‘Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow’ dir. Jonny Madderson & Jono Stevens

There is poetry in the act of breathing life into someone else’s scrap, even if it is only for one last heroic dance. Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow is an ode to the creativity of banger racing.

Directors: Jonny Madderson & Jono Stevens
Senior Executive Producer: Rankin
Editor: Jonny Madderson & Jules Fletcher

C8: Where did the idea for ‘Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow’ come from and where did you first learn about banger racing?

JM: Jono had been as a kid and was reminded about it last year by a friend. It was something we knew nothing about and had barely ever registered. When we started looking into it, it was like the surprise of lifting a rock to find life unexpectedly teeming underneath.

C8: How long did you spend researching this film?

JM: Not long. As soon as the Random Acts opportunity came up we knew we wanted to do it about banger racing. We went to our first banger meeting a week after we got the commission and from that moment we were right in the thick of it.

C8: How did you source the music for the film?

JM: The first track was composed by Loren Sutherland who’ve we’ve worked with on a number of projects before this. The second track was Debussy.

C8: You’ve directed several shorts together. Do you have any tips for co-directing? How do you divide the workload? 

JM: We were friends before we made films together and that definitely helps - we totally trust each other and can be fairly brutal about what we think. That’s actually one of the best reasons to work in a duo, as being challenged you’re more likely to filter out some of your weaker ideas. And of course, it’s more fun than work to make films with one of your best mates.

C8: From start to finish what was the most difficult aspect of the production?

JM: There were lots of different stories that we could tell but they were all fairly traditional. Random Acts was an opportunity to do something we don’t normally do so we were often pulling against natural storytelling instincts. Greirson defined documentary making as ‘a creative treatment of actuality’ and this was an opportunity to push that a little. For this reason it was one of the projects that we’ve learned the most from.

C8: You are both behind the series ‘Black Cab Sessions’. Can you tell us more about the project and how it came about?

JM: We started Black Cab Sessions out of a desire to see music differently to the glossy, produced way it was being presented. A black cab provided us with a mobile studio but stripping it right back and filming in one take is where the intimacy comes from. The audience is seeing it exactly as we were seeing it so you feel right there in the cab with them, as we roll through London, New York or New Orleans. The desire to meet and film Tom Waits was also wrapped up in there somewhere…

C8: How do you come across the people and projects that you document in your films?

JM: Personal interests, things that surprise us or inspire us and sometimes just things we don’t understand and are curious about.

C8: What makes for a good documentary short?

JM: Who are we to say? But like any piece of content, short or long, the viewer should feel like it’s time well spent.

C8: What advice would you give to emerging filmmakers looking to make their first documentary short?

JM: You can faff about endlessly researching and planning from your laptop. But if you have the nugget of an idea then nothing beats going and meeting people and seeing the places. We’ve often been guilty of faffing about so it’s advice we would do well to stand by.

C8: What is the essence of a good collaboration?

JM: To understand that we both have the same end goal, to make the best film possible. Everything comes second to that. And like any good marriage, it also helps if you bring different strengths to the table, or at least different weaknesses.

C8: What is next for Jonny Madderson & Jono Stevens? Any exciting projects lined up?

JM: Yes, we are going to be quite prolific over the next few months both with some mini series and longer one off pieces.