The visual voice of an entire generation, after providing award-winning videos for the Rolling Stones, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana and more, director Kevin Kerslake has now taken on the challenge of immortalizing the insanely talented yet troubled DJ AM in a new documentary titled As I AM: The Life & Times of Adam Goldstein, featured at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
An industry innovator, for a time Goldstein was the go-to DJ in the game, requested at the most exclusive of venues and events. He was the first DJ that commanded million dollar contracts, helping his rise into a celebrity status of his own as he jetted around the globe.
But there would be problems as well.
After he and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker nearly died in a 2008 plane crash, he became addicted to prescription pain medication. After publicly fighting his demons he died of a drug overdose in 2009 at just 36-years-old. In a recent sit down with Rolling Stone, Kerslake revealed information he’d learned about the late DJ that he made sure to include:
The DJ culture didn’t really exist when he first got into it in the way that it did when he left it. He dragged that culture into places, not just bottle service and posh clubs, out of skill s that were born of battle culture and broader genres. He fused all that in a way that was very personal and unique. I’m still awed by his tenacity and persistence in terms of blowing through whatever resistance there was to achieve success, as well as overcoming so much adversity in his life.
He also explained how music videos actually prepared him for this project:
Music videos are fairly kinetic pieces of film and because that’s how AM’s brain worked and that’s the style of his DJing; there was a pretty solid marriage between some of those stylistic instincts on my part and his story. When you’re making videos, you get to appreciate music on a microscopic level in terms of breaking down different parts and seeing the genius of certain compositions, appreciating the mistakes. Wanting to express that musicality in the film was very important to me, so we spent a lot of time trying to craft how his passion was conveyed to people that didn’t necessarily feel that themselves, but were maybe able to because of the film.
The full interview is available here.