story.  Remember, no one has ever seen a film like this, so maybe that's why it has a "cult" following.  You tell me.

End of Part I... THANK YOU. Please find more information on "GANJA & HESS" soundtrack here at "HOWLIN' WOLF RECORDS".

Jeremy [Six Strings]

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