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Monday, Sept. 12, 2011

High Frequency Media's East Coast Tour

On the road with Juniper Tar, Strand of Oaks

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Anthony Lopez and Jon Salimes founded High Frequency Media in 2009. After a year of shooting weddings and promotional videos, the pair began filming local musicians and producing short films and music videos. Their first feature-length documentary, Points of Interest, follows Milwaukee's Juniper Tar and Philadelphia's Strand of Oaks on a 10-day tour of the East Coast. Points of Interest will be released this fall.

What made you take the leap from shooting weddings to shooting musicians?

JS: It came up pretty randomly. I think the first band was The Flips. People liked it and we had a lot of fun. Then we just did a flurry of them.

AL: I think it helped to build up our confidence, too. We had been doing the wedding and promotional videos, and the music videos really prompted us to start doing what we wanted to do from the beginning.

Where did the idea for Points of Interest come from?

JS: It came from the whole live music thing. Ryan Schleicher from Juniper Tar had wanted us to do a video for them; we did, and it was really well received. Sometime after that, we were hanging out at one of their practices and they mentioned that they were going on tour. Basically, we just invited ourselves along. It was said kind of flippantly; I don't think anyone thought it was a real idea at first.

AL: I think it kind of threw Ryan back a little bit.

JS: Everybody was a little uncomfortable at first. They didn't really know us. But after the first day of the tour, everybody kind of settled in.

AL: We just had to get drunk together. [Laughter]

There is a big difference between shooting a 15-minute set and following a band around for 10 days while on tour. How does that "all-access" aspect change your approach to the project?

JS: It was something we'd never done before. We just wanted to observe and catch moments. We didn't really plan much. We got a lot of moments that we couldn't have gotten just hanging out with them in Milwaukee. I think it was the idea of being on this experience with them that brought us quickly together.

AL: If we had been really good friends with them, I think it would have given (the film) a different perspective. I think part of the movie is about our learning process with them.

So, what's next for you?

JS: We're looking to get into more narrative-based projects, just to keep going on this path of being closer and closer to where we wanted to be in the first place. If we had come out of school making movies, it would have been a harder process. I look at the first year of High Frequency Media, the business era, as a cleansing, just to get all the bad ideas from film school and our own personal bad ideas out.

AL: It was humbling.

JS: For sure. I think we needed it to get to where we ultimately wanted to go.

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