A celebrity DJ and recovering drug addict, Evan Gough has had enough — the fame, fortune and transparent friends; he is done. Increasingly recurring nightmares from a tragic past are stirring skepticism and suspicion about his life and neighbors at his trendy apartment tower.
Especially unsure about his psychiatrist’s prescribed medication regimen, Evan turns within and embarks on a soul-searching journey through psycho-self-analysis and his own intuition.
Suspecting that his psychiatrist, along with his new apartment neighbor, are possibly involved in a secret society conspiracy and are drugging and killing his fellow celebrity tenants, Evan teams up with Dr. Verde’s intern to find the truth.
This is the plot for “The Red Man”. A film Directed by Jimmie Gonzalez and produced by John Acquaviva. We recently had the chance to sit down with them and ask a few questions about the film.
Electronic Groove: First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. Can you tell us a little bit about your initial intent for this movie? What spurred on the desire to create such a film?
Jimmie Gonzalez: As a DJ myself of over 30 years, I’ve been fortunate to see a lot. From my early days in Chicago through the origins of the current Las Vegas scene, I’ve seen people and fads come and go. I myself had dreams of being a superstar DJ but when the scene was heading down a road I truly knew I wanted no part of, I retreated back to my first love, Cinema. It was then I found my true calling noticing all the connections between story telling through a good DJ set to storytelling of a great film. I guess my intent overall was to make my ultimate DJ mix. On screen.
Electronic Groove: How did the two of you meet? Did you immediately know that you wanted to create a film together?
John Acquaviva: Great question and if you ask Jimmie you might get a different answer as is often the case with my younger friends and partners. I had met Jimmie in passing at some parties in the midwest and early Las Vegas days. I really took note of Jimmie when I discovered and fell in in love with the lyrics of Dan Diamond to find that Jimmie and Dan were doing videos for their songs and was blown away with their quality and content. We went on to work with Jimmie and Dan on publishing admin and stayed in touch regularly. So after knowing each other for what seemed like ages, Jimmie reaches out to me and invites me to a special screening of a pre-film trailer for The Redman. I flew to Vegas about 3 years ago, fell in love with his trailer and, yes, I immediately became absorbed by the story that Jimmie had written, and offered to help as much as I could.
“I was around 37 when so much was changing for me. My DJ career was at an all time low point”
Electronic Groove: Jimmie (Gonzalez) you stated that after researching and finding the works of writer/mythologist Joseph Campbell, you learned a lot about story structure had proven formulas and lent itself to spiritual awakening. Can you elaborate on this and how it assisted you to properly construct this film to attract all types of audiences, not just the electronic music audience?
Jimmie Gonzalez: I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to say when deciding to write my first screenplay. I was around 37 when so much was changing for me. My DJ career was at an all time low point.
No one in Vegas especially wanted to hear techno, I had to take on a real job, my wife and I were having triplets and I was reading books on the occult, conspiracy theories and spirituality. The works of Joseph Campbell, especially “The Hero’s Journey”, not only resonated with my own life at the time, but solidified my decision to dive deeper into my script.
Simultaneously I was learning a lot about the business of filmmaking recognizing the importance of character development and connecting with the viewer on a human level, first and foremost.
Electronic Groove: I read in an interview that your earliest outlines of the script had Evan depicted as a rock star, a drummer in a band, and that the rapid growth of the DJ in music today was what you decided to base the main character on. Why the shift in character choice? Was there a seemingly desire to demystify the DJ persona or at least make the audience more aware of the life of an electronic music DJ?
John Acquaviva: That was not me, but rather Jimmie sharing his thoughts with me. Upon seeing the teaser trailer, Jimmie confided that at the start of writing the script, he wanted the protagonist to be a star…and to make it, it might have to be an aging rock star. However, in telling me this, I did not flinch at the thought that we would have to tailer this to another audience. We were DJ’s before it was cool and now that everyone is a DJ, we simply had to deliver what is in many ways, a faustian tale in DJ clothing.
Electronic Groove: Just when I thought I had a grasp of what the premise of the movie was, I was thrown into a frenzy of second guesses. I had to watch the film twice to try to grasp a truer and more deeper meaning and understanding of its premise. Was this something that you intended the viewer to experience?
Jimmie Gonzalez: Most definitely. Film goers today are more sophisticated then ever. The last thing I wanted was for someone to say they figured it out in the first 20 minutes. That’s the kiss of death for storytellers and assured to make a forgettable film. Now if I can divulge and say I wish I had done some things differently I will, but seeing the reaction so far has proven I created exactly what I set out to make, a thinking man’s horror film demanding repeat viewings reminiscent of some of my favourite films and filmmakers. I promise you the answers to every question are in there. I just hope people have the patience and care enough to find it. I’m confident our soon to be released BluRay which includes an additional 20 minutes in my Director’s Cut will help.
“In fact, we were able to incorporate one of our newest technology loves and discoveries here with the Subpac technology and studio product.”
Electronic Groove: Olivier Giacomotto has stated that he used frequencies instead of notes, specifically 19 hertz, (a sub frequency that is supposed to created dizziness, un-comfort, fear, and panic) to make the viewer see things that didn’t really exist and to make it the cornerstone of the whole soundtrack. In knowing this, how important is it to tune music and in this case, soundtracks to certain frequencies in order to create a certain emotion or vibration amongst viewers/listeners?
John Acquaviva: I believe this to be incredibly important. You can find many studies on sounds, certain key signatures and frequencies that evoke emotional and or visceral responses. In fact, we were able to incorporate one of our newest technology loves and discoveries here with the Subpac technology and studio product. Olivier worked with this, and I know we are the first movie to ever do a soundtrack with the Subpac. Unlike a bass bin, the transducers and material techno in SUBPAC technology we use allows us to exploit those frequencies. It worked so well, that extended work and use on Olivier’s part created some distress for him while composing.
Electronic Groove: I couldn’t help but wonder if the main character Evan Gough’s name was determined and decided to mirror that of the famous Renaissance artist Vincent Van Gogh, was this another ironic twist to the movie?
Jimmie Gonzalez: No, but I love that the film worked enough on you to go down your own rabbit holes. I’m smiling. Actually the name of Evan Gough and others in The Red Man borrow from Freudian theories on the “EGO”. His nemesis or antagonist is Ian Doughty, aka DJ “ID”. His mother Susan Gough is “Superego”, the guiding voice. There you are, a few more pieces to the puzzle – Lol.
“As I have said a few times though, in regards to wanting all that fame money and adulation…be careful what you wish for”
Electronic Groove: There are so many facets to this film, one that almost always garnishes the most interest is the theme of conspiracies in the music industry. Was this just part of another layer of what you intended the viewer to peel back, or was it merely a coincidence or happenstance?
John Acquaviva: Again, this is all to Jimmie’s credit. Nothing is left to chance. The conspiracy theory is another layer and perspective. I can add and tease a bit further here as well. As part of Evan’s enlightenment he goes through different coloured doors. These are the colours of the chakras representing his rise to enlightenment. As he fights with his reality of taking drugs and getting off drugs and pretty much living in a goldfish bowl of stardom and removal from reality [the apartment purposefully has similar characters if you may recall] he goes through various stages of denial paranoia and conspiracy.
Electronic Groove: I couldn’t help but feel that the film vibrated a “Stanley Kubrik-esque” feel. Are there certain directors or producers that influenced your style and would Stanley be one of them?
Jimmie Gonzalez: Now I’m really smiling! Thank you. Again I love filmmakers and films that demand multiple viewings, revealing personal and even political views the more you analyze them. Stanley Kubrick is on the top of my list. Till this day, no one can confirm what “The Shining” meant but there are hundreds of theories out there. Some pretty bat shit crazy, but I love that people are still talking about it. That reaction and cult status is un-stoppable. I can only wish to achieve that from one of my films. Another major influence is Italian horror auteur Dario Argento. His 1977 masterpiece “Suspiria” literally triggered this whole thing. It was that experience that flipped the switch from DJ to filmmaker when I first discovered it back in 2003.
Electronic Groove: Is there a so called “moral to the story” that you would like viewers to come away with? Or is it to be left up to interpretation?
John Acquaviva: Very much left to everyones interpretation and that interpretation changes upon each viewing and peeling back of the onion that is our story. As I have said a few times though, in regards to wanting all that fame money and adulation…be careful what you wish for 😉