Nick Zammuto spent over ten years as one half of the popular indie band The Books, before the group split up in 2012.
'No Needle, Just A Haystack' is a new short documentary that follows Nick and his family as he launches a new band and reflects on his unusual path to becoming a musician.
2016 / 40mins / HD
About The Film
realized that it was: 1. Quite an interesting story and 2. He lived pretty close to me (I had recently moved to Vermont on a bit of a whim). I saw the potential for an interesting story, and emailed Nick to see if he'd be interested. Nick was receptive to the idea of me following him around with a camera for a while and so I started what was initially a fairly open-ended project.
My original plan was to focus on the writing and production of Zammuto's new album (eventually titled Anchor), but shooting and editing ended up lasting well past the album's release and covered a large swath of Nick's career.
No Needle, Just A Haystack is made up of around a half-dozen extended interviews I did with Nick and his family, along with many days of shooting and several hours of Nick's home movies. While only 40 minutes longs, the film is culled from about 30 hours of footage.
've been a huge fan of Nick's work for many, many years (having first heard The Books in high school). I had never thought too much about the people behind The Books until after they disbanded and Nick began blogging about the history of the band, and I
The film was shot on a wide variety of cameras, including the Canon T3i / T4i runnning magic lantern, GoPros and other action cameras, several VHS camcorders, Mini DV cameras, iPhones, iPads and an electron microscope. It was edited in several different itirations of Premiere Pro.
No Needle also features VHS samples from both Nick's and my own collection of informercials, instructional videos and self-help tapes. The credits sequence was created through a painstaking process of repeatedly shooting the same clips over and over again with a VHS camcorder.
Eventually I purchased so many old tapes that I ended up having enough material for my next film, Remote Viewing Memories, an entirely found footage documentary.
The score is largely made up of tracks from Nick's score to a never-released feature documentary about the Biosphere II project (available in The Books career-spanning box set A Dot In Time), along with some other Books' tracks, a few original pieces by myself, and a track by Karl Hohn's ambient/new age project Passive Tones.
The film also features two tracks from a record of swiss alps music - something I happened to pick up from a box of free vinyls left outside a frame store during the production of the film. After listening to it, I realized that it was the exact record that Nick had used on one of the tracks on The Way Out and figured it was a sign that I should find a way to incorporate it into the film.
No Needle, Just a Haystack was released online in June 2016, and coincided with the release of the the Zammuto EP Veryone.