Wales

Manics' James Dean Bradfield writes The Chamber music

The action is set in a submarine off the coast of North Korea Image copyright Chamber Films
Image caption The action is set in a submarine off the coast of North Korea

Manic Street Preachers front man James Dean Bradfield has compared composing his first film soundtrack to touring with the band.

The Chamber was shot almost entirely in Wales and receives its premiere in Cardiff on Thursday night.

It is described as a "claustrophobic" thriller set on a stranded submarine off the North Korean coast.

Bradfield worked with director Ben Parker to compose the soundtrack.

He likened the experience to working with his Manics band-mates.

"I'd been given a few offers before, and they didn't feel quite right. And then Ben made contact, and just reading the script made me feel like doing it.

"Ben, as director, has quite a commanding presence, and I like that.

"I've been in a band with Nicky, Sean and Richey for all of my adult life and they are very specific, and I like it when people have strong ideas.

"So I just thought I'd better stop chickening out on these offers, I've got to do it sooner or later. And I'm just really glad that I did."

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Media captionWriter/director Ben Parker and composer James Dean Bradfield talk about the film

The film follows the crew of a research submarine and a team of special forces who commandeer the vessel to search for an object on the sea floor that is in danger of falling into enemy hands.

Production mainly happened at Ffilm Factory 35 at the Sony Technology centre in Pencoed.

The Chamber is Parker's directorial debut, and he said securing the right soundtrack would be crucial to its success.

"It can make or break a film, it's incredibly important," he said.

"There are some films where music can take a back seat, but the sound design of this film and the music adds to the atmosphere, and to the mood.

"It was another character in that space - there were four main characters, and then the music."

He added recent missile tests by North Korea made the subject particularly relevant.

"Over the time we've been making and releasing the film, it's quite unnerving that things in that part of the world have been kicking up. The film is almost prescient in its depiction of what's going on in North Korea."

Produced at the Manics's Faster Studios in Cardiff before they closed last year, Bradfield created the soundtrack with long-time collaborators and producers Dave Eringa and Loz Williams.

Image copyright Chamber Films
Image caption The Chamber was filmed entirely in south Wales - including in a giant water tank built in Pencoed

Bradfield drew inspiration from composers Mica Levi and Penderecki for a score that attempts to draws on the film's claustrophobic setting.

He said: "I completely loved the experience, and loved the challenge as well. I'm not trying to be disingenuous, but it's scary having a new boss.

"Because being in the band, you always feel you've got a boss - whether that's the audience, your band mates, or your own pride, but you feel like there's a boss. And I like that, when somebody says 'no, I want something else', or 'I love that' or 'I want this' or 'I want that'. I love that experience.

"Of course I'd love to do it again. I've got to go full throttle back with the Manics soon, but hopefully I will be back in the film world sooner or later."

  • The Chamber will get a Welsh charity premiere at Cineworld in Cardiff on Thursday before being released across the UK
  • Special Q&A showings include Chapter in Cardiff on 10 March and Aberystwyth Arts Centre on 18 March.

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