A Great Jock ‘n’ Roll Swindle?: Film fame for Scottish Hip Hop Hoaxers

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It was the author of Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie, who said it best:

‘There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make.’

As a Scot, I believe this to be often the case, and am pleased, therefore, to report the premiere of a film at SXSW, which tells the story of 2 Scots on the make with their very own Jock ‘n’ Roll Swindle.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax tells the story of friends Billy Boyd and Gavin Bain, who duped ‘everyone from Sony Music to MTV into believing [they] were LA-born rappers Silibil N’ Brains, tipped for the top in the hip hop industry.’

As blog site Arbroath reports the would-be Hip Hop duo were:

‘Angered at the sneering from London record industry executives searching for the British Eminem, the duo set out to fool the music business into believing that they were brash Californian rappers. The deception began after a disastrous audition in London in 2001. Speaking in the documentary, Dundee-born Mr Bain, 31, aka Brains, describes how “the vibe just changed horribly” the minute they started “talking in a Scottish accent”.

Getting nowhere fast, Mr Boyd, aka Silibil, adopted an American accent as a joke, and the lie began. “Out of spite we decided to develop these characters and that’s when Silibil ‘N’ Brains were really born.” Taking their inspiration from MTV music videos, they prepared for “the biggest role that we’d ever play”. The Great Hip Hop Hoax, which has its world premiere at the South by South West (SXSW) Festival in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, tells the story of their rise and fall. By 2003, the duo were back in London with a spot at a music industry showcase. A management deal followed and they soon had a six-figure recording contract with Sony. Tipped as the “next big thing” by MTV, they played with Eminem’s D12 band at Brixton Academy, and partied with Madonna and Green Day.

Their plan was to make it before coming clean, to show that if you have talent, your nationality shouldn’t matter. But in the world of hip hop, which is all about “keeping it real”, they forgot who they really were. They lived in constant fear of being exposed. “We believed that if we got found out that we’d have to pay all the money back …. We didn’t know if we’d go to jail for fraud,” said Mr Bain. “We completely forgot that we were Scottish ... I was definitely going a little cuckoo.” They were trapped – never releasing a record in case their lies were exposed. “It drove us from being best friends to hating each other,” Mr Boyd recalls. Things came to a head in June 2005, when the pair had a furious fight. The next day Mr Boyd returned to Scotland. There was no big announcement and no outcry, as they had never released a record.

The resultant film The Great Hip Hop Hoax was made in conjunction with the BBC and Creative Scotland and is described as:

Californian hip-hop duo Silibil n’ Brains were going to be massive. What no-one knew was the pair were really students from Scotland, with fake American accents and made up identities.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax (92 minutes) is a film about truth, lies and the legacy of faking everything in the desperate pursuit of fame. The American dream, told by people who’d never even been to America.

The Great Hip Hop Hoax a film by Jeanie Finlay will premiere at SXSW, more details here.
 

 
Via Arbroath and The Courier, with thanks to Tara!
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Kubricks’: Premiere of feature trailer for the Dean Cavanagh/Alan McGee film

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The first full-length feature trailer for Dean Cavanagh’s Kubricks has been released. And its producer, the former Head of Creation Records, Alan McGee is in shock.

‘I think I’m in shock, well I know I am in shock, and I think even Dean’s in shock and he’s made films before.’

Written by Dean and Josh Cavanagh, Kubricks stars Roger Evans, Joanna Pickering, Gavin Bain, Chris Madden, Matthew Blakey and Alan McGee. It deals with a director’s obsessive fantasies, and is part Kenneth Anger, J. G. Ballard and Stanley Kubrick.

‘The whole thing was like an experiment really,’ McGee explains. ‘I actually didn’t know if we could do it, because we had never made a full length feature film before. I thought we’d probably have something that we could show people, but we’ve done much better than that—we’ve made a film. It is genuinely out there, but I think it’s really good.’

Cavanagh agrees and tells me Kubricks is ‘A no budget experiment that didn’t end in disaster and taught all involved that Turner’s quote in Performance “The only performance that makes it, that makes it all the way, is the one that achieves madness” was really on the money.’

‘I suppose the way you can look at it is, we’re Scritti Politti doing “Skank Bloc Bologna”,’ adds McGee. ‘It’s total D.I.Y. Dean had never directed. I had never produced a film or organized it, or been in one all the way through. Joanna Pickering had never had a major role in a film before. Roger Evans had never had a lead role in a film before. And I don’t think Gavin Bain had even been in a film before. So, you have all these people who are living the dream, so to speak, they’re all wanting to be in a film and wanting it to be great. But probably deep down in our hearts, we thought we’ll be lucky if we come out with something, but let’s try it anyway. And unbelievably, it’s good. It’s really good.’

Kubricks Written & Directed by Dean Cavanagh & Josh Cavanagh; Produced by Alan McGee; Director of Photography Tom Mitchell; Starring Roger Evans, Joanna Pickering, Gavin Bain, Chris Madden and Matthew Blakey.

Coming soon.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Dean Cavanagh: Exclusive interview with the writer and director of ‘Kubricks’


Alan McGee: Talks Magick, Music and about his new Movie ‘Kubricks’


 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Kubricks’: First teasers for the new Dean Cavanagh/Alan McGee film

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The first in a series of teaser trailers for Dean & Josh Cavanagh’s Kubricks has been released. They feature the character of “Donald the Director” (played by Roger Evans), who suffers a mental breakdown during the making of a film, and begins to involve his cast (Joanna Pickering, Gavin Bain) and crew in his sinister and obsessive fantasies.

Produced by Alan McGee, Kubricks looks a cross between Ballard, Kubrick and Kenneth Anger, which suggests it may be brilliant, or indulgent, or like some of the best art, a bit of both. We wait to see. Meantime, check the Kubricks website for more details.
 


‘Kubricks’ teaser (((RABBIT)))
 
Bonus teasers for ‘Kubricks’, after the jump…
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Dean Cavanagh: Exclusive interview with the writer and director of ‘Kubricks’

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Dean Cavanagh is that very rare breed – a maverick whose talents have been successfully proven over several different disciplines.

He is an award-winning artist; a screenwriter and playwright, writing the highly acclaimed Wedding Belles with Irvine Welsh and the forth-coming movie version of the hit on-line series Svengali. He has also been a journalist, with bylines in i-D, NME, Sabotage Times and the Guardian. Dean is also a documentary-maker, a film and TV producer and a musician, with along list of collaborators, including Robert Anton Wilson.

Now the multi-talented Cavanagh has written and directed (with his son Josh), his first movie - the much anticipated Kubricks.

In this exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds, Dean talks about the ideas and creative processes behind Kubricks. How he collaborated with Alan McGee, and developed the film with his son Josh, discussing his thoughts on cinema and synchronicity, and explaining howKubricks came to be filmed over 5 days, with a talented cast this summer.

Dean Cavanagh: ‘Stanley Kubrick has always fascinated me in that he was clearly trying to convey messages through symbols, codes and puzzles in his films.

‘For me his genius was in the way he presented the ‘regular’ audience with a clear narrative structure and for those who wanted to look deeper he constructed hidden layers of subjectivity. He was clearly a magician working with big budgets in such an idiosyncratic way that it’s hard not to be intrigued by him and his oeuvre.

‘I’ve been following Kubrick researchers like Rob Ager and Jay Weidner for the last few years and I really wanted to dramatize a story based around Kubrick as an inspirational enigma. There is a wealth of material about the esoteric side of Kubrick on the net and Ager and Weidner are great places to start the journey from.’

DM: How did you progress towards making ‘Kubricks’?

Dean Cavanagh: ‘I’ve been writing screenplays and theatre on my own and also with Irvine Welsh since the 1990’s. Up until last year, I never really had any desire to direct a film but Alan McGee encouraged me to have a go. He offered to produce a film if I would write and direct with the emphasis being on us having total control. This was music to my ears after having mainly dealt with people who are always looking for reasons not to make a film.  Alan’s credo was “just do it and let’s see what happens”. There’s a great freedom in working with him.’
 
Read more of Dean Cavanagh’s exclusive interview, plus free ‘Kubricks’ soundtrack download, after the jump…
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Alan McGee: Talks Magick, Music and his new Movie ‘Kubricks’


 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion