Phil Beaumont (Maquiladora) started Little White Teeth with his wife Yuko Sugiyama, Dmitri Dziensuwski (Pinback, Black Heart Procession), and (sometimes) Matt Resovich (Black Heart Procession), recording their debut album with Pall Jenkins.
April 2009 was a busy month for slowcore act. Apart from recording 13 songs in a blistering four-day session with Pall Jenkins at his SDRL studios and a trip to Japan (where drummer Yuko Sugiyama is from), the band managed to record the score for a documentary on the challenges of living in Tijuana, Tijuaneado Anonimos: A Teardrop, A Smile, by members of visual-arts collective Galatea Productions.
The documentary’s producer, José Luis Figueroa, approached Beaumont, bassist-vocalist for Little White Teeth.
“At first, I didn’t think we could do it, time-wise. We had two weeks to record it,” Beaumont says. “But, I really like doing scores for movies. I like having the content to write about and having the mood to set it to. It gives you a nice target.”
So, despite the time crunch, the band told Figueroa they’d give it a try. Before recording, Beaumont, Sugiyama, and guitarist Dmitri Dziensuwski watched the documentary in their studio and talked about the moods and shared ideas about what the score should sound like.
“I speak some Spanish, but I’m not fluent, so I relied on the imagery and mood more than anything,” says Beaumont.
After watching the documentary, the band improvised for “about 20 minutes,” recording all of the tracks as they played. A few days later, they shared the impromptu tunes with Figueroa and his colleagues.
“They took to it quickly,” says Beaumont, “so all we had to do was go back and clean things up, and we were done.”
The documentary was selected for the Morelia International Film Festival in Michoacán, Mexico, in October 2009. Shortly after the film’s release, Beaumont, drummer Yuko Sugiyama, violinist Matt Resovich, and guitarist Dmitri Dziensuwski played at the 2009 Morelia Film Festival in Michoacán, Mexico, and in 2010 they played the live score during a screening at the Ambulante Film Festival in Tijuana.
The self titled Little White Teeth debut album was released in June 2010, featuring guest violin by Matt Resovich (the Album Leaf, Black Heart Procession), who subsequently toured with the band.
In January 2011, the band wrote three songs for the soundtrack of Galatea’s newest documentary, Tierra Brillante (Brilliant Soil), a film chronicling the dangers of lead poisoning in traditional Mexican pottery and one woman’s attempt at changing the tradition.
“[Beaumont’s] music evokes those feelings that we are looking for,” says Diaz, the film’s codirector and a member of visual arts collective Galatea Productions. “We like how [the band] is able to capture the emotions of the characters and transform it to music.”
They performed their film soundtrack for Tijuaneado Anonimos: A Teardrop, A Smile on March 20, 2011, during the San Diego Latino Film Festival at Hazard Center in Mission Valley.