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The Florida Bjorkestra creates a mini-Buffyfest, virtually

Bill DeYoung



We’ll see it through

It’s what we’re always here to do

So, we will walk through the fire…

Florida Bjorkestra team leader Jeremy Douglass has a new talent to add to his resume: Video editor.

He has re-assembled the massive musical group virtually, creating a fully-produced song combining 26 individual video (and audio) feeds. “I learned like three new skills in the process of doing this,” Douglass says. “It was like climbing a mountain.”

The song, “Walk Through the Fire,” originated with a well-loved episode of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Florida Bjorkestra would have performed it at Buffyfest, their scheduled concert event this month at the Palladium Theater.

Of course, everybody stayed home instead, including Buffy, and so Douglass – a recent guest on The Catalyst Sessions – put his fertile mind to work.

“Organizing the flow of data from 25 people to me was a challenge,” he confesses. “My internet went out in the studio halfway through the project. A mouse ate through my 100 foot ethernet cable that runs under the house. I had to order a new cable and then bribe my 10 year old son with an early birthday present to crawl under the house and help run the new cable.”

Amazingly, none of the musicians or singers played or sang with anyone else. Each sequence was recorded individually. The vocalists, Douglass says, know their parts well enough – including the lush harmonies – that they did not need to hear one another.

As for the musicians, “everyone recorded to a click track and a sequence of the song I had recorded where I played all the parts using samples and drum loops,” he explains.

“For string players, they got a version of the song without the strings parts I had played. The drummer got a version without the drums but with all the other instruments. Then bit by bit I began replacing my sequenced parts with their recorded instruments.”

Then, through the magic of software, and the enduring power of patience, Douglass was able to bring a bit of Buffyfest to St. Pete, despite social distancing and all that it entails.

“It’s not as complex as it sounds, but it is tedious,” he says. “The end result is pretty magical, though.”

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