Damien Shields has done it once again. Working tirelessly for months, he has come up with an audio documentary that takes listeners through the recording process of the monumental, groundbreaking album we all know as 'Thriller'. Damien takes us on a fanciful ride through the conception, right through to completion.
Taking listeners inside the recording studio with Michael Jackson and his production team, The Genesis of Thriller tells the story behind the creation of the biggest selling album in music history. Using rarely heard Jackson demo tracks, work tapes and outtakes, combined with archival interviews of those who worked on the album, the documentary is a captivating exploration of what inspired them to create Thriller, and the process they went through to bring their extraordinary vision to life.
Today, we spoke to Damien to get an insight into this documentary release. Below, you can read an exclusive interview between him and us.
Damien Shields (We wish we had his hair!)
How long has this taken you? From conception, to release.
I initially had the idea for this project many years ago, but never had the time or means to bring it to fruition. When the pandemic hit, I was no longer able to work. Knowing that I'd be stuck at home, self-isolating indefinitely, I decided that it was now or never. I started working on the project in mid-April 2020, and I've been working day and night on it since. Finally, just over three months later, it's done!
Have you always wanted to do this as an audio documentary, or were there ever plans for it to be visual?
There was never a plan for the documentary to have a visual component. The concept of the documentary was to showcase Michael's creative process by taking listeners inside the studio with him, and allowing them to hear the album come to life. From the genesis of the songs, through their evolution, to the track list selection process, and ultimately the release. The focus is on the creation of the songs, rather than what was done with the songs after their release. We've all seen the incredible fruits of Michael's labour in that regard, through his groundbreaking short films and performances. But what often gets overlooked is the process of creating the songs on which those short films and performances are based. I wanted to demonstrate that for listeners while allowing the story of those sessions to unfold before their ears.
Michael himself has referred to Thriller as his "zenith point" as an artist. And with such a wealth of source material available, from demos to work tapes to interviews and outtakes, it was the perfect album for a project like this.
Often, when a piece such as this is created - the creator considers it a labour of love. Now this is released, how do you feel?
The process has been a complete labour of love. This is my little gift to Michael. I'm really proud of the documentary, and if others enjoy it, that's great too.
A big reason for doing this project was to inject positivity into the community and shift the conversation around Michael back to the reason the world fell in love with him in the first place. His music.
Thanks Damien for the exclusive insight! We look forward to more projects from yourself!