"Somnambulists is a six part film series that follows the actions of MAID and RETRO on their recent Italian adventure. The series takes a fresh approach to filming, editing and track selection which results in high-end filming, drone footage, slow cuts, and bleeding edge bass music taking you on a journey so intimate you’ll feel like you’re sitting on the tracks eating spaghetti bolognese."
With the 3rd edition of Somnambulists, 'Greetings from Genoa ' fresh on our screens, we catch up with the infamous Aussie duo, MAID and RETRO to talk through the Somnambulists series, and their shared 'sleepwalker' experiences across Italy.
CC: Tell us about how did the Somnambulists concept come about?
RETRO: I guess always watching graffiti movies with gangsta rap on real fast pace never really gave me the feeling that I was there, as I've experienced it first hand. So I tried looking for songs and found it was the slow pace video editing that made me feel like I was there in the moment.
MAID: Retro was the ideas man behind it all. I think he did an awesome job giving it the right feel. Spots can be very stressful, but painting is a very quiet activity. We returned from the US and were a bit sad we couldn't create something to share of our travels and painting so next trip we locked in Tom Rolfe to come and shoot it all.
CC: You’ve gone into the definition of the word in the video descriptions (Noun: A condition that is characterised by walking while asleep or in a hypnotic trance.) Is this how painting feels to you?
RETRO: Feeling calm in these experiences is important most of the time....
MAID: Mostly, yeah. Painting can be another world. I feel completely free to roam around and do what I feel. It’s a nice peaceful trance.
CC: What was your favourite model and why?
RETRO: for me, Rome... we met with great people. We painted a model in a spot that I've tried several times over the years, so to get that done felt really good!
MAID: The Northern line - model and colour!
CC: What was your favourite destination and why?
RETRO: Napoli for the Pizza and metro.
MAID: It’s a hard one. I loved travelling through all the cities and seeing all different ways of life and architecture. Although, Napoli did have beach of cats and Mt. Vesuvius!!
CC: How did it compare to painting at home?
RETRO: At home I’m chill.. I work plenty to feed my addiction of travelling and painted a few times every year. I still love painting here, but there seems to always be problems and too many politics that come with it...
MAID: Yes, I agree. I wish we painted more at home, but at the moment we are just focusing on working at home.
CC: Do you always paint as a pair?
RETRO: Umm yeah. For the last couple of years it has been a consistent doing. It works well because we are both pretty relaxed in these moments. We are both motivated to travel and consistently try paint while away.
MAID: Mostly. Even if one of us has planned to paint, the other will come for the drive but then most likely do something too.
CC: If we were to trawl through your travel bags, what would we find?
RETRO: SD cards, cameras, a few t-shirts and shorts.
MAID: Lots of random shit. Good jeans, sneakers and goretex. Drawing supplies, a crystal, shells, a good book and oils.
CC: Can you tell us something that happened along that way that we won’t see in the clips?
RETRO: A whole lot of driving was done over that 3 weeks... not a whole lot of relaxing though.
MAID: Some close calls and weird conversations with police. Then there was all the rad people who made me coffee, and Tom’s Rolfe sleep deprivation.
CC: What were the major highlights?
RETRO: Pizza, gelato and overall just doing galves.
MAID: A line, B line, Margaritas in Napoli.
CC: What’s next for MAID and RETRO?
RETRO: Well the plan is hopefully to do another trip by the end of the year, but it's hard to leave an Australian summer for an international winter....
MAID: More travel and more painting. And hopefully release some artwork pieces together!