Since completing the smash hit film William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Baz Luhrmann and his team of creative collaborators have settled in Sydney, Australia where they are working on the development of Baz's next film, from their home: the House of Iona.

The album "Something for Everybody" was a project to bridge the completion of Romeo and Juliet and the commencement of work on a new film. Baz worked with Bazmark music producer Anton Monsted under the alias BLAM; together they produced and remixed the music on this album with cutting-edge and established Australian musicians, technicians and performers.

A large reason for doing the project was to become reacquainted with the local scene and work with some of the burgeoning young talent in the Australian music industry. At the same time, it was a chance for the Bazmark team (which also includes Oscar nominated production designer Catherine Martin, and Romeo and Juliet co-producer Martin Brown) to flex their muscles on a project of scale that could be completed in a fraction of the time it takes to make a feature film. The team wanted to create a musical work which marked the journey of the past decade, before embarking on further travels.

Baz Luhrmann and the team are currently working on several new Bazmark productions, including their forthcoming 20th Century Fox film which they are currently researching in Paris. Bazmark recently produced the Collette Dinnigan fashion show which was directed by Bazmark production designer Catherine Martin.

 

 

Click here to listen to a medley of songs from "Something For Everybody"
or click on a song title to hear that song...
Click
here to listen to the full length version of
"Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen) Mix"

"Something for Everybody is the eclectic, joyous, wonderful soundtrack to summer which Baz Luhrmann and his team have produced. Here Baz Luhrmann talks about the tracks on his album:



When we were making Romeo and Juliet, Anton Monsted (head of Bazmark Music) and I were scripting the soundtrack and we needed to identify a joyous anthem that could be associated with the electric character of Mercutio. This discussion took place while tearing up Santa Monica Boulevard in a convertible on a very warm night in Los Angeles, and at that very moment the original Candi Staton version of Young Hearts Run Free came on to the radio: it seemed a perfect moment of synchronicity. Young Hearts Run Free was Mercutio's war cry. something for Everybody, the album had been imagined as a kind of sonic vaudeville so we have reinterpreted this Young Hearts Run Free mix as a disco overture introducing us to some of the acts and performers who are to join us later in the evening.

During post production, while working with editor Jill Bilcock, we still had not been able to find the appropriate Juliet theme for the first half of the film. The sound we were searching for needed to be innocent yet witty and I remember hearing such a sound in a song that was on high rotation on our housekeeper's radio in Mexico City. After humming the tune to many a music supervisor, it was eventually identified as "Carnival" by an unknown band called The Cardigans. Peter Svensson, the main writer in the band, was very keen to collaborate on the Juliet theme and after a couple of early suggestions we finally established Lovefool as the perfect choice.

All those years when I was working on Strictly Ballroom, "lounge music" had not really taken off. People felt a little nervous about acknowledging that the highly produced cocktail lounge sound, although cheesy, was extremely enjoyable to listen to and made you feel cool. We often make use in our work of something we like to term "cheese cool" and no-one is a bigger diva of this style than Doris Day.


Anton Monsted, Josh Abrahams and I were working on a remix of Everybody's Free when Ant showed me something he had received from a friend by e-mail; apparently Kurt Vonnegut's graduation speech to students at MIT. On reading it, Vonnegut's simple observations and ideas seemed to provide a profoundly useful guide for getting through life, and we instantly decided to record it. The problem was we only had a day or two to go on the deadline and contacting Vonnegut's agent in time was impossible. The idea seemed unlikely. It was two o'clock in the morning, and this somewhat depressed us, so Anton plugged his computer into the wall and surfed the net to find more information on contacting Vonnegut.

What he found was to surprise us all: newspaper articles on what had become the "Sunscreen Controversy" and what was to prove an amazing moment in the early life of the internet. Anton was immediately printing out news of how the work of a brilliant columnist for the Chicago Tribune had been lifted from her column, and a student as a hoax had connected Vonnegut's name and chain e-mailed it to students all over the world. The words struck a chord with those who read them, and so Vonnegut's "sunscreen speech" was born. It was now four o'clock in the morning and we sat stunned as we read pieces of information.
 

It seemed to us, whether Vonnegut wrote it or not, the ideas in the piece make such great sense. Back onto the internet again, and we were e-mailing Mary Schmich, the young journalist who wrote it for the Chicago Tribune. Fortunately, Mary had quite a connection to both Strictly Ballroom and Romeo + Juliet, so a day later we were in Sydney recording with a local actor the spoken element of what is now "Everybody's Free (to Wear Sunscreen)." What I think is extraordinary, apart from the inherent values in the ideas, is that we were experiencing ourselves a historical moment in the life of the internet, an example of how massive publishing power is in the hands of anyone with access to a PC.

Watch the new video for "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)"!


Given that we have made so much opera we all thought it was important to have just a taste from one of our productions on this album. Everyone thinks opera is hard to listen to because it is just one long piece of music, but actually it is a lot of songs (or arias) joined up by dialogue that is sung. This is one song from "La Boheme."

One of the most important things in the way that we work is that we like to develop music as a script, so if you read the early drafts of Romeo and Juliet you will see that it says "a gospel choir is singing in the church. A young boy with a voice like Jamiroquai steps forward" and we recognize that the hymn is actually "When Doves Cry"

Quindon Tarver was brought to our attention by a representative at Virgin who had just signed this remarkable young singer in Texas. The Miami Sound Machine treatment is something that the brilliant Nellee Hooper and Marius DeVries really created with a little bit of coaching from me when we were working on the second album in London at the beginning of the year


Love is in the Air has the most personal memories for me of all the songs on "Something for Everybody." During the early development of Strictly Ballroom I worked with someone who has been a lasting influence on my thinking ever since. Ted Albert was one half of the producing team of M&A. His company Albert Music and Albert Records was responsible for extraordinary growth in the Australian pop music scene in the 60's and 70's signing and developing bands like the Easybeats, Vander and Young, AC/DC and of course John Paul Young. Josh Abrahams, Anton Monsted and I wanted to make an extremely strong interpretation of the song that released it from everybody's perception of what it is. We conceived it as almost a sequel to the film, a sort of melancholic Richard Cladeyman-like ballad. It was Josh who put us onto the idea of
re-using those cold 80's string sounds that one associates with David Silvian and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.


Houseboats of Kashmir Mix is more than just a remix of the original NUTBOD; it is almost another song, and in a way I think it captures a lot of the feel and colour of our Hindu version of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream that won the Critics Prize in Edinburgh in 1994. When we designed and developed this production in Rajistan, the poetic magic of Hindu mythology made a lasting impression on us.

The original version of Happy Feet was something that my stepfather and mother danced to a lot, so it was naturally going to end up in both the film and the play of Strictly Ballroom. Anton Monsted and Paul Mac cooked up this very dancey version. Recently at my birthday party, I have to admit to sighing with relief, for the moment this dance version of Happy Feet was played the ice was broken and people took to the floor in droves.

Another one of those fortuitous music moments was when a song called "Angel" was sent to me by my music supervisor at Fox in LA at the moment we were cutting footage of Claire dressed as an angel together in a small house in East Burnswich in Melbourne.

The story of this song relates again back to Ted Albert as he introduced me to it. From the first day I heard it, it had Doug Hastings' name written all over it.

In 1988 one of the first projects I was in charge of was the creation of a limited-life professional theatre company under the umbrella of the Sydney Theatre Company. The first show we did was called "Haircut," and was an exploration of 80's materialism, a musical set in a hairdressing salon, the look of which was based on the musical "Hair." The salon was called "Haircut." On the opening night of the salon, a group of 80's club-going sophisticates drop a mind-altering substance and find themselves actually in the musical Hair dressed like a lot of 60's hippies. This version of Let the Sun Shine In/Aquarius is newly created, but based on the kind of treatment that we attempted in the show.
Time after Time has been a part of the Strictly Ballroom story since it first hit the airwaves in 1983. I know this because I was staging the original 20 minute student production at NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) and while shopping for my student rations a brand new video by Cyndi Lauper was playing on a wall of televisions displayed in the electronics area. The "tick tick tick" of the clock in the song immediately resolved in my mind the staging problem of showing how the dancing relationship of Scott and Fran advanced very quickly. The funny re-occurring soundtrack in my life. That lyric "if you fall I will catch you, I will be waiting, time after time" always fills me with a sense of "just keep going."

We were investigating ways of bringing a new audience to opera, so we created an opera workshop of a production we called Lake Lost. It was the story of an emotionally disconnected property mogul, and how after being kidnapped by a group of crazy old bohemians he is convinced not to demolish the beautiful lake area that they inhabit. We all truly loved doing this show; I remember we built a lake of water in a film studio, had sports cars driving around in the water, and had to create special foot condoms for the opera singers so that they did not catch a cold as they acted all the scenes in the water.

Now Until the Break of Day is a piece of Shakespeare written 400 years ago, interpreted into a modern opera by Benjamin Britten in 1968. It is sung by pop diva Christine Anu, opera singer David Hobson, dance floor techno vocalist Royce Doherty, backed up by the gospel choir "Cafe at the Gates of Salvation," and orchestrated by Irish folk composer Felix Meagher with brass arrangements and children's choir. It was produced by BLAM and techno guru Paul Mac.

During the Federal election campaign for Labor in 1993 I was approached by Prime minister Paul Keating's then adviser to help clarify and communicate his point of view to the electorate. All of us were very impressed with the strength of Keating's ideas and his leadership, and above all the belief that our National self confidence would only be released when we as a nation decided who should be our own Head of State to represent our nation to the world. Because we felt so strongly about this, we contributed our services to the campaign. When we were developing the launch and meeting with the Prime Minister in Canberra, I asked him which piece of music he felt best represented that feeling of self confidence and the belief in our own ideas and imagination. Jupiter is Holst's orchestral interpretation of the hymn "Jerusalem," and is the fourth suite in his work, "The Planets."