Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Victor Reyes

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 16/08/2018 - 23:40

Few composers are as adept at opening a world within an impossibly confined space as Victor Reyes. Whether unleashing epic suspense for a man imprisoned by a coffin in his breakthrough score for “Buried,” or creating a concert piece that a musician must finish under pain of death for “Grand Piano,” Reyes has shown a classically inspired voice that’s taken him from a prolific career in Spain to impressing Hollywood with an impressively melodic, often chilling voice – a talent that netted him an Emmy for his exotic, pulse-pounding score for the limited series adaption of John LeCarré “The Night Manager.”

Both Reyes and filmmaker Rodrigo Cortes certainly have taste for the cold and creepy, moving upwards from “Buried” to the faith-healing thriller “Red Lights.” Now they unlock the spirits of a seemingly isolated girl’s academy where evil lies “Down a Dark Hall.” Academies have certainly proven fertile ground for terror with the likes of “Suspiria” and “Satan’s School for Girls.” Yet the tormented, intellectual spin that’s at the end of this “Hallway” is certainly a unique trip for the genre. Dropped off at The Blackwood Boarding School in the middle of nowhere by her unsuspecting parents, the rebellious “Kit” (AnnaSophia Robb) and just a few, fellow misfit teens are told by the highly suspect Madame Duret (Uma Thurman) that she’ll help them develop their “gifts” together. However, the X-mansion this is not, as it’s steadily revealed that the newfound, artistic talents flowing through their fingers come from a quite disturbing source.

Reyes is certainly possessed by Bernard Herrmann as he visits this old dark mansion, with impossibly eerie and lush orchestrations echoing through its passageways and hidden chambers. But while his score resounds with an old school spirit, Reyes is also sure to reflect his very contemporary heroines with folksy guitar and alt. rock attitude. making for a musical combination appealing to both mature and YA audiences. Amidst the inescapably lurching rhythms, eerily poignant melodies and youthfully defiant vibes, “Down a Dark Hall” is most musically impressive as Reyes crafts another concert piece. At first thematically evolving from lyrical piano, more sinisterly determined strings, a ghostly chorus and finally an epic symphonic climax make for a memorable danse macabre, Reyes once again brilliantly breaks through the wall between the realm of classical music and score, but to an effectively unholy point here. His score is the architecture of Cortes’ film, giving its target young audience a lesson they won’t forget in the existence of the ghosts of supernatural scoring who are more contemporarily alive than ever.

Tell us about your musical upbringing and how it led you to scoring. Did you have a particular love of the piano?

Well, I have studied the piano career since I was a child, so it can be said that most of the relationship I have with music I have had through this instrument.

You were quite prolific in Spain. What was the earlier part of your career like, and why do you think your country richer more than ever with composing talent?

Spain is, in itself, a country full of talent and passion for life and the arts. I started to develop my musical career as a studio musician in the pop groups of the 80s, in a very important cultural and political environment that influenced a lot of the artists of my generation.

How did you first meet Rodrigo, and what impressed him about your work?

Rodrigo called me for his first film, “The Contestant,” and since then I have written the soundtracks of all his films. He is a particularly attractive man to work with, since we share a lot in terms of musical and cinematographic tastes.

What were the challenges of scoring a one set claustrophobic setting with Rodrigo’s “Buried,” and how important do you think it was for the music to open the film up as it were?

“Buried” is probably one of the most difficult films to interpret for a composer, since we are in a unique and very reduced stage, as it is a coffin. The option we managed was to “represent” everything that happened “outside” the physical scope of the film – that is, outside the coffin, so that the audience had more emotional information about what is happening.

You got to score for Rodrigo on a bigger scale for “Red Lights.” What was the challenge of a film where the mystery was if there was a “real” supernatural element at play?

In “Red Lights” we tried to contain the music in the scenes in which “supernatural” things happened so as not to create an atmosphere of “reality” in them. This aspect of “reality” emerges much better when it refers to the “true story” that underlies the story, that is, by paying attention, it is possible to identify a trickster. That’s what the movie is about.

A score that really set the tone for “Down a Dark Corridor” would be “Grand Piano,” which again had a unique sort of confinement – that of a pianist not being able to stop playing under an assassin’s threat. Tell about writing an original piece that also had to function as the soundtrack?

It is quite complicated, because as in “Grand Piano”, some scenes of “Down A Dark Hall” have diegetic music, that is, that is playing in the middle of the action, as are the pieces that Kit plays on the piano. The process of composing music “before” the production is very similar to that of a “musical”, but without lyrics, since you have to think about how to physically perform these pieces during filming, taking advantage of the artistic skills of the actors.

You’d been working with Spanish directors with most of your scores. How did you finally get your Emmy-winning “international” breakthrough with “The Night Manager?” And what was your experience like on a globetrotting suspense series like this?

The experience of working in “The Night Manager” has been a way of learning, as in any other film. Its director Susanne Bier has won an Oscar, and the cast was made up of such talented actors. The series was also personally supervised by John LeCarré. So I had many possibilities to help me understand such a complex plot. But with so many different scenarios, it was important to be careful so that the music wouldn’t “reveal” much about the final resolution. I had to preserve the mystery.

Not only did we get the Oscar-winning “Shape of Water” last year, but also the far less-seen “Cold Skin” was released, which was about the far less romantic encounter between humans and fish-people. Could you talk about your approach to the film? And having scored it, what did you think of “The Shape of Water” and it’s music?

“The Shape Of Water” is a very different film from “Cold Skin.” One is a romantic story about the need to understand the other, while the film I scored was full of cruel action where the characters kept a distance – although like “Shape,” the movie does become very emotional as the story progresses.

Rodrigo’s “Down a Dark Hall” is his first straightforwardly supernatural film. There have been several “evil boarding academy” movies made, most popularly among them “Suspiria.” But what do you think makes “Down a Dark Hall’s” approach stand out in the genre?

It is a supernatural film in terms of the story, but the film delves into an idea that Rodrigo explained to me during the first months of production, and that has to do with that in this world “nothing is free”. Art is a path of suffering, of perseverance. Advancing in any discipline means sacrifice. You cannot give it away. It is a very deep concept that is not so clear in today’s society. For example, the bookstores are full of books like “Learn to play the piano in a week”. That does not exist. In his last book, Steve Pinker notes that -in general terms- you have to spend around 10,000-15,000 hours practicing any artistic discipline to be able to master it. That is a lot of work.

Melody is literally key to this score. Given that a “piano score” piece would be essential, did you write it before shooting began? And how did you want it to develop from piano intimacy to its epic orchestral finish?

The “melody” of the film is one of the keys that explain the final resolution. I do not want to make spoilers but this melody that reaches the character of Kit from nowhere, has an explanation within the story. Go see the movie, and you will understand what I am talking about. Of course, the pieces that Anna Sophia Robb plays on the piano were written by me and by Rodrigo months before filming began. In the end, music is the vehicle through which the protagonist understands that she is facing herself, and not supernatural beings.

Star AnnaSophia Robb and filmmaker Rodrigo Cortés

Were you on the set at all to work with AnnaSophia Robb to help make her playing convincing, especially given the circumstances?

Anna Sophia is a wonderful actress, and a great collaborator. It is very difficult for an actor to give the feeling that he “dominates” an instrument, whatever it may be. In the case of the piano. Pianists have a “position”, a way of sitting before the instrument, of physically relating to it. She worked a lot with us on this “new” aspect of her character, and she did it with full conviction. Actually, it is impossible to know whether or not he is really playing the piano. We all worked hard on this to give the greatest fidelity to the images.

Given the anger of the young women who are forced to go to Blackwood, how did you want to bring in the idea of the “alt.” music, and attitude that they walk in, especially when contrasted with the “old school” horror- suspense approach of the score?

To give the idea that girls travel not only to a different place in their homes, but to a “different” place in almost temporary terms, we start with a score that is going to undergo a metamorphosis through different musical currents related to the classical music, the farthest thing from the world of these girls. The score travels through impressionism, and serial music to lead to a musical epic that represents the death of the powers that exert their influence on art. What really scares the movie are the people who take advantage of other people. That’s what Kit finds when she goes down the stairs to get to the Dark Hall.

Tell us about your main themes here, especially a powerful, rhythmically “chopping” theme in the score whenever something particularly terrifying happens.

We needed to create a very special environment for the Blackwood mansion, which is a place separate from the world where strange and dramatic things are going to happen. Apart from the “main theme”, which refers to the longing that Kit suffers for his dead father, we needed to represent the character of the Uma Thurman’s character Madame Duret, who is someone you would expect to find in the Paris of the early twentieth century in a bohemian café. So she has a very different character from the rest of the score. Also the house, as protagonist, has its own “musical world”, a kind of beating heart that has the ambition to explode into terror.

Blackwood has suspiciously few students enrolled in it. How did you want to capture their sense of isolation, both psychologically and being in the middle of nowhere?

As I was saying, from the first moment that girls arrive at the house, we use music as an action element to represent that they are in a place where they have no control over what happens. Madame Duret takes away cell phones, which for any teenager means little less than complete isolation. From then on, girls have to live with what the house provides them, which is full of surprises.

How did you want the music to unravel the mystery, and steadily build through it?

From the first beat in the first scene, before anything happens, we use the “main theme” but in a suggested way. The theme itself was developed during the story for the musical emotional support that becomes the character of Kit. At the end of the film, the theme itself almost does not recognize itself, more than when it opens again to the piano the simplest way possible. It’s like removing layers from an onion. At the heart of the onion lies a truth, a disturbing reality.

There’s certainly a romantically lush, Bernard Herrmann-esque feel to your score. Did you use “Corridor” to salute the great, atmospheric horror scores of yore?

The romantic musical parts develop during the learning phase of Kit, who does not really know what the hell is going on in the house. In this sense, there is a mysterious part closely related to Herrmann, but immediately everything falls apart, and gives way to a much more aggressive and contemporary orchestration.

You also make “Hall” a hybrid score as well with electronics. How did you want to employ them here?

At first, we thought that the score should be very purist, only with orchestra, etc. But we realized that the musical representation of the “ghosts” required a more contemporary sound, a combination of orchestral acoustics and very elaborate electronic music. . There are parts of the score in which we have chords of 60 notes in the middle of a diabolic “ostinato”. On top of all this, synthesizers and electronic textures give the soundtrack a much more up-to-date package.

“Down a Dark Hall” certainly has an interesting twist that plays into the idea of the great classics. Like “Grand Piano,” it puts you in the position of capturing artists far smarter than mere mortals. What kind of challenge does that present?

Certainly, this is the central idea of the film. Some pieces that sound in the film were written by a fictional composer that we invented for the occasion. Let’s say that the ghost of this composer dead centuries ago is going to take over Kit’s character through his music.

Rodrigo Corté and actress Uma Thurman

In spite of its scares, there’s also a wicked, subtle sense of humor to “Down a Dark Hallway.” How did you want to capture the overt, Gothic quality of its teachers, especially Uma Thurman’s beyond-French stepmistress?

The character of Uma Thurman treats the girls as what they are, angry girls, and she behaves like what she is, the director of a special institution. Madame Duret is sarcastic with them but at the same time she lends her help with the best intention. At least in the first part of the story. The music represents all of this.

Kit’s character is haunted from the beginning by visions of her father, and a relationship that could have been. How important was it have this emotional angle to the score, especially as all hell ends up breaking out around her?

It was very important, as you say, because the figure of the father represents everything that she believes unites him to the earth, to his life. Actually, what is necessary for Kit to move on with his life, is to say goodbye to him. That’s why the “father’s theme” plans over the entire film until it becomes “something else”, something for the future, that helps Kit to stop looking backwards.

Given the contemporary rhythms and guitar music in the score, do you think it’s important for horror scores, at least when dealing with young characters, retain a youthful appeal?

Contemporary rhythms, or “pop” songs are important in this film, since the protagonists are teenagers of today. We have used them for the presentation of the girls, but once they arrive at the mansion, all this disappears to contrast with “another” reality, both physical and musical.

Your next score for “Finding Steve McQueen” is as differently all-American as can be in dealing with about a gang that tries to steal Richard Nixon’s hush money. What can you tell us about your score?

“Finding Steve McQueen” is a wonderful movie by Mark Steven Johnson, the director of “Daredevil” and “Ghost Rider”. It is a film about people who behave like children, and do not take responsibility for their actions. In a romantic comedy tone, it is a very funny and exciting movie. I am very happy to have done it and I have had the opportunity to handle other musical records.

Given a vast repertoire, why do you think you’re drawn repeatedly to both supernatural, and suspenseful subject matter?

Well, they call me to do this, and this is what I do, but I do not have preferences. I guess it’s the tastes of the public, which is, in the end, for those of us who work.

View “Down a Dark Hall” in theaters and on VOD from Lionsgate Premiere on August 17th, with Victor Reyes’ score available soon.

Buy the soundtrack: “Buried”

Buy the soundtrack: “Red Lights”

Buy the soundtrack: “Grand Piano”

Buy the soundtrack: “The Night Manager”

Buy the soundtrack: “Cold Skin”

Visit Victor Reyes’ website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Audio: Interview with Brian Tyler

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 15/08/2018 - 04:20

(Photo by Aris Stoulil)

ON THE SCORE is sponsored by La-La Land Records

From the explosive rhythmic action of such franchise as “The Fast and the Furious” and “The Expendables” to the orchestral fury of gods and monsters in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “The Mummy,” composer Brian Tyler’s prolific Hollywood resume has no shortage of testosterone-fueled, music. But if he seems like a composer whose swing is in racing cars, letting bullets fly with rock and roll or bringing on the symphonic thunder, Tyler can just as powerfully conjure a feminine spirit on a fabulously wealthy Oriental dance floor. Where Tyler certainly explored that ethnicity in such scores as “War,” “Bangkok Dangerous” and “Tokyo Drift,” this time the tone is universally romantic as a beautiful American professor is swept up to Singapore by her humble, equally gorgeous beau – only to discover he’s beyond wealthy. As our heroine navigates an otherwise good guy’s snobbish relatives and conceited friends, Tyler unleashes gorgeous, lush romance that’s his most heartfelt and unexpected scoring yet. Just as impressive in his new film for director Jon M. Chu is taking the caper groove of their last pairing on “Now You See Me 2” into a wild variety of styles that cut a rug from swing to big band brass and whistling Latin rhumbas to create a soundtrack packed with sly comedy, swooning melody and jazz the world over.

On far more musically masculine American terrain, if just as unexpected, is Tyler’s music for Paramount’s smash TV show “Yellowstone.” Here the lust for money and power demands a far more violent price as Tyler evokes the majestically tragic orchestral sound of a traditional western, then crosses it with a modern, lyrical sound to show how past feuds are angrily alive in the present – an opportunity to play straight-up, mournful family drama and the lush, lyrical vastness of a vanishing prairie in a landscape that shows just how many styles there are in the composer’s prolific repertoire.

(L)Brian Tyler plays with Enchanting China (R) Brian Tyler conducts his music at Enchanting China (photos by Stefania Rosini)

Now on a new episode of “On the Score,” Brian Tyler talks about spanning the globe to capture the jazzily romantic and emotionally darker sides of wealth and power with his newly revealing scores for “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Yellowstone.”

Click above to Listen Now or Click Here to Download

Buy the Soundtrack: CRAZY RICH ASIANS Buy the Soundtrack: YELLOWSTONE (available August 17th) Buy the Soundtrack: NOW YOU SEE ME 2 Buy the Soundtrack: PANIC / FITZGERALD Visit Brian Tyler’s Website
Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Fabio Frizzi

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 08/08/2018 - 22:04

In the rich horror history of hands-free dolls wreaking bloody mayhem, there’s no more iconic troupe of terror than the pummeling, razor-wielding, head-burrowing creations belonging to Andre Toulon. First unleashed from the mind of Charles Band, a genre impresario with a big love for all creatures small, 1989’s “Puppet Master” was an instant smash for his pioneering direct-to-video label Full Moon Entertainment. Wound up by brother Richard Band’s circus-like theme and scores, the increasingly outrageous and weapon-fitted puppets inspired numerous sequels and soundtracks as they and their inventor transformed from pure evil to Nazi-busting heroes.

But if budgetary restrictions were the biggest foe when it came to holding these puppets down, the gloves are now outrageously off like never before with “Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.” In rebooting Band’s most famous property, writer S. Craig Zahler (best known as the eviscerating, head-smashing director of his scripts for “Bone Tomahawk” and “Bawl in Cell Block 99”) wipes out any thought of the puppets as anti-fascist avengers. Here, Andre Toulon (played with typically fiendish drollness by Udo Kier) is a good Nazi with a Trump worthy mad-on towards religious and sexual undesirables. Pumped full of lead in a prologue, his very much alive toys are unleashed upon a current-day fanboy convention of those who’ve followed his infamy. Given a game cast that includes “We’re the Millers’” Thomas Lennon, “Streets of Fire’s” Michael Pare and “Re-Animator’s” Barbara Crampton, “Wither” co-directors Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund run with the resist metaphors and political incorrectness to the extreme as the increasingly diminishing heroes fight off pint-sized, unholy embodiments of the right wing – propelled by noticeably better production value on a still small scale.

Given the involvement of the now-rebirthing Fangoria brand as a presenter, the gore is pushed to gloriously, ludicrously offensive limits. Yet there’s also something quite lyrical about a moaning, marching and melodic score that’s almost positively, classily European given the “Reich’s” mayhem. Perhaps that’s because composer Fabio Frizzi is more than used to drawing equal attention to his music even as the blood and blood brain matter pile up on the screen. Hailing from a film and music loving, Frizzi was classically trained before first becoming prolific in cop actioners and comedies. But it was by finding his visceral muse in iconic Italian goremeister Lucio Fulci that Frizzi became renowned for his gravely disturbing, yet somehow tuneful work on such cult classics as “Zombi,” “The Beyond,” “Manhattan Baby” and “The Psychic.” Frizzi, along with such fellow artists as Claudio Simonetti and the band Goblin (“Deep Red,” “Suspiria”) helped pioneer a progressive horror sound that blended rock, eerie synths hypnotic rhythm and memorably twisted themes that would play over scenes as opposed to outrightly commenting on their fear. Frizzi’s music has inspired new generations of horror-loving composers from Christopher Young (“Hellraiser”) to Joseph Bishara (“The Conjuring”), with a progressive spirit now possessing a new genre scoring rage with “It Follows” and “Stranger Things.” It’s a stylistic rebirth that’s seen Frizzi make an acclaimed international tour with his live, re-envisioned score for “The Beyond,” and now impressively take the invigorated reigns of an American fan favorite series.

Richard Band took a circus-like approach to his “Puppet Master” scores, a style picked up by many of the composers who’d follow through the unkillable series. And while Fulci is sure to salute his iconic theme over the end credits, “The Littlest Reich” stands as perhaps its most melodic effort. A deceptively sweet, waltz-like melody for Toulon drives most of the score, the theme showing up in sequences where one might expect far more aggressive handling would be the way to go. Where aggressive guitar playing, rhythmic voices and creeping synths recalls Frizzi’s classics, his “Puppet Master” is also made of more somber, haunting stuff, with its throbbing synth strings and glistening bells – yet certainly slaying for the occasion with fascist percussion and unstoppable vocal rhythm. It’s an impressively thematic, often ironically contrasting approach to the insanity onscreen that shows Frizzi’s killer instincts are as lethal as ever, just waiting to spring forth for the horror genre that he helped give new musical lifeblood to.


Tell us about your musical beginnings, and what attracted you to become a film composer, with a particular talent for eccentric subjects?

The passion for music was something innate. Everyone in the family was passionate. I remember the choirs we did together in the car, going to the beach, when I was 5 or 6 years. The work of my father is the other half. He was in love with cinema and became a young protagonist of the industry. I grew up having available discs of Italian composers like Carlo Rustichelli, Nino Rota, Armando Trovaioli and Ennio Morricone. When I started the profession, there was a great flowering of the genre. The range of possibilities was wide. And the imagination was vivid, young and instinctive.

Most Americans became aware of your music during your collaboration with Lucio Fulci on movies like “Zombi,”The Beyond” and “Cat in the Brain.” Could you tell us about what made that partnership so enduring?

Lucio is often described as a very difficult person and, especially at work, perhaps he was. But he was a man of deep feelings. I was the youngest collaborator of all his crew and I had great respect for his role (obviously) and for him as a person. The years passed, but our relationship largely remained largely the same, opening the door to a side of friendship. And then, probably, he must have liked my way of writing music for his films.

If you had a style of music for the genre, how would you describe it?

While my approach has never changed, it has grown up with me. It is a mix of many elements, of many thoughts, doubts and solutions, like it would be in the workshop of a craftsman. Music, especially that for cinema, must have a mood. I love rock, classical music, synthesizers, melody and, good musicians.

Italian horror was far nastier and unforgiving than its American cousins. How do you think your music added to that terrifying, eerie and “real” feeling? And what part do you think you played in the renaissance of progressive-rock-synth scores that was typified by artists like you and Goblin?

It was not easy at the beginning to find the right way to interpret that kind of horror musically. The key is to make the score become a protagonist of the story, one of the actors. With some directors and with Fulci in particular this happened. On the rebirth of these scores the internet was fundamental. The fans were able to exchange opinions, find soundtracks and expand their collections. We all had the opportunity to talk to and enjoy each other on this stage and give each other a big “hug.”

Though you’ve certainly scored many different types of genres, were you happy to essentially be known around the world as a “horror” composer?

I think it’s beautiful that love appears in some way. I am proud of this recognition and gives me a great pleasure that many of my fans and connoisseurs rediscover slowly, almost in disbelief, many other things I’ve written. And sometimes they those scores love very much.

What was it like for you to do live shows in America, especially when it came to performing “The Beyond” live to picture before packed audiences at London’s Barbican and Hollywood’s Egyptian theaters?

It gave me very strong emotions. The esteem and affection I found in America are things that impressed me, along with my collaborators. “The Beyond Composer’s Cut” was born from the idea of extending the original score of the film to make it enjoyable as a sort of film version in concert, a type of show that would have great emotional impact. And the peculiarity is that I came to America to experience the result. The packed Egyptian Theater was a great prize.

Did it make you especially honored to find that major American genre composers like Joseph Bishara and Christopher Young considered you a big influence on your work – not to mention Quentin Tarantino using “The Psychic” as a bit part of his “Kill Bill”” soundtrack?

Chistopher Young, Fabio Frizzi and Joseph Bishara

Well, this is one of the aspects that excites me the most, the influences. From those in the shadows to the striking ones. I remember that several years ago I received a message from a US boy who told me that he had saved himself from a life at risk by becoming passionate about my themes and becoming a valued musician. The esteem and friendship of many protagonists of the American music and film scene honors me very much. Joseph, for example, is a very strong musician and it is fantastic to know that he counts me among his musical influences.

How did you become involved with “Puppet Master: Littlest Reich?” And do you think your history of scoring insanely gory movies had anything to do with it?

I have many friends in America, and among them some great admirers. These include Brian Hacket, a live audio engineer who works with many productions. He had seen a strong connection between my story and that production (to which he collaborated) and spoke with Dallas Sonnier, the producer. Some emails were exchanged and the game started!

Before diving in to “Reich,” did you watch any of the past films in the “Puppet Master” series? And did anything strike you about how they were scored?

I obviously knew the series, but I had only seen the first one. I liked the original 1989 movie’s theme by Richard Band. I always found it very apt. And poetic.

How did you think this “Puppet Master” was different from its predecessors while still paying homage to it?

For a long time I have been following the activity of Cinestate and the collaboration between Dallas Sonnier and Craig Zahler. Their working group produces things of great quality and above all of strong personality. I was sure that even in this case, the identity of the project would be strong.

It struck me that your score is more straightly melodic than other “Puppet Masters,” especially in how you use a waltz-like theme as opposed to going for the circus-y feel of the past scores. Do you think there’s a classical elegance to it that captures the kind of evil “refinement” that Andre Toulon had?

Actually the theme in 3/4 that I wrote and that appears in the opening credits wants to be a tribute to the historical Richard Band theme. The nickname that we have attributed to it was the “Carousel theme”, as if it were a music that remembers this “game” as one of perverse destiny, a game that we all participate in, with nobody excluded. It ‘s definitely a theme with a melody that wants to be remembered and I think that if the viewer gets attached to a musical cell and brings it home in his memory, it will also be good for the movie. Sometimes an evocative melody can be essential.

Could you tell us about your other themes?

There is the theme of Blade, the most representative puppet. The musical moment of his meeting with Edgar, the protagonist, is the first song I wrote. It is an essential but important scene, which tells a lot of the story, almost the vain attempt to establish an impossible relationship. I liked it a lot and I started from there. Another theme dedicated to the Toulon Mansion and to the description of its mysteries and protagonist, for which I used abaritone guitar. There are two themes that tell the story, one based on Mellotron, in my tradition, the other a sort of tragic military march. And finally a musical moment made of sounds, rhythms, sequencers and synthesizers that tells the moments of deaf fear.

Did you want the Nazi element of the Puppets to play into the score, as well as the Jewish factor of its heroes?

It is inevitable that the audience will look for artistic musical styles and they could not miss elements of this kind.

How much of your “Italian horror” past did you want to bring to this score, especially when it came to the use of voice and rock-like percussion?

When you are facing a new project of a genre in which you have done many things you are known and appreciated for, you can not completely forget your personality, or at least that part that probably others expect from you. It is a delicate game of equilibrium, perhaps the most difficult thing to decide. Also in this case I tried not to deny myself, without my style being too “obvious”. And the judgment on this difficult alchemy is not up to me, but to all the others.

Where the past “Puppet Master” scores played more of the physicality of its horror sequences, do you think this score is more reliant on the mood than directly playing the ultra-violent ways that the puppets have of doing away with people?

In a soundtrack of a horror film in addition to music and dialogues there are also sound effects. I remember that Lucio Fulci often preferred, in extreme situations, to remove everything and leave only a cry or an annoying effect (like a chalk on the blackboard). I like to give a musical punch in the stomach from time to time. But I also love to suggest to those watching the movie a kind of fear.

Your long time guitarist Riccardo Rocchi plays on the score in a way that ranges from classical to rock. Tell us about your collaboration, and his importance in your scores.

Riccardo Rocchi

Good musicians are a great treasure for a composer. Riccardo, who is a close friend and also accompanies me in concerts around the world, is one of the collaborators who have played for me in this soundtrack.

Did you have a favorite puppet, or death to score?

Blade is my favorite. His killings are many, some ironic and some terrible, Each one required a lot of attention.

Do you see a new chapter of yourself as a horror composer for American pictures with “Puppet Master?” And if so, what would you like to musically explore musically for the genre? And would there be a fan favorite franchise that you’d like to take a stab at?

Surely this experience is something new and interesting for me. I believe that a composer should always be ready for new stories, new adventures. I want to take all the emotional tools that will allow me to express myself in the most authentic way. I think I’m ready for new challenges.

Do you think there’s a whole, undiscovered musical dimension for horror scores to take – much in the way that you helped to re-invent its sound?

Read a screenplay, live it deeply, let yourself go, manage emotions with your own technique. In a sense it is easy.


“Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich” begins prowling select theaters and on VOD August 17th, with a cast and filmmaker showing at Los Angele’s Egyptian Theater on Tuesday the 14th HERE. Fabio Frizzi’s score will be digitally available August 17th on Lakeshore Records.

Visit Fabio Frizzi’s Facebook page HERE

Special thanks to Michael Gingold, Riccardo Rocchi and Joseph Bishara

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Steve Jablonsky

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 11/07/2018 - 17:39

He’s big, put together with charismatic muscle, and knows how to move with powerful, heroic steps. All of which make the franchise building megastar known as The Rock (aka Dwayne Johnson) perfectly constructed for composer Steve Jablonsky. While not quite as physically formidable, Jablonsky has more than shown he can keep pace with his leading man after a career scoring transforming robots, machine gun-blasting villains and perfect military specimens thwarting alien invasions – with the humor to even poke fun at his own action stylings in the outrageous Netflix spoof “Game Over, Man!” Now after all of the imitations spawned by the best action movie of the 80’s, both The Rock and Steve Jablonsky get to team up at their mightiest for a film best described as “’Die Hard’ in a building.” And The Pearl is certainly a formidable, ultra-futuristic “Skyscraper” peaking above Hong Kong, as if some “Arrival” spaceship from the Donald Trump branch of the family landed. Of course, that’s all a nefarious, foreign accented baddie needs to light a torch a la “The Towering Inferno,” with our hero’s family trapped on the upper floors.

If The Rock has a real magic to his success, it’s his ability to bring likeable heart and humanity to his well-built movies, of which “Skyscraper” boasts top-notch design and action via the fun direction of the star’s “Central Intelligence” director Rawson Marshall Thurber. That The Rock’s security whiz character Will Sawyer is way more worried dad pushed into the impossible than a bionic-legged Superman says much about the emotional stakes that level up “Skyscraper” and Jablonsky’s action scoring abilities, especially after having created one of his most unique scores for the star’s unlikely appearance as a real-life gay weightlifter dragged into murder in “Pain & Gain” (which also ranks as the best, and most unique film from Jablonsky’s frequent “Transformers” collaborator Michael Bay). With brass and rhythm literally blazing through any number of knuckle-tightening, building-climbing set pieces, Jablonsky’s most exciting score yet not only makes bank on the composer’s trademarked way with musical momentum, but also melodically makes the listener aware that taking down the bad guy isn’t Will’s biggest goal. It’s a “Skyscraper” that’s a slam-bang combo of thematic orchestra, electronics and metal, as topped with a futuristic sound that in the end succeeds so well by being about family first while more than delivering the action goods, giving the composer his most impressive fusion of excitement and heart yet for a genre where he remains a modern king of the hill.

What would you say is the Steve Jablonsky action “sound?”

Well, I have no idea how. I would describe it, to be honest. I’m the worst at telling people what I do because I really just sit down and let the movie inspire me. “Skyscraper” seemed like a film where we could try a little bit, something a bit more different, where I could try not to go too “Hollywood.” I wanted to treat Dwayne Johnson’s character a bit more like an everyday guy, as opposed to him being like Spider-Man or Superman.

Ironically, your last score was for the Netflix “Die Hard” spoof “Game Over Man,” where you also got to satirize your approach for scoring this kind of stuff.

Right. That’s a good point. I went from one “Die Hard” movie to another “Die Hard” movie. That one was totally like “We’ve got trumpets, we’ve got woodwinds, now let’s just go all out and send it to these male maids! Because to these “Workaholics” guys, this was a big Hollywood thing where they could be these badass heroes. So I treated that with just a little bit of tongue in cheek – like having the trumpets send in the “big theme” when they beat the bad guy. “Game Over Man’s” score was just meant to be fun. Where “Skyscraper” could also be fun, we didn’t want to ignore the fact that Will is essentially just trying to save his family, and they happened to be in the tallest building in the world, which is on fire. Even if they were stuck in a hole in the ground somewhere. It would be the same musical premise. So that’s where we started with the score and took it from there. We weren’t trying to, say, “This is a big throwback action movie.” It was important for Rawson to not to overplay the music as well. Will is a wounded character in the beginning because he’s had a tragic experience where he loses a leg. That sets a different tone than “Game Over Man.” I liked that Rawson set up “Skyscraper” that way with Will having to redeem his past mistake.

After scoring the real life disaster of “Deep Water Horizon,” you’re also replaying a movie that has another giant explosion in it, with people trying to make it through lots of burning metal as the result. Was there any kind of lessons that “Deepwater” taught you about how to score “Skyscraper?”

Yeah, definitely. The fact that “Deepwater Horizon” dealt with real people was partially why I almost didn’t get the film because the director Peter Berg told the studio straight away that he didn’t want to have a “Hollywood” score, or a big Hollywood composer. So I just called Peter up and said, “Look, if, if you give me a shot at this, I can do other things than what you might expect. I’m not going to put big horns in this movie. This is a real life story. People died. Other wives and brothers and sisters and husbands of these people who died will see this film, and the last thing I want to do was to trivializes the death of their loved ones by overplaying over melody or making things melodramatic, I wanted to create a score that would keep things more real, and that’s why I went less “big” for that score. Now “Skyscraper” is obviously not a true story, but that approach is closer to what Rawson wanted. And I thought that made sense, because Will is an everyday guy – even though he’s bigger than any other human being on this planet!
The Rock is pretty much the size of a building.

I always joked that he could have just picked up the building and tilted it. Then everything would have been fine. For Rawson and me, Will is a “real” guy who does crazy things when he’s put into impossible situations. He knows how awful it is, and isn’t going, “Yeah, I’m going to kick ass!” He just wants to survive so he can find his wife and kids. So in that respect this score is similar to “Deep Water Horizon,” which I think Rawson heard and liked. That’s part of the reason my name came up for “Skyscraper” in the first place.

Steve & Rawson

This is the second score you’ve done for The Rock that has him in a bit of departure from the super-confident action hero you’d expect, especially after “Pain & Gain.”

In that movie, The Rock is like a gentle giant who gets sort of victimized by Mark Wahlberg’s character in this.. I came up with this super innocent, little simple thing for him in that which was innocent but emotional, because his character was a religious, naïve guy who gets involved in this terrible thing. When I saw The Rock in “Pain & Gain,” I thought, “Wow, this guy can do something other than just being ‘the big guy.’ “Pain & Gain” was also the film that opened Rawson’s eyes to the Rock being able to do comedy before he directed him in “Central Intelligence.” For this film, I tried to ignore that The Rock was as big as a house, and to just scores him as a father who’s trying to save his family from this horrible situation. The idea of family was also very important to him in how he’s been promoting “Skyscraper.” We had a screening where I saw this guy standing there with a baseball cap. He was big, but he didn’t strike me as being The Rock. Then a producer introduced us. I told him that because the movie was so early on that my music was only in 25% of what he saw. He asked me if it was in the scene where we first meet Will and his family, and I told him that was indeed one of my cues. Dwayne said, “Oh great! I loved that music. You don’t really hear scoring like that in action movies these days.” I gave him a big thanks, because just the fact that he even noticed he music there showed that he was very sensitive to how music sold the emotion apart from all of the big explosions.

It’s interesting how you score this super futuristic building in an almost science fiction-y way in the beginning of the film, especially as it looks like some spaceship that’s landed in Hong Kong.

The thing about scoring a film like this is that generally composers don’t really get to see what’s happening, as the visuals are still being created. But while I didn’t really get to see The Pearl, I created a theme for it and the billionaire who owns the whole thing. I wanted it to be sort of awe inspiring but also mysterious and not too “science fiction-y.” I didn’t want the music to make you feel like this movie was taking place a hundred years in the future. You really hear that melody when Will is riding up the elevator for the first time and seeing all of this cool, amazing stuff in the building and how amazing it is. I can’t wait to see those effects myself!

Did you want to reflect the film’s Hong Kong setting in the score?

Rawson and I talked a little about that in relation to The Pearl’s owner. But in general, unless the music’s specifically called upon to reference an ethnic character or background, I don’t think it’s necessary to do that – though I certainly did for the fourth “Transformers” movie that was partially set in Hong Kong.

The first big musical setpiece in “Skyscraper” is when will has to evade the police and climb up “The Crane” to get into the Pearl. How difficult was it to score that scene?

At first I thought it would be interesting to center the scene around one instrument, as Will is one guy trying to do all of these things. So the music starts with a solo cello, processed to be “weighty,” because it wouldn’t quite sound right if it was just sort of a classical cellist playing this riff against these big images. I also had the idea of making the music go “up and down” with The Rock to literally mirror how he’s trying to get into The Pearl.” Then as he progresses, the orchestra would slowly come in as his strength and confidence in beating the odds builds. Rawson thought the music should also treat the scene in a way that showed how Will was having “fun” with all of this. So I did a rhythmic thing for that which could play the scene’s tension and tempo. It changed a lot during the course of the process, but I always knew that scene was going to be great and wanted to just help it as much as I could.

Another musical setpiece is where Will has to get past the Pearl’s massive energy-creating turbines.

The first time I scored that scene I thought it would be scarier for the audience if the music was minimalist and intense, letting the wind and Will’s breath carry the tension. I played that approach for Rawson, and he didn’t think enough was going on. So looking back, I took that first idea too far, because Rawson was absolutely right. I amped up what I’d already done by 75% without going overboard, making the music “seasick” in a way that goes in and out of tune. It’s subtle, but it just makes you a little uneasy in creating a sense of vertigo. I also used pulses to hit the slips and the scares. One important moment is when Will ties the rope on himself. He’s sort of standing there frozen as he’s about to repel down the building to get to the turbines. Rawson wanted the music to shock the audience that he actually does this, with a big, nasty orchestra hitting when he finally takes that leap. I think by the end we got to a pretty good place for that sequence.

How did you want to play the bad guys here?

Because the score’s focus is on Will, I played them “dark,” without any kind of “big bad” theme. The villain here really isn’t like Hans Gruber in “Die Hard,” which was much more about pitting him against John McClane. There is a bit of that in “Skyscraper,” but all Will wants to do is get to his family. So the bad guys are just part of this scary adventure.

You’re a composer who’s known for his rhythm. What’s the trick of creating your sense of musical propulsion in a way that satisfies both “Skyscraper’s” action and emotion?

It’s a very tricky balance, and I worked very closely with Rawson and his editor on it, because they’re all about the storytelling’s rhythm. They were really smart about how they wanted to place the music, especially given that the movie is going so fast that the emotional moments are over pretty quickly. There are few places to create big, musically sweeping emotion in “Skyscraper,” because they didn’t want the audience to lose sight of the danger that lurks around every corner of the movie. So we just picked our little emotional moments that could happen without the story losing steam. I think we found a decent balance between the two.

There are some interesting use of the piano, and the chorus in “Skyscraper.”

I thought it would be cool to have a few notes of the piano in the beginning of the film, and then have them at the end for Will’s connection to his family. I also used the choir to play that bond. I originally thought I’d be using more voices for The Pearl, but it ended up not really being the place for that because it seemed over the top.

Like “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “Skyscraper” represents another film you’ve scored to show the partnership between Hollywood and Hong Kong. Where do you think that might take your music?

I guess I’ll find out. I am excited about that prospect though, because I, I’ve seen in the last few years how important China has become in making big summer movies. I’m doing the “Skyscraper” album with Milan Records, and they’ve shown me all of this marketing that they’re going to do specifically for China. I think that’s very smart because it’s, it’s a huge market for these films, which have Chinese stars in them to bring in those audiences. I’m excited because I’ve loved Chinese cinema of since I was young. I’ve been watching John Woo and Chow Yun Fat movies forever. I’ll never forget going to Hong Kong as part of the “Transformers” premiere, and having people scream “Steve!” as I walked down the red carpet and wanting to take selfies. Hollywood audiences can be so jaded, because there’s a premier every night, which made it especially cool to be around thousands of movie fans who were just so excited that we were there. So I’d love to be involved with more movies made between Hollywood and China, or any foreign production.

With “Skyscraper,” do you feel that you’ve now gotten to score both “Die Hard” and “The Towering Inferno?”

Photo by Jason Kempin

Those are two great, unique movies. And it was never Rawson’s idea to rip them off, but to pay homage to them with a script he wrote himself. I think he did a great job with without copying either movie, because he’s a really thoughtful director, and was truly excited to record the score at London’s Abbey Road Studio. It was also great to score a big action film with The Rock. He’s the real deal, especially when it comes to caring about the music of his films.

“Skyscraper” opens on July 13th, with Steve Jablonsky’s score available now digitally, and on CD August 3rd from Milan Records HERE

Listen to Steve Jablonsky pump iron with The Rock for “Pain & Gain” HERE, then score the oil explosion of “Deepwater Horizon” HERE

Visit Steve Jablonsky’s official Facebook page HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: July 6

Soundtrack News - Za, 07/07/2018 - 02:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.1745]Trent Reznor[] & [c.1283]Atticus Ross[] ([m.53064]Waves[]), [c.3178]Jeff Russo[] ([m.53062]Pale Blue Dot[]) and [c.809]Michael Andrews[] ([m.51259]Instant Family[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 25 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2018-07-03]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.44832]Ant-Man and the Wasp[] ([c.564]Christophe Beck[]) and [m.48639]The First Purge[] ([c.20683]Kevin Lax[]). We are tracking song credits for the following new theatrical releases: -[m.44832]Ant-Man and the Wasp[] (10 songs) -[m.50986]Bleeding...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Christophe Beck

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 04/07/2018 - 02:16

If you thought DC’s movie universe was depressing, Marvel’s cinematic superheroes are in even more dire straits thanks to a finger snap from Thanos. So what better season than summer to reverse the infinity glove and jump back into Christophe Beck’s musical microverse for a giant-sized burst of comic book fun with “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

Having scored supers before with the teen likes of Buffy and Percy Jackson, Beck make his first Marvel entry with the moody martial arts vibe of 2005’s “Elektra.” But it was 2015’s “Ant-Man” that truly marked Beck’s splash for the company, with infinitely more acclaim. As directed by Peyton Reed (responsible for the sweet 60’s kitschfest “Down With Love”), “Ant-Man” was even then a throwback to the days when superheroes weren’t filled with berserker rage. One of Stan Lee’s goofier, and less-known silver age concepts paid homage to the past while freshly filling his boots with a well-meaning cat burglar who bungles upon the miniaturizing tech. Beck ran with the opportunity of a retro hero passing the insect-controlling torch to this unlikely Avenger with a delightful score that mixed heist funk with surf guitar, while not forgetting the brassy, orchestral muscle of do-gooder scoring. For where Marvel had focused on a fairly traditional approach to conveying might, “Ant-Man” was truly one of the studio’s first scores to broke the mold in a humorous, though without the kind of musical camp that had once relegated the superhero genre to kid’s stuff.

Now with “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” Beck has teamed again with Reed for one of the rare sequel cases where bigger is truly better in more ways than one. Here Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) finally gets her wings, and wrist blasters to show who really wears the suit in her relationship with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). Searching the microverse for her seemingly lost Wasp mom Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), this dynamic duo face off against the decidedly glum Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), a white-garbed villain out to steal their technology. Given a bigger cosmic scale that sees Scott and his malfunctioning suit shrink him to kid-size, then propel him to Goliath scope, Beck runs with the sweeping thematic opportunities to inject his score with way more symphonic dimension, while reprising his first soundtrack’s memorable, rocking theme. Electronics also come to fore in both the sinister capabilities of Ghost and the eerie quantum universe that holds the keys to the long-vanished Janet’s whereabouts.

A huge bundle of superhero scoring enjoyment in an increasing world of superhero gloom and real-life doom, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” reflects the delight of a composer running with the franchise opportunity in a prolific career, one that also finds Beck holding stylistically very different, and powerfully unexpected cards up his own sleeve.

“Ant-Man” was one of the first scores that stylistically broke the “Marvel” soundtrack mode with its fun retro sound. Did you have the sense that you were going into new territory with that movie?

Yeah, and that’s what made it exciting. The whole heist aspect of the first film was really an easy way to kind of get my hooks into a style of music that was distinct from the other Marvel movies, which made it a natural fit for me. I didn’t have to stretch in any direction that felt artificial because it lent itself quite naturally to that retro 60’s and 70’s sound, but at the same incorporating some of the more traditional Marvel sounds. There’s still a strong heroic theme, but it’s presented in a more fun, high concept style than most of the company’s other scores.

How did you and Peyton want to expand the musical scope of Ant-Man with the sequel, especially as he becomes Giant Man in it?

Well, mostly it’s the idea that this isn’t an “Ant-Man” movie anymore. It’s about the team-up between him and The Wasp. So there was a conscious decision at the beginning of the process that whenever there was an opportunity to play a theme, then you’d have the choice between the two characters We chose to tilt the scales a little to bit to establish The Wasp’s sound, which goes into the score’s balance between the old and new. You don’t want to completely ignore Ant-Man’s musical identity. Otherwise there’s no continuity. But at the same time, you want to make sure there’s enough newness in the score to feel like it’s going new places, and isn’t just some retread.

How did you want to musically capture The Wasp?

Well, “Ant-Man” used an odd meter for that character, which was the signature of that score. I felt like I wanted to continue that idea to connect the themes for both him and The Wasp. Another thing that makes this score different is that this isn’t really a “heist” movie like the last one, Here, The Wasp is finally able to come onto her own as a hero. For Hope, it’s, it’s an exuberant experience. So my goal was to make sure that she and Scott had had a superhero theme that’s even more fun than the first movie’s. The first time we see her kicking as is in a restaurant where she basically takes out a whole bunch of bad guys. It’s also the first time we hear her theme first in all its glory. It’s just very high energy and and exuberant.

Would you say kind of the musical difference between the characters is that where Scott isn’t completely sure of his abilities, Hope certainly knows what she’s doing?

Absolutely. You get the feeling like Hope’s been waiting her whole life to do this. And when she finally gets a chance to, she just makes most of it. Whereas Scott has fallen into it unintentionally, which is reflected in his music.

The musical scope of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” has definitely increased in size.

Oh, absolutely! You know, the fact that they’re small doesn’t change the fact that they’re big heroes. I mean they are as powerful, even in their small size as your average normal-sized superhero, which was true for the first movie as well. I don’t think at any time I made either of these scores sound “small.” But now hearing myself say that, I think there is one exception involving his daughter. The score also does get “big,” and funny because Scott becomes intoxicated due to the stress of becoming Giant Man. Taking all of his mental resources to maintain that size make him act like he’s drunk, which was another opportunity to go for laughs. But except for those two moments, the score is really about a man and a woman teaming up to save the world.

Tell us about their arch nemesis the Ghost.

Her music went through an evolution during the process of writing the score. I wanted the maximum contrast between her and the fun music of the Wasp, to make sure that the Ghost felt dangerous and unstoppable. That’s the way her music was for a while. But over the course of not just the writing of the score, but the editing of the film, we came to the realization that the Ghost’s music was maybe working a little too hard, and belonged in a different movie. So I toned the relentless, unstoppable “Terminator” aspects of her character a little bit down. That’s because the core of her character is a tragic one. She lives in chronic, constant chronic pain and goes through a bittersweet character arch.

The electronics in “Ant-Man and the Wasp” have an eccentricity to them that matches the superheroes’ technology.

I’m a big fan of electronic music, and I relish the opportunities to flex those muscles when I can. I also try to make sure that when I incorporate electronic elements that they very much represent that very personal side of myself. So these aren’t store bought samples out of the box. They’re things that I create.

What was it like to introduce the O.G. Wasp into the score?

You only get to see Hope’s mom in a flashback in the first movie, with my theme for her only heard over a photo of Janet Van Dyne. It’s not even Michelle Pfeiffer’s picture. So having her in the present made for a really delicious musical opportunity to restate that theme in a very kind of epic way.

There are also some really cool moments in the score where you get to ethereally explore the quantum world that the original Wasp disappeared into.

I wanted to make that really electronic based, and to be ambient and amorphous about exploring those sounds. We realized that there were some moments before they get to the quantum realm where we wanted to plant some seeds that could become something a little more distinctive. So I used the technique of overlapping chords in the orchestra, particularly with muted brass. The best way to describe it would be if you took a regular chord progression and just mashed it all together. You’d hear two chords at the same time, but still get the feeling of a chord progression. It all culminates when we hear a big version of that quantum realm music.

The chorus also makes a big appearance towards the end.

That’s right. It’s used pretty sparingly until then, which I think gives the score just the right amount of seriousness. There are some moments in the quantum realm that are really beautiful with the chorus, so that place isn’t musically all doom and gloom. The chorus was really a nice way to just evoke a little bit about the spiritual nature of what goes on down there at the subatomic level.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” comes after the gigantic downer of the end of “Avengers: Infinity War,” in which those hero doesn’t appear. Were you aware of what would happen in that film in relation to this picture’s continuity?

Absolutely. Marvel’s movie head Kevin Feige planned these far more breezy and light-hearted films that come out right after a really heavy Avengers movies, first with “Age of Ultron,” and now with “Infinity War.” Without giving too much away, there’s a tie into the events of “Infinity War” and this movie that’s extremely clever and well done. When I started working on “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” “Infinity War” hadn’t come out yet. When it did, I just didn’t have time to go and see it. I just relied on Peyton filling me in about it.

You really got to indulge in your love for electronic music with the Netflix sci-fi movie “Anon,” whose characters’ privacy is almost completely wiped away by technology.

“Anon” was a terrific experience, especially because I don’t often get to do pure electronic scores. It’s writer and director Andrew Niccol, whom I scored “Good Kill” for, is really great to work with. I’m especially proud of “Anon’s” score because I got to incorporate a lot of elements from my work with modular synths. It’s normally is difficult, because when you make music with a modular synth, it’s only there once – then is gone as soon as you take the electronic patch down to create another one. So the only way to really work with that material is to capture as much of it as possible and make a library out of it. There were some moments in “Anon” that called for some very experimental, otherworldly textures, which was also perfectly suited for my modular synth work. It’s one of my most personal scores in terms of what I love musically.

“Anon” has an insane detail in its visuals. How did that affect your score?

Christophe Beck’s modular synthesizer – Photo by Francesca

Any time you’re seeing a character’s point of view, you’re also seeing someone seeing the electronic display overlaid on top of it that could have given me all kinds of information as a composer. But the truth is that it mostly wasn’t there when I was working the film. It was there for a few shots, so I had an idea. For me, I was treating the score to have the classic feel of a film noir detective as opposed to being too slavish about reflecting the technology that’s on display. I think that was really the right way to go, because film scoring is at it’s most powerful when it’s really dealing with the human condition.

Yet “Anon” is a very cold movie about dehumanization.

Yes, it’s a very grey movie for sure. But there is a love story that gets played by a solo violin. It’s heavily processed, and may not even sound that acoustic. However, the heart of that instrument is still there, which emotionally grounds the score amidst all of the pure electronics.

Another personal, and truly “out of the box” score, and film for you is Harald Zwart’s “The 12th Man.” After you scored “The Pink Panther 2” for him, he went back overseas to make a film about a Norwegian patriot’s incredible struggle for survival in the face of overwhelming odds from both nature, and Nazis. It’s about as far from your score to “Frozen” as you can get.

It’s all about icy and snowy textures, so in a way “The 12th Man” is pretty close to “Frozen.” No, thank you for that. I love working on Harald’s movie. Doing it is one of those great Hollywood stories with a happy ending. I’m an avid reader of history books, particularly military history and particularly ones about World War Two. One of my favorite books is called “We Die Alone,” and it’s the story of Jan Baalrud, who was forced out of Norway during World War Two when the Germans invaded. He returned to sabotage and harass the German troops. And before he ever even got a chance to do any of that, they caught him and his resistance fighters. He was the only who wasn’t captured and killed and had to make his way on foot over the course of three months to Sweden, which was a neutral country. While the Germans couldn’t follow him there, they followed him all the way to the border during that whole time. Jan underwent some really excruciating ordeals on his journey.

Jan’s story is as much a part of a national culture in Norway as some of our greatest warrior stories here in the US. I mentioned this story to Harald at the wrap party for “Pink Panther 2” because I knew he was from Norway. His eyes lit up, and he said, “Oh my gosh, I’ve been wanting to make that movie my whole life. I’m still working on it. It’s my, it’s my passion project. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to do it, but I really hope to one day to call you about it.” Of course, Hollywood is the place where people make all kinds of promises that are not kept. But then, almost ten years later, that’s exactly what happened. It was mind-blowing that Harald got to make the film, and that fact that he kept his promise. “The 12th Man” was a wonderful collaboration.

It’s actually a beautiful, subtle score in spite of the often-horrific events that happen to Jan.

Harald came to my studio to talk about the film, and got really excited when he saw the modular synth. He encouraged me to use that any way I could. Of course, we also knew that we wanted this to be primarily an orchestral score. I deliberately tried to develop my orchestral voice for this film so I could adopt a more visceral and minimalist approach, especially for the action sequences. But at the same time, “The 12th Man” is a very emotional story. So I spent a lot of time working on, on themes and I think it’s one of my most thematic scores for all of the minimalism and electronics in it. The experience was extremely rewarding. And it also gave me an opportunity to revisit the indigenous music that I’d used for “Frozen” as well. So there’s a little bit of what you could call “Norwegian yodeling” in it.

What’s coming up for you?

Well, I’m, I’m just starting a Christmas movie for Netflix that stars Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. It’s being that’s being produced by Chris Columbus, whom I’ve worked with as a director a couple of times. It should be a really fun project. Then after that will be the sequel to “Frozen,” which I’m excited about.

In the end, do you think it’s important to have truly lighthearted superhero movies like “Ant-Man and the Wasp” among far darker movies in the genre?

Absolutely. When you’re making a mega-franchises the way Marvel is, you want to have as many different kinds of movies in there as possible in it so that you don’t repeat yourself and end up getting superhero fatigue. That’s why I think it’s brilliant to follow their heaviest superhero film with this particular franchise.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” opens July 6th with Christophe Beck’s score available digitally on Walt Disney Records HERE


Listen to a solo “Ant-Man” here, join the human web of “Anon” HERE and watch “The 12th Man” HERE

Visit Christophe Beck’s Official Website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records to Release 'Queen of the South' Score

Soundtrack News - Di, 03/07/2018 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records will release [a.23510]Queen of the South--Original Series Score[] composed by the legendary [c.135]Giorgio Moroder[] - his return to TV/film scoring after more than three decades - and [c.4109]Raney Shockne[] ([m.35164]The To Do Lis[]t, Britney Spears). Moroder and Shockne's score is polished electronic brutality that encapsulates vintage synthesizers, classical and Latin elements, and creates a new musical fusion. Building on Moroder / Shockne's original 'Electro-Noir' style, they have broadened their palette and together built on Giorgio's early aesthetics from such films as [m.17074]Midnight Express[], [m.928]American Gigolo[] and [m.4013]Cat People[]. The sweeping 28-track collection is a riveting chronicle that...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Sony Classical Announces 'James Horner - The Classics' Tribute Album

Soundtrack News - Zo, 01/07/2018 - 02:00
Sony Classical is delighted to announce a brand-new album that pays tribute to one of the world's great musical talents, iconic film composer, [c.89]James Horner[] (1953-2015), who would have celebrated his 65th birthday in August this year. Performed by stellar musicians of the day, the album highlights Horner's unique legacy by showcasing some of his greatest ever movie themes, including [m.26293]Titanic[], [m.29634]Avatar[], [m.26790]Troy[] and [m.3187]Braveheart[], to name but a few. This vivid collection of back-to-back blockbuster hits brings together Horner's unmistakeable movie themes, re-imagined in arrangements especially written for some of our top musicians including internet sensations, The Piano Guys; cello wizards,...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Marvel Music & Hollywood Records to Release 'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Za, 30/06/2018 - 02:00
Award-winning composer [c.564]Christophe Beck[] reteams with the Marvel Cinematic Universe to score [m.44832]Ant-Man and the Wasp[], the sequel to [m.35578]Ant-Man[]. The film marks the third collaboration between Beck and director Peyton Reed (Ant-Man) beginning 18 years ago with the romcom hit [m.3321]Bring It On[] (Kirsten Dunst, Paul Rudd). The composer is no stranger to creating a musical voice for superheroes, with score credits including [m.35578]Ant-Man[] (2015), [m.7545]Elektra[] (2005), and the song "Blind Man" for [m.32686]The Amazing Spider-Man 2[] (2014). [m.44832]Ant-Man and the Wasp[] opens in U.S. theaters on July 6, the same day Marvel Music/Hollywood Records are releasing the [a.23554]digital soundtrack to Ant-Man and the Wasp Original Motion Picture[]. In addition to...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Hildur Guðnadóttir

Film Music Magazine News - Di, 26/06/2018 - 22:15

While not a movie specifically about immigration, 2015’s “Sicario” depicted the drug war and its effects on both sides of the Mexican / American border with a deeply unsettling truth uncommon to the multiplex – showing why a terrified Latino populace would do anything to flee. Hammering home the converging stories of victims and aggressors was the Oscar-nominated score by Jóhann Jóhannsson, his music comprised of nerve-jangling tonal effects and the haunted emotion of morality gone astray, tension that built with unbearably suspenseful power.

Now after the tragedy of Jóhann son’s sudden passing, it’s his fellow Icelandic collaborator Hildur Guðnadóttir who picks up the nightmarish musical torch, expanding on the suspenseful, and emotional sound of “Sicario” for its sequel “Day of the Soldado.” Here, the hot button issue of illegals is flamingly front and center as the drug cartel’s aid to jihadists has an enraged American government decided to turn Mexico’s illegal empires against each other at all costs. Their two blunt instruments are government agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and his personally crafted weapon Alejandro Gillick (Benicia Del Toro), a lawyer turned punisher by the drug lord’s annihilation of his family. But when Washington’s plan to kidnap a drug boss’ daughter goes lethally astray, the resulting order to wipe the evidence suddenly gives a Sicario who thought nothing of wiping out a dealer’s kids an unexpected note of humanity as he tries to get his young target back across the border.

Having been an integral part of the first “Sicario” score, Guðnadóttir expands Jóhannsson’s mix of primal percussion, knife-cutting tension and brooding lyricism to new, subterranean heights with “Soldado’s” journey through the heart of darkness. Creating a veritable horror score, Guðnadóttir’s lurching themes, grinding metallic percussion and ever-escalating sustains throw the full weight of a government driven to murder and another country where corruption is a way of life down on characters where good and evil are one. It’s a sonic web of treachery, with melody creating a sad sense of morality lost, and just the sliver of redemption. It’s an uncompromising score for an action fictionalization of a reality that will only seem to get worse, but is no less transfixing for it as Guðnadóttir stretches the limits between melody and merciless sound design that gives “Soldado” its unbearable tension and sadness.

Like Jóhannsson, Guðnadóttir began her career in the alternative scene. Staring as a child prodigy on the cello, she’d parlaying her growing talents as a composer and singer into such conceptual solo albums as “Mount A,” “Without Sinking” and “Saman,” as well as playing with such bands as artists as David Sylvian, Throbbing Gristle and cello on Ryuichi Sakamoto’s score for “The Revenant.” Writing for theater and opera, Hildur’s made an impression on the stage of real world-based crime with her score for 2012’s acclaimed Somali piracy film “A Hijacking.” As she collaborated with Jóhann Jóhannsson on the mesmerizing, and sometimes confrontation soundscapes of “Prisoners,” “Sicario” “Arrival” and the forthcoming “Mary Magdalene,” Guðnadóttir’s own voice impressed with her work for the Oscar-nominated documentary “Strong Island” the biopic of the iconic S & M artist “Tom of Finland” and the World War I drama “Journey’s End.” But it’s “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” that not only represents the Icelandic composer’s biggest venture to Hollywood, but also how she’s so capably taken a score’s unique, often terrifying voice into her own melancholy domain, giving new direction into the no-man’s land that a people will do anything to traverse, let alone a killer following his own code of morality.


What particularly interested you in the cello? And what do you think makes its sound stand out among all the orchestral instruments?

It was certainly not the size of it! I think the width of sounds and colors it is capable of producing is what has made me stick with it. The cello can be a very lyrical and romantic boyfriend, but it can also be a very dry and husky aunt. It has been a part of me since I was a baby, so the connection has become very deep and engraved in me.

Through your classical training, what unique “voice” do you think you brought to the cello? And how did singing and choral music get added to your repertoire?

It never suited me to play the way I was “supposed” to play. It made me terrified of doing something wrong and it really got in the way of music for me. My last teacher probably taught me the most by hammering into me that I should “JUST PLAY!” That taught me there is no wrong playing. If I were bringing anything unique to the cello, it would probably be that. I´m just playing it.

Photo by by Antje Taiga Jandrig and Rune Kongsro

I sang in a choir for most of my childhood and my first job was as a solo singing child. I must have been about 8 or 9 years old when I started doing that. And I started singing in bands as a teenager. So singing has always been a part of me. When I first started making solo records, I felt the cello needed more space but the voice was always hidden in the back, to add color to the cello. If you listen carefully you´ll hear it. In my later works it felt like the voice needed a bit more space, so I allowed it to have that.

How did your alternative collaborations and solo work lead you to become interested in film composing?

In my practice I try to be open to what comes my way. I think that film found me more than I found film. I never had any ambitions to become a film composer. I got approached to make music for film about 10 years ago, and since I´m very interested in story telling it seemed like a fun thing to do. Music plays a big part in telling the stories in films and I still enjoy that a lot.

How did you begin your musical partnership with Jóhann Jóhannsson, and why do you think it worked so well?

Jóhann and Hildur

As you can imagine, the Icelandic music scene is pretty tiny. I met Jóhann through mutual friends in Iceland about 20 years ago and our ideas about music and sound instantly resonated very well. From the very first time we worked together we were very much in tune with each other and we ended up working together on almost every single project we both did in some shape or form. If not directly involved we´d always lend each other an ear. We became a bit like each other’s extra set of ears. When you work together so closely over such a long time you form a bond that is like nothing else. You’re able to communicate with a non-verbal ease and trust that only comes with time and practice. I think we also complemented each other in the difference of our personalities and musicality. His strengths were my weaknesses and vice versa.

Right from your own solo composing start, you dealt with real-life, international crime with “A Hijacking,” which was about a Danish ship hijacked by Somali pirates. What particular talent do you think you brought to the genre?

Communication is key in any kind of collaboration and I had an incredibly good and effortless dialogue with the director and editor of “A Hijacking.” Right from the start we were in agreement about what we thought was right for the film. I think it´s always a good sign when you don´t have to fight for your ideas, when things just fall naturally in place it feels like the story is being told in the way it wants to be told. I was just one element of telling that story.

Do you think there’s a natural mournfulness to your Icelandic homeland that adds to your darker works?

Where you come from is naturally always going to influence who\ you are and what you do. But I haven’t spent much time in Iceland in the last several years, so it is definitely not a conscious influence.

What was it like for you and Jóhann to first collaborate with director Dennis Villeneuve on “Prisoners?” especially when it came to developing a dark sound that would evolve for “Sicario?”

It was a really lovely experience and the dialogue was great and effortless. I wasn´t in contact with Dennis Villeneuve myself, but I was in very close contact with Jóhann about the process and music. It seemed evident that dark strings were needed for “Prisoners” and I think “Sicario” was a natural evolution of those dark strings. They got darker and the tonal material was stripped down.

How did you get the solo assignment of scoring “Sicario: Day of the Soldado?” And given how much of Hollywood hit that film was, did the expectations for a sequel make it particularly challenging?

Jóhann was unable to do the score for the sequel, so he suggested that I would take that on since I was a big part of the first score. The first “Sicario” score was obviously a massive success and it´s being copied in such a vast amount of films these days. I definitely did not want to make yet another copy of its cue called “The Beast,” but still wanted to stay true to the sound world we had created for the first film. So in a way it was both challenging and not challenging, if that makes any sense!

How would you say this films’ director Stefano Sollima differed from Dennis? And how much of the original “Sicario” sound did he want to continue with while exploring new musical dimensions for the characters?

It was important to Stefano that the emotional side of the characters was drawn out. So there is more emotional underscoring in “Soldado” and it is also twice the length of the previous score. It is obviously a very different way of scoring, since the music in this film has a very different function. Stefano wanted to keep elements of the heavy dryness of the previous score but he was very keen on adding “romantic” and sweeter elements to the mix. This decision was based the characters showing more emotion than in the previous film, with Alejandro´s unexpected emotional side probably being the best example of that.

How important was the score in tying together the film’s various stories, especially when contrasting the Mexican daughter of a drug kingpin an American-Mexican teen pulled into human smuggling?

It was a pretty important part of the story telling using the tried and tested way of scoring so that each character has a sound and/or theme. That can often help the audience following who is who and how they connect.

If anything, “Soldado” throws us deeper into the world caught between sound design and score. How did you navigate between them?

I´m very happy to hear you say that. I think it´s hugely important to connect the music and sound design, especially in a film like this where the sound design often takes up a lot of space. You really don´t want to fight it, but try to compliment it. So for example in the very big shooting scenes with a lot of percussion, it was important to me that the percussion resonated with the types of guns being shot.

There’s often a distorted, lurching quality to the score that could easily be mistaken as belonging to a horror movie. What do you think that says about playing a situation of real, unimaginable terror that’s being inflicted on two countries, but particularly in Latin America?

I am in no way an expert on the situation in Latin America, but watching from afar what is going with drug wars and how immigrants are being treated it often does seem like a horror movie. But it is real.

What was your approach to keeping the onscreen violence “real” without delivering the kind of “fun” that audiences would want from the genre?

I don´t think either of the “Sicario” films have a lot of space for “fun,” so it was quite an easy decision for me to steer away from that. I suspect that the audience will gather from the first film that there is no “hasta la vista baby” equivalent in this film either.

There’s an unbearable amount of musical tension to the score, particularly in the way the score builds with sustains and rhythm. What’s the art to that?

The only way that I can explain the art of any element of scoring is that you try to follow and enhance the story that is being told. There is a lot of tension building up from the get go in “Soldado,” so it felt natural that the music would help enhance that. Exactly how you do that is of course different between films. You just try to listen to what kind of sounds will help the image and try to create that with any means possible.

How did you want to capture the high-tech weaponry, and military planning that goes into the drug hit squad?

For me it feels very cold and merciless. So I tried to use only sounds that I feel are of that quality, played in quite a ruthless way.

Tell us how you used metallic effects and percussion in the score. And just how merciless did you think you could be with them?

We basically used any sort of scrap metal we could find for the percussion. There´s not a whole lot of “regular drums” in the score. One of the star instruments is an old metallic film casing that was beaten to death and bowed to pieces during the recording process. We played a vast amount of objects and instruments with various bows for a lot the higher register elements and percussion; pianos, harps, kalimbas, pizza boxes, shelves, left over pieces of wood and random bit and pieces of metal. The biggest star instrument is the Halldoraphone, which was built by Halldór Úlfarsson. It’s a cross over between a cello and a soaring feedback monster. It is one of my main instruments these days and is responsible for a large amount of the ruthlessness of the score.

How did you want to play the innocence of the youths caught up in this nightmarish world?

Those were drawn out with simple and naive melodies.

How did you want to gradually bring melody into the score? Do you think it would have been bearable without it?

The melodies were brought in to help us sympathize with the emotional side of the characters and underline the helplessness of a young innocent child that is forced into this hellish drug war world. I think the use of melodies probably does help with that.

In a way, do you think “Soldado” fools you into thinking what kind of score it will be, especially in the way it develops to reveal the unexpected use of the orchestra?

I think I am not the one to judge that. I am sure people will already have their expectations based on the original “Sicario” score before even going to see “Soldado.” The only thing I can hope to have achieved is to have served the story in a way it deserves.

What was it like to work on the film from your homebase, and how important was it to have an LA-based music editor?

Photo by Antje Taiga Jandrig and Rune Kongsro

I really love my studio in Berlin and I feel very much at home here which allows me a lot of freedom while creating. It was really great to be working with Lee Scott, who was the film’s music editor in Los Angeles, because he could be my connection to the editing room when things started to heat up closer the end. That was very helpful.

Does scoring relentless subjects like “Sicario” take a psychological toll as you often capture the worst of humanity?

I think it probably does in some ways. But you also detach yourself a bit from the subject in order to get through it. I think you to put up a bit of a shield when you are working for months on end on a scene where 50 people are being killed, because at the end of each day, you still need to go home and cook dinner for your child with the hope that your tears are not going to be the only salt in the dinner. I prefer sea salt.

How do you see your scoring of “Soldado” in the greater international fight to bring more work to female composers, especially when it comes to dark, aggressive material that producers might not see a woman scoring?

It makes me unbelievably happy that women are finally being heard in the film industry. I feel like there´s an actual change happening at the moment and if I can be a part of that of that change nothing would give me greater joy. I have lost the count of times that it has been said to me that I couldn´t possibly have written “this kind of music being a woman”. Music should in my opinion be free of gender. It is simply a form of communication. I think everyone has a soft side and a darker side and all genders should be free to express both sides. Its just freedom of speech.

Would you like to continue working as a featured soloist on other composer’s scores, as you did with Ryuichi Sakamoto on “The Revenant?”

I choose projects based on the communication I have with the people involved and not the title I have. I absolutely loved working with Sakamoto on that score. He is such an incredible person and wonderful musician.

Had Jóhann heard your own “Sicario” work before he passed? And if so, what was his reaction to it?

Yes he had heard most of it. He really liked it. His first reaction was actually giggling and saying “Jesus Hildur, you make all of boys look like kittens!”

Can you tell us about “Mary Magdalene,” which is your final collaboration with Jóhann?

Her story is such an incredible one and it is heartbreaking how she was judged and portrayed as an evil prostitute. The score is the polar opposite to “Sicario.” It´s much more based on melody than texture.

Do you think it’s ironically fitting for a spiritual score to represent your lasting musical bond? And in your way, do you hope to capture the music that would have kept evolving from Jóhann, especially given that he likely left unfinished projects?

I guess there is some irony in that. We were musical soulmates for so long. Growing up together as we did, he will always be a big part of me. I will never be able to capture his music. I can only hope to capture the music that is given to me. But I think he was too stubborn to leave me for good, so I am sure that he´ll be dropping by. And knowing him, he´ll definitely have a thing or two to say about what´s being made.

What’s coming up for you? And what kind of film and performance work would you like to explore?

There are quite a few exciting things on the horizon. I´ll be writing the music to an HBO series about Chernobyl, which is just the most incredible and terrifying story. They are shooting it now. I also have a few pieces I´m working on that are not film related – a new record, an opera and a composition for organ and strings.

Would you like to see your composing branch out for Hollywood movies with “Soldado?”

I would like to see my work continue branching out for projects that I love and find interesting. Those are not necessarily Hollywood movies. A good story is a good story whether it is made in Hollywood or not.


“Sicario: Day of the Soldado” opens in theaters on June 29, with Hildur Guðnadóttir’s score available on Varese Sarabande Records HERE

Listen to Hildur and Jóhann ’s soundtrack for “Mary Magdalene” HERE and Hildur’s “Without Sinking” HERE

Visit Hildur Guðnadóttir’s website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Announcing Screen Music Connect, September 24th 2018

Film Music Magazine News - Di, 26/06/2018 - 21:03

Screen Music Connect is a new event series set to explore and celebrate the richly diverse world of Screen Music – from Film and Television through to Video Games and Virtual Reality.

Screen Music Connect is aimed at the music production communities of all media industries – from pro, semi-pro and amateur composers though to producers, engineers, music supervisors and audio directors – plus fans of soundtracks and anyone with an interest in the evolution of screen music.

Screen Music Connect‘s inaugural event will take place on Monday 24th September at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London.

For more info, please click here

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: WaterTower Music Announces 'Westworld' Season 2 Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Di, 26/06/2018 - 02:00
WaterTower Music is pleased to announce today's release of the soundtrack to the second season of HBO's [m.42756]Westworld[], which is now available on the heels of last night's thrilling finale. [a.23523]Westworld: Season 2 (Music From The HBO Series)[] features the music of multi-Grammy and Emmy Award-nominated composer [c.1065]Ramin Djawadi[], and is now available digitally for streaming and for purchase, with a 2-CD set and several collectible vinyl configurations planned for later this year. [a.23523]Westworld: Season 2 (Music From The HBO Series)[] features 29 tracks comprising the most powerful musical moments of Season 2. The album includes composer [c.1065]Ramin Djawadi[]'s iconic [m.42756]Westworld[] theme, his original...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: June 22

Soundtrack News - Za, 23/06/2018 - 02:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.8705]Junkie XL[] ([m.47844]Mortal Engines[]), [c.5889]H. Scott Salinas[] ([m.51674]A Private War[]) and [c.361]Brian Tyler[] & [c.25304]John Carey[] ([m.52913]Escape Room[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 30 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2018-06-19]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week is (with music by): [m.44256]Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom[] ([c.534]Michael Giacchino[]). We are tracking song credits for the following new theatrical releases: -[m.44256]Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom[] (1 song) The following composers are celebrating their...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Varese Sarabande to Release 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Do, 21/06/2018 - 02:00
Music.Film Recordings and Varèse Sarabande will release the [a.23218]Sicario: Day of the Soldado – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] digitally and on CD June 29, 2018 and on LP on August 31. The album features original score composed by [c.7675]Hildur Guðnadóttir[] ([m.48862]Mary Magdalene[], [m.52612]Chernobyl[]). The late [c.3198]Jóhann Jóhannsson[] received an Oscar nomination for the music he wrote for [m.41837]Sicario[] (also available via Varèse Sarabande). Guðnadóttir had collaborated with Jóhannsson on [m.41837]Sicario[] and many projects over the years. "Jóhann and I worked together very closely on almost every single project we both did for about 15 years," she said. "He passed away so recently, so I have not really...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

‘Composing for the Screen 2018’ Film Scoring Mentorship Program Applications Open!

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 20/06/2018 - 23:10

Sponsored by BMI and directed by composer Rick Baitz, this New York City-based program selects a small number of emerging film composers and provides a series of workshops, followed by continued consultation and development.

This is a unique opportunity for nine emerging film composers to participate in a high-level workshop, where music for media will be examined from many perspectives: compositional, psychological, dramatic, stylistic—and more. Participants will explore a wide range of excerpts – studying, composing, recording, and sharing work in a supportive environment. Students will leave the workshop with greater confidence in their own voices as composers for the screen, an enhanced sensitivity to the art of scoring narrative, several strong cues for their reel, and an increased understanding of the film music business.

During the year following the workshop, the group will meet on occasion to share work and discuss students’ development as film composers.

The program, which is in its 11th year, will be open to the emerging film composer who has some experience in composing for the screen and wants to learn more about it. Free to accepted participants, it will be limited to nine students.

Accepted students are responsible for their own transportation to and accommodations in the New York area for the six-week duration of the workshop. Enrollees must commit to attendance at all six sessions.

Qualifications: Experience and credits as a composer; media scoring experience preferred. Ability to read and write music. Access to music production equipment: computer, DAW (Logic, Digital Performer, ProTools, Cubase, etc.), notation software (Sibelius, Finale); ability to create MIDI or hybrid scores.

Download the application here.

For more information, please contact Rick Baitz at filmmusic@rickbaitz.com, or Doreen Ringer-Ross at dross@bmi.com.

Schedule:

Six sessions, to be held at the BMI Media Room, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St, NYC 10007 (except for Session 5, recording session).

1. Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018, 4-7 PM

2. Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, 4-7 PM

3. Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018, 4-7 PM

4. Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, 4-7 PM

(Two-week break to prepare final project)

5. Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018 – Recording Session, 2-5:30 PM, location TBD

6. Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, 4-7 PM

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Marvel Music Announces 'Luke Cage' Season 2 Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Wo, 20/06/2018 - 02:00
Marvel is set to release the digital soundtrack for the second season of the Netflix original series [m.46294]Marvel's Luke Cage[] on June 22, 2018. The album coincides with the release of the second season of the hit series on the same day and features original score by returning composers [c.18569]Ali Shaheed Muhammad[] (A Tribe Called Quest) and [c.3188]Adrian Younge[] (Ghostface Killah, JAY-Z, Bilal, Souls of Mischief). The duo's critically acclaimed score for Season 1 featured influences ranging from David Axelrod, [c.137]Ennio Morricone[], to A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan, which were brought to life in the series and soundtrack. The musical world created by the composers became a character, infused with hip-hop culture...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: 'Gotti' Soundtrack Released

Soundtrack News - Za, 16/06/2018 - 02:00
Sony Music Masterworks proudly announces the release of [a.23434]Gotti (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[]. The film stars John Travolta in the title role. Both the film and soundtrack are out today. The album features the film's original score music by GRAMMY Award-winning, multi-platinum international music icon, business entrepreneur and motivational [c.24825]Armando Christian Perez[], aka [c.24825]Pitbull[], and his long-time Grammy-winning producer [c.24826]Jorge Gomez[]. The project marks [c.24825]Pitbull[]'s first assignment scoring a motion picture soundtrack. The soundtrack also includes three solo [c.24825]Pitbull[] tracks, one of them being the single "AMORE" featuring Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Leona...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Germaine Franco

Film Music Magazine News - Wo, 13/06/2018 - 22:23

It might be said that a sure sign of a post-“Hangover” Hollywood’s equal opportunity consciousness is that women can get just as down and dirty as the bros in movies from “Bridesmaids” to “Girls Trip.” Yet for all of the wolfpack comedies that get put out, no female composer has been able to shatter the bro music barrier – until now. That trailblazer, in many more respects than one, is Germaine Franco, who now gets to be “It” with “Tag.” Very loosely based on a real, decades-running game that’s followed friends from childhood to greying hair, this spin on the buddy comedy has “Hangover’s” nerd Ed Helms as Hoagie, leading his now-grown comrades to finally lay hands on their super suave pal Jerry (Jeremy Renner) who’s never been “It” in thirty years, and now plans to retire his unequalled record with the event of his marriage.

The guys’ antics to capture this Neo-like Zen Master of a game that most people left behind with puberty is given a super fun spy-oriented score by Franco that’s perfectly in line with the rude caper genre bro sound. Playful rock beats jam with electric guitar and cunning strings, the score escalating into epically suspenseful orchestrations as the machinations to capture Jerry spiral into madness. Franco creates a rhythmically hip playing field where everyone is a suspect, truly becoming one of the boys as her music chases Jerry from pre-wedding banquet to golf course and a wrecked Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with a humorously rude attitude to spare.

For all of the empowering lip service that Hollywood gives them, female composers are relegated to sensitive, costume stuff when it comes to the major multiplex entries. However, Franco is most definitely winning that sexist game for herself and her peers. Rising through the ranks as an assistant, orchestrator and music producer on numerous John Powell scores from “The Italian Job” to “The Bourne Supremacy” and “Kung Fu Panda,” Franco’s Latina heritage played a part in her solo composing efforts with “3 Americas,” “Visions of Aztlan” and “Margarita” before the acclaimed indie urban dramedy “Dope.” Franco then got to dance with both cartoon musical salutes to Mexico’s Day of the Dead as an additional composer on “Book of Life,” then repeating that job as well as co-producing the Oscar-lauded songs and Mexico sessions for Disney’s multicultural hit “Coco.” She became the first female composer hired by Dreamworks with her particular animated skills, while applying live action empowerment to the LA Latina power of the Starz TV series “Vida,” Inducted into the Academy as its first Latina composer, Franco has now become a prime mover in The Alliance of Women Composers. But for a composer and songwriter who definitely knows how to get her groove on, the act of playing “Tag” just might be the biggest breakthrough of her rising career.


Was becoming a film composer always in musical equation for you?

I was a performer before I was a composer. I started composing in college while attending Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. I used to write charts for my Latin-jazz band, then I started writing for theater. Eventually, I moved to film composition via theater.

Who were the composers and songwriting artists that inspired you?

I was inspired by many types of composers: Bach, Debussy, Schumann, Bartok, Cage, Milhaud, Copeland, Bernstein, Revueltas, Chavez, Alberto Iglesias, John Powell, Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman, John Agustín Lara, Kurt Weil, Cachao, Mercedes Sosa, Carol King, Siedah Garrett, Sergio Mendes, Chick Corea, The Kronos Quartet.

How did you make your first break in the industry?

I scored a film for the Hispanic Film Project sponsored by Universal. My first film was recorded at the Fox Scoring stage with Armin Steiner mixing and dubbed by Chris Jenkins. Also, shortly after that, Raul Pérez at Sony Music hired me to produce source music for “Thunderheart,” which was directed by Michael Apted.

Germaine Franco and John Powell

How did working with John Powell help you grow, and ultimately break out as a composer?

I worked with John Powell for many years. First of all, he is one of the kindest human beings I know. He is also a musical genius. I watched him write scores and songs, produce music, and make amazing sounds for every new soundtrack. He allowed me to develop as a musician and composer by keeping me involved in every stage of the music production process as an additional composer, arranger, orchestrator, producer and session musician. I worked on over 35 tent pole projects alongside him. He always encouraged me to work on my own projects on the side as well, which I did for many years before leaving his studio.

Do you think your abilities as a songwriter also helped in your instrumental development?

I was an instrumentalist before I was a songwriter. I used to sit at the piano for many hours as a young girl playing pop songs over and over, plus often improvising. I think that discipline helped in my development as a songwriter.

Your first film to get widespread notice was “Dope.” What was that scoring experience like, especially given how the film veered from urban teen comedy to more serious issues in the characters’ urban neighborhood?

I received the film “Dope” from Hans Zimmer’s studio manager, Steve Kofsky. When I started it, it was a small independent film. Who knew it would be so well received at Sundance, and later sold to Open Road? When I first saw it, I connected with the message of that film. It was well made. It had great songs by Pharrell Williams. I loved working with Rick Famuyiwa. He is a visionary filmmaker. He had a clear sense of what type of music he wanted. It was a mix of electronica, hip hop and some emotional cues with strings.

You had the opportunity to write additional music for the first “Day of the Dead” animated musical “Book of Life.” How did that experience help you with “Coco?”

I was very happy to work on “The Book of Life” project as I admire and love Gustavo Santaolalla’s work. Also, the Fox Music Department, Danielle Diego and Rebecca Morelatto, had been very supportive of my work. I think working on “Book of Life” helped prepare me for “Coco” because it was another large project that had a super quick deadline. In addition to writing additional score, I was able to arrange and orchestrate some of the songs with Gustavo including “Cielito Lindo” sung by Placido Domingo and “No Matter Where You Are” by Us the Duo. Every project brings more experience. I also scored the “Book of Life” video game on my own as well, which was a wonderful experience.

What would you say were those films’ biggest similarities, and differences?

Both films may be about the same celebration held in Mexico, but they are very different regarding the story. “The Book of Life” directed by Jorge Gutierrez and score and songs composed by Gustavo Santaolalla had more of a pan-Latino soundtrack, with all types of musical styles from across Latin America and many rooted in Mexican culture too. “Coco” directed by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina with score by Michael Giacchino is different because most of the musical styles of the songs are specifically of Mexican origin. Also, we recorded many songs and source cues in Mexico with Mexican musicians of multiple styles. I think both films are super inspiring to many Latinos around the world.

Before “Tag,” you scored a movie about the public jokester group the Jankosians with “Public Disturbance.” How do you think that set you up to score “Tag?”

I spent several months last year working with director Danny Lee. Danny wanted a very serious EDM and hip hop approach to his score. I really got my feet wet with comedy on that project. I hear it will be released digitally by Lionsgate soon, I hope.

How did you get to play “Tag?”

I have to thank my agent Laura Engel at Kraft- Engel Management and of course Erin Scully and Jeff Tomsic. I had an interview and met with Jeff and Josh Crocker, the film’s editor. Jeff heard my work from “Dope” and “Public Disturbance”, also some of my action cues from the “Kung Fu Panda” theme parks. He must have heard something he liked!

This is essentially a “bro” comedy about male bonding. How do you get into that headset, and could you relate to it at all?

Yes, of course I could relate. I related to the characters, to the playful and intense aspect of the game, and the strong theme of friendship throughout the film. I started out as a drummer. I have always been one of the only females hanging out with guys from an early age. Currently, I am often one of the few women in the control room. I am also the mother of a son who has multiple friends over all of the time, so relating to these men and their game of tag was easy.

You could also say that “Tag” is a caper movie as well. Do you think there’s a jazzy-spy sound that comes with the genre?

I think the jazzy-spy sound is a typical sound that one would expect to hear. Jeff specifically did not want the score to be “jazzy”. We spent a lot of time exploring ways to avoid that. Mainly, instead of a triangle, bongo, and jazz approach, we decided electronica and rhythm section worked best.

Like “Game Night,” your score takes an essentially “serious” approach to how far these antics will go. Was it always the intent not to have the score by “funny” as such?

Jeff wanted to portray the seriousness of the game, and how the players spend multiple hours strategizing on how to avoid being tagged. There are funny moments, but by playing them serious with action music, it makes it more over the top. It was quite fun to do so. Jeff was great at directing me.

In that way, do you think “Tag” could set you up to do a serious 007-style score?

There are some cues that could lead to that idea. Yes, bring on the 007style films, please! I would love to do work on those types of films.

How did you want to thematically distinguish the guys, especially when it comes to the seemingly invincible character of Jerry and the slo-mo way he plans his escapes?

Jeff had specific ideas about the themes for the film. He wanted to build a theme that had elements of a caper theme that could also be transformed into a friendship theme, which is more of the fun theme with synths and band. In addition, we created a mission theme, to show how much the characters were quite serious about the game of tag. This is the big low brass and percussive theme.

What was your favorite scene to score of attempted “Tag,” and why?

My favorite scene is the final action scene with the slo-mo escape. I can’t give away the story, but we worked carefully to build the score around the SFX and slo-mo dialogue. So the score starts out sounding like musical sound design and then morphs into a true action heroic theme.

How far out did you want to go in musically conveying the extreme lengths they go to in trying to tag Jerry?

We use the caper theme in various scenes with different orchestral elements and band to show that although they go through multiple extremes to catch him, it is always a game and still fun.

Talk about your “Tag” ensemble, especially when it comes to the score’s groove. And how did you want to blend more conventional strings with it?

The score’s band ensemble is made up of some stellar musicians including Alex Al, bassist (Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder), Jeff Chamberlain, drummer (Pearl Jam), Luis Conte, percussionist and my previous Latin Percussion teacher (James Taylor), and Andrew Synoweic, drummer (Michael Bublé, Shakira, “Coco”). I had worked with all of the players before, except Matt. I knew what they could do, and what great players they are. Their groove helps to give the score a human element when with mixed with the electronica. After recording the band, I added live orchestra on top of the tracks. In some cases, I left my synth strings to make the sound more of a hybrid orchestra, instead of a completely orchestral sound. Jeff likes the bridge of the two.


There’s also the fun use of chorus in “Tag.” Where did that idea come from?

Jeff wanted a big sound with chorus for that track. It was going to be way over the top. So… originally I scored it with nonsense Latin lyrics. Later, I had a poem that my brother, international artist Michael Petry, had sent me at the start of the project. He was so happy for me when I got the gig, so he wrote and said “You may need some lyrics for a song.” I put the lyrics away for a few months. When the wedding cue came up, I had the English lyrics translated to Latin by Ryan Dooley, a friend. I set the poem to the melodic material I had developed, and Jeff liked it. We had live singers conducted by Edie Lehmann Boddicker. It was great fun.

You’ve scored the acclaimed Starz series “Vida,” which is about Latinas in LA. Would you say it’s one of the most relatable projects you’ve worked on?

Vida S1 2018 Marketing Shoot Dec 17 2017

I relate to all of my projects in some way. I am a storyteller, so I don’t need to look like the characters. I relate to the characters as a human beings. I do my best to find the tone of a narrative as soon as possible.

What was your approach for the show?

“Vida’s” creator Tanya Saracho wanted a very organic and realistic drama series. She didn’t want to overplay the emotional elements of the scenes. As it is a show about Latin culture in Boyle Heights, we mixed electronica, hip hop and traditional Latin sounds with indigenous instruments and even Nahuatl chant on one song.

What was it like to get recognition from ASCAP for your career, as well as getting inducted into the Academy?

Receiving the ASCAP Award in the name of Shirley Walker was a career highlight. I have been helped and supported by so many people in my life, I felt like I was floating on air the night I was able to thank all of my mentors, especially John Powell. To be honored on the same night as John was quite special. We enjoyed playing music together with all of our musician and singer friends. It was a night to be remembered. Also, being invited to join the Academy was a great honor. Having worked many years behind the scenes, it was great to be recognized for my many years of work, prior to my work on “Coco”!

Germaine at 5 Cat Studios

Tell us about your work on behalf of the Alliance of Women Composers. Do you think that for all of the promises from Hollywood to advance their cause that it still largely remains lip service, or do you think things are really improving when it comes to getting them assignments?

I think that in general, we are still in a very dire situation according to the data that is coming out of all the research institutes like USC and UCLA. Female composers made up 3% of the composers on the top films in 2017. We tend to hover between 2% and 3% in any given year. In the past ten years though, the number is even lower, 1.4% according to USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. So, while a few of us are doing well, and there are some new programs for women and people of color, overall, there is much room for improvement in regards to inclusion. At the same time, programs like the Sundance Institute’s Music and Sound Design Lab are supporting women in a big way. This is really helpful to our situation. I currently work with the Alliance, Women In Media, Women in Film, and AMPAS to raise the visibility of females and women of color in the industry.

How important is it for your continued work to reflect your Latina heritage?

I feel it is important to continue my work as a composer foremost. I draw upon my Mexican roots for strength and courage. Music is universal, so regardless of our origin, as musicians, we create music of all genres and styles.

When you look at hit comedies like “Bridesmaids” and “Girls Trip,” do you think Hollywood is realizing that women can be equally capable of raucous comedic behavior? And do you think it’s important to see that sort of equal opportunity?

Women are capable of making babies, they are capable of directing, writing, shooting, acting, producing, composing. We can do it all. Yes, equitable representation in all genres and fields is the goal.

How do you think “Tag” sets you up for gender / ethnic-neutral assignments when it comes to just being viewed as the composer of note on major studio releases?

I don’t really know what the outcome of this project will be. I hope people go see the movie and enjoy it like I did. The phrase “gender neutral and ethnic/neutral” sounds so pedantic. Of course, in the same way that people don’t say a British composer can only write British music, or a German composer can only write German music, I hope people get past saying, “Oh, doesn’t she only do Latin music because she is Mexican?” That’s really part of this inclusion problem, isn’t it?


“Tag” opens on June 15th, with Germaine Franco’s score available digitally that day from Lakeshore Records HERE

Buy Germaine Franco’s soundtrack to “Margarita” HERE and “Shovel Buddies” HERE

Dance to the Day of the Dead with “Book of Life” HERE and “Coco” HERE

Join The Alliance For Women Film Composers HERE

Visit Germaine Franco’s website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: May 25

Soundtrack News - Za, 26/05/2018 - 02:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.568]Jon Brion[] ([m.50621]Christopher Robin[]), [c.274]Harry Gregson-Williams[] ([m.51914]Penguins[]) and [c.1354]Benjamin Wallfisch[] ([m.51673]Serenity[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 35 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2018-05-22]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week is (with music by): [m.44204]Solo: A Star Wars Story[] ([c.231]John Williams[] & [c.171]John Powell[]). We are tracking song credits for the following new theatrical releases: -[m.44204]Solo: A Star Wars Story[] (No songs) -[m.47582]Feral[] (2 songs) -[m.43265]How to Talk to Girls at...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records to Release 'Legion' Season 2 Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Do, 24/05/2018 - 02:00
Lakeshore Records will release the [a.23241]Legion: Season Two - Original Television Soundtrack[] digitally on May 25th, featuring original music by Emmy Award winning composer [c.3178]Jeff Russo[] ([m.39686]Fargo[], [m.45422]The Night Of[]). Legion is the story of "David Haller" (Dan Stevens), a man who believed himself to be schizophrenic only to discover that he may actually be the most powerful mutant the world has ever seen. Russo goes deeper and pushes more boundaries with the second season score. [m.46788]Legion[] currently airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT on FX. Says Russo: "There wasn't a directive this season except to write some new themes for our new characters and locations. Vermillion! Farouk! Future Syd! It's a roller...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws
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