Here Is What Is is a sonic journey to the source of the art in the recording studio. It is an invitation to experience a year of creation, looking over Daniel Lanois' shoulder. The songs featured throughout the film are true to the dedication of verite, documenting a take, live off the floor. It is a film made with the same heart and soul that every Lanois sonic project receives.
Daniel Lanois, the accomplished Hull-born Québec musician behind several popular albums, has been working in the music industry since the late 1970s. Here Is What Is is his first major film offering created with videographer Adam Vollick, with whom he continues to work today. The film depicts Lanois’ return to songwriting after the series of sound experiments—which he has every intention of continuing, by the way—that formed his 2005 instrumental album Belladonna.
Surrounded by extraordinary musicians, including drummer Brian Blade, Lanois is mainly filmed in action in the studio, either behind the mixing console (which he considers a musical instrument in itself) or his pedal steel guitar. Outside the studio walls, he develops a series of profound reflections on art and beauty with his friend and faithful accomplice Brian Eno. Vollick’s digital camera, lightweight and handheld, sticks close to the musicians as they play. The director’s manipulation of the footage, including changes in colour saturation, adds a psychedelic touch to certain scenes. Here Is What Is celebrates all the sensuality of sound, bodies, and images in movement, the ecstasy that comes from creative acts, and the beauty of musical gestures.
Daniel Roland Lanois is a record producer, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter born in 1951, in Québec. Lanois has released several albums of his own work, the most well known being Acadie. However, he is best known for producing albums for a wide variety of artists, including U2, Peter Gabriel, Neil Young, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Ron Sexsmith, Michael Brook, Brian Eno and Nick Cave.
Adam Vollick is a photographer and cinematographer known for his work with musical heroes. He typically shoot long continuous takes that allow viewers to circumnavigate space. He worked with Neil Young, Daniel Lanois and Emmy Lou Harris.
Adam Samuels is a recording engineer and the right-hand man of the producer and composer Daniel Lanois. He started his career as an engineer assistant of Tchad Blake for the Sunset Sound Factory in Hollywood. In 1998, he became close friends with Daniel Lanois and was invited to record his next album. He ended up working exclusively with Lanois for the next ten years, recording five albums and touring extensively. In 2009, he started working with other artists such as John Frusciante and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After 20 years in the music industry, he decided to follow his passion for astrophysics and joined the Astronomy Department at Boston University.