Sofie Winterson and I only film in musea it seems. Last year we had the honor of filming at Panorama Mesdag in The Hague – find her Unknown Mortal Orchestra cover here – and early 2020 we gave it another go at the Eye Film museum in Amsterdam. She had just decided to spend most of her time in Los Angeles for the forseeable future, so I figured I had to capture some more songs while I could. This time, Winterson recorded a lovely cover of Judee Sill’s The Kiss and an acoustic of her own killer song Moral.
‘With Judee Sill, there’s always an extra layer below’
‘As a teenager I got to know Judee Sill through my guitar teacher. Of course, there was little online, you didn’t have Spotify yet and her music couldn’t be found on YouTube yet. My guitar teacher had her albums. It wasn’t until the last few years that she’s become a bit of a cult hero, in her time she wasn’t popular. I remember him letting me hear her and saying: “I really think this will suit you very well. ” I’ve had that before in my life, that people said something very much suits me and that I really dove in and became a fan of it.’
‘Sill was actually an organist and used very classical chord progressions. I found it very inspiring what kind of melody lines she made up and how crazy the jumps she’d use. Because of her sweet voice it doesn’t really stand out so much, but the songs could almost be a kind of musical. She sings it so small and subdued that the song gives off a subtle and sweet feeling, while the lyrics can be very intense and dark. I really liked that her music gives a super sweet feeling at first, while there’s always an extra layer below. I learned a lot from that. When I write an intense or heavy lyric, I try to pour it into a rather sweet sauce, to contradict it a little. I learned that from Judee Sill. I already knew Joni Mitchell, but after Judee Sill I dived a lot more into the female folk singers.’
Filmed & edited by Matthijs van der Ven.
Audio recorded & mixed by Matthijs van der Ven.
Eye Film museum
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Eye Film museum