Filmmaker and musician Coleman Guyon’s idyllic, kraut-tinged visions of Kentucky

13.01.12 Words by: Charlie Jones

I came across Coleman Guyon last year, via that great site Altered Zones. He had made a video for Jovontaes’ Killer Pilz. They make this incredible psyche music that’s delicate, heady and hypnotic, and Coleman’s video shows them skateboarding through their Kentucky hometown. It’s one of the all-time great sounds, and a scene you don’t often hear about, shot with that romantic, stoned 4pm of the mind grace that never gets tired, so I got in touch straight away.

Coleman, I found out, had directed a load of videos, especially on local artists and other Kentucky bands. The guy started sending me some more videos, some of his own project, Trailblazer. It’s heady, driven, sardonic punk music, packed with that mix of grace, pride, imagination and wit, of the sort that this magazine lives for, so I dropped him a note to find out more about this thing that is happening.

What’s the story with Trailblazer? Is it a one-man project?

Trailblazer got started really because Mark Murray from Jovontaes taught me about synths, drum machines, and MIDI and I realized I could do everything on my own. I played drums in a couple of bands and had never really tried going on the melodic side of a band so this was a perfect way to try it without being embarrassed by having to learn how to play in a band.

Can you tell me a bit about you, your background, what you trained in and where, how old you are, where you’re based?

I’m from Lexington, Kentucky. I dropped out of school in the 7th grade and ended up working with an engineer in the woods building robots for most of my highschool career and got my GED. My father taught me about cameras. I also trained as a jazz drummer up until a few years ago. I skipped college and just recently moved to Brooklyn and started working as a camera assistant. I’m 20.

How would you describe the music?

I’m terrible at describing my music. I’m obviously heavily influenced by kraut rock. At this point I’m just trying to make something that sounds at least almost as good as Kraftwerk. We’ll see if that happens. And Jazz though that doesn’t come across in the music. My dad is an amazing jazz pianist and was always listening to the pinacle of the genre.

You’re based in Kentucky, correct? What can you tell me about life there, and music?

I’m not based out of Kentucky anymore but I still work with a lot of people there. There is an unusual amount of odd and talented people there. I learned everything I know from these characters. The music scene is very tight knit and everyone is constantly collaborating with each other such as The Resonant Hole (http://www.resonanthole.com/) There are some really amazing bands like Idiot Glee, Auto Delta Time, Three Legged Race, Cross, Jovontaes, K.Y. Wildcats, Street Gnar (now based in Brooklyn too) and everyone is extremely supportive of each others projects.

A lot of the videos look really idyllic, is it as nice as it looks in the south?

Kentucky in particular is quite idyllic and I think the surrounding definitely adds to the aesthetic of the artists and musicians that live there. Also it’s extremely cheap to live there so it’s possible to be a full time artist and really gives you time to focus in on what you’re doing.

Can you tell me a bit about your filmmaking and how this plays a part in the project?

The filmmaking aspect plays a HUGE role in Trailblazer and every other project I’m involved in. I find that it makes people pay much more attention to what you’re doing. Releasing a music video is far more effective than putting up a Band Camp album and hoping someone notices. I feel like you can reach a wider audience and receive far more input in having a visual aspect to a song.


Shot and Edited by Case Mahan of Street Gnar, with additional footage by Coleman Guyon

Trailblazer’s Bandcamp

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