The 2023 edition of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival opens Friday night with some A-list firepower. Ewan McGregor and Alicia Vikander will be in the Czech spa town to collect special honors, while Russell Crowe is attending for a career retrospective and to receive the Crystal Globe lifetime achievement award. Crowe will also be performing on the opening night along with his band The Gentlemen Barbers.
But there’ll also be another musical act set to play on June 30 at the opening concert, one that’s perhaps a little more established than the Gladiator star (no disrespect, Russell).
English band Morcheeba have been fine-tuning their downtempo, electronic vibes since forming in the mid-1990s, moving from trip hop origins into more pop-based, hip-hop-infused soul waters, most notably with the 1998 breakout album Big Calm and 2000’s follow-up, Fragments of Freedom. More than two decades on and the band — now made up of two of the three founding members in Ross Godfrey and Skye Edwards — released its 10th studio album, Blackest Blue, in 2021. As part of a major European tour, Morcheeba will next hit the stage in Karlovy Vary on June 30 in what Edwards believes is first film estival appearance.
In an email interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the singer discusses the band’s various cinematic connections and potentially linking up with collaborating with Crowe (and his deep gravelly voice).
Have you ever performed at a film festival opening before or is this a first?
I can’t recall if we have performed at a film festival before. I’ve been to a few film premiers though. My favourite was many years ago, taking my children to see Spy Kids starring Antonio Banderas. The after show was at a famous toy shop in central London called Hamley’s. My kids got to meet the young actors and played on video games for free. They had the time of their lives!
Did you ever imagine you’d be playing on the same night as Russell Crowe and his band?
No, not in a million years! I’m looking forward to hopefully meeting Russell and watching his set. He has a deep gravelly voice. Maybe he and I could do a collaboration. I think our very different voices would sound great together, like Serge Gainsborough and Jane Birkin.
There’s a definite cinematic quality to your music. How much has film influenced your creativity over the years?
When we were recording Who Can You Trust, I remember Ross and Paul taking me to see a movie called Performance, starring Mick Jagger. The Godfrey brothers were very influenced by this film and even painted a wall in their North London flat bright red like in the movie.
I know several of your tracks have been used in films and TV shows, but have you ever dabbled in writing soundtracks yourself or is that something you’d be interested in?
Very much so, I would love to get into writing for films. When Ross lived in Los Angeles, he made music for a movie called The Girlfriend Experience directed by Steven Soderbergh. I’ve also sang on a few movie soundtracks — The Secret of Moonacre by director Gábor Csupó and more recently a movie called Bliss directed by Mike Cahill. The song ‘You and I’ was originally for the end credits. Mike loved it so much, he rewrote a scene so the song could be in the movie.
Have you started working on album number 11 yet?
We have indeed! We’ve written and recorded about 10 tracks so far (early demos) and want to write a few more. Ross and I spent some time writing in Ireland with a music producer called Alex O’Keefe. My husband and I also wrote a new track with Simple Minds drummer, Cherise Osei. It’s very exciting working on the next record, it’s moving forward quicker than we expected. But we’re very relaxed about it, we don’t have a release date in mind.