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for King and Country

for King + Country: We were obviously channelling our family story, and in the music we wanted to really be honest with how we interpreted the songs.


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31/05/24

‘Unsung Hero’ is the inspiring new family biopic that follows the origin story of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone of dynamic rock band for KING & COUNTRY. Following the release of the ‘The Inspired By Soundtrack’, which includes covers of timeless classics, the Grammy-Award winning duo gave us a glimpse into the creative process and what they learnt from the experience...


How does the soundtrack shapes the narrative of unsung hero? Are the tracks chronological, or is it generally reflecting the film's message and themes?

Joel: Probably more the latter, and general reflecting. The film is based in the early 90s, so we took some of the songs from that era and remade them. The soundtrack is more driven by the movie, and I think it’s better because of that.


Would you say you were wanting to incorporate the 90s nostalgia with your signature sound, and what instruments and arrangements did you use to create this combination?

Joel: We kind of took the lid off our own proclivities. We have a very clear trajectory and sonically, we’re very rhythmic based. Our vocals create a line through all of these songs that are switching in and out genres and collaborations - we were sort of carrying this narrative. We also interjected the for KING & COUNTRY flair whenever and wherever we could. It was fun to use the film as that launching pad.


David De Rossi, who is an incredible violinist based in Copenhagen, really came on to create a bit of a thread through the inspired by. If you’re a Coldplay fan, he does a lot of their work, like ‘Viva La Vida’.


The strength of family and faith is present in the film, displaying perseverance through financial struggle and adjusting to life in Nashville when you moved in 1996. You play you father, David Smallbone, and embodied his ambition to become a music promoter and build a life for your family in America. Did this help enhance the emotion of your performance and was this carried into the soundtrack?

Joel: Luke produced it, and through the lyrics he was able to develop the brainchild of this film. He led out in many ways on the soundtrack. I don’t know if I directly channeled Dad’s emotions into the songs, partly because you’re trying to channel your own story, your own heart, and then in movies you’re trying to channel someone else’s. We were obviously channelling our family story, and in the music we wanted to really be honest with how we interpreted the songs.


Luke: We did a deep dive into the songs and made them our own. Never did I understand the depth until I actually started singing them, and it was really captivating to drop these emotions into our family story.


How did your previous experience in writing film soundtracks, including the 2017 motion picture ‘priceless’, inspire you to work on this biopic?

Luke: We've always been a very visual group and have loved tying it to the music. It’s what we love doing with the live shows, what we’ve loved doing with music videos. It’s the way we’ve seen the music so it was really fascinating to flip the script and go, OK, now we’re going to start with visuals and then work.


Do you have any favourite memories or stories from making the film and recording the soundtrack?

Joel: Well, there's a lot of favourite memories - from the adventures of having all of our funding pulled and then three days later, having it all. So there was the rollercoaster of we’re not making a film to we’re making it, and having someone like Daisy Betts come to play our mother 10 days before.


Luke: There's so many happy accidents that happen in the creative process and in some cases even to your point, to remember them and reflect on them. When it comes to the the soundtrack, we covered a song called ‘Place In This World’ with Michael W. Smith, which is a fantastic song. He came into the studio and he was meant to come in and just sing his part for the song, and obviously he's a pretty world renowned piano player.


Working on the film and soundtrack must have been a very therapeutic experience - what did you learn from the process moving forward?

Joel: For the inspired by soundtrack, it will indicate our story as musicians going forward, because we've just been able to break it out in a different way of our own bubble, and there’s always discovery in that. And so who knows what it will be? Time will tell. We’re focused on championing these projects inspired by in the film and getting them out into the world and sort of seeing what kind of life they live.


https://open.spotify.com/album/3pldpOkIoJqYnkuOTWTipi

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