Behind the Scenes of “Montespaña”
By Mack Perry
In most cases, the creation of a song is a process that thrives on the refined results of collaboration. Whether it’s the deepening harmonic divergences generated by the string instruments in an orchestra or the subtle rhythmic movements created by the bongo drum in a percussion ensemble, music is an art form that is improved and enriched by creative relationships. Music is also a medium that invites the exploration of artistic frontiers and the breaking of new ground. “Montespaña” is a documentary film that chronicles the unprecedented musical collaboration between Clintons front man John McLellan and Spanish artist José Cortés —two musicians that have never actually met in person.
The brainchild of Universal Vision founder Nic Davis, “Montespaña” is a passion project lovingly crafted to explore the “power of song to change a person’s life.” By following the journey of artists separated by over 5,000 miles, “Montespaña” reveals the capacity of music to transcend the barriers of distance, language, and culture. Despite having never formally met, McLellan and Cortés, with a little help from Skype and translator Mark Shurey, are creating a song together digitally and making history in the process. “This is opening so many new doors, it’s incredible,” said Davis. “Technology is going to completely change music as it is made today.”
As the lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for one of the biggest bands in the state since 1999, John McLellan is no stranger to musical collaboration. With McLellan on board for the film, Davis proceeded to interview over 50 Spanish artists in order to find the perfect over-seas partner for the Montana based artist. It was then that Davis discovered José Cortés, a musician who’s classical and flamenco style seemed to compliment McLellan’s pop-rock sensibilities and considerable experience as a record engineer.
And while the considerable draw of “Montespaña” will be witnessing the fruits of these internationally separated artists’ labors, Davis feels that the real power of the film lies with what it will reveal about the possibilities of music. “In society we often see ourselves as disconnected. We have different languages, cultures, and beliefs,” said Davis. “But there are some things that bring us all together. Music is one of them. It’s a very powerful point of connection in our world. Above all, that’s what I hope to show with this film.”
“Montespaña” is intended to be the first of many in an episodic “Universal Voice” series. Davis has already begun pre-production on the second film in the series.
You can see the trailer for Montespaña by clicking here