Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: 'Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle' Soundtrack Released

Soundtrack News - Za, 01/12/2018 - 01:00
WaterTower Music is pleased to announce today's release of the original motion picture soundtrack for [m.41752]Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle[], the reinvention of Rudyard Kipling's beloved masterpiece by acclaimed actor and director Andy Serkis, in which a boy torn between two worlds accepts his destiny and becomes a legend. [m.41752]Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle[] will see a limited theatrical release from Nov. 29 in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and London, and will then be available globally on December 7, only on Netflix, and will have an expanded theatrical release in additional theaters in the U.S. and UK. The film was scored by British composer, producer, album artist, club DJ, songwriter, broadcaster,...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lorne Balfe to Music Direct & Perform at The Game Awards

Soundtrack News - Wo, 28/11/2018 - 01:00
BAFTA nominated composer [c.1465]Lorne Balfe[] ([m.52857]FIFA 19[], [m.35689]Assassin's Creed[] Franchise, [m.35207]Skylanders[] Franchise) has been brought on to be the Music Director and conductor of The Game Awards, the video game industry's biggest celebration. In addition to directing all the musical elements of the show, Lorne will perform himself live on stage. Audience members can expect to hear live music from the Game of the Year nominees. The event will take place on December 6th at 6:00 PM PST at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The Game Awards will once again celebrate the best games and esports of 2018, in addition to world premiering the most anticipated games of the future. Visit...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: November 23

Soundtrack News - Za, 24/11/2018 - 01:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.1318]Daniel Pemberton[] & [c.6285]Samuel Sim[] ([m.54235]The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance[]), [c.14]Marco Beltrami[] ([m.54236]Velvet Buzzsaw[]) and [c.5141]Tom Howe[] ([m.54228]Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 20 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2018-11-21]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.51446]Creed II[] ([c.2269]Ludwig Goransson[]), [m.46879]Ralph Breaks the Internet[] ([c.1480]Henry Jackman[]) and [m.47761]Robin Hood[] ([c.2507]Joseph Trapanese[]). Expanding nationwide from its limited...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: 'Creed II' Soundtrack Released

Soundtrack News - Za, 17/11/2018 - 01:00
Sony Music announces the release of [a.24579]Creed II (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] with music from three-time Grammy Award nominee [c.]Ludwig Goransson[] ([c.]Black Panther[], [c.]Fruitvale Station[]). Göransson makes his return to the [m.43173]Creed[] franchise for film's soundtrack, which includes a star-studded lineup of features from A$AP Rocky, Vince Staples and Jacob Banks. Composer [c.2269]Ludwig Goransson[] comments: "In [m.51446]Creed II[], Creed is now at the peak of his career. He is facing big responsibilities and decisions that will affect not only him but also his family. When I wrote the score for [m.51446]Creed II[], I continued on my journey from the first [m.43173]Creed[]. The themes that were more...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records to Release 'Destroyer' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Vr, 16/11/2018 - 01:00
Lakeshore Records is pleased to announce the release of [a.24527]Destroyer – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[]. The album features original music by composer [c.452]Theodore Shapiro[]. This is the latest collaboration between Shapiro and visionary director Karyn Kusama, in a partnership that began with [m.9785]Girlfight[]. When asked about the music, composer [c.452]Theodore Shapiro[] focuses on the person at the heart of the film, "The music for [m.52879]Destroyer[] comes first and foremost out of the character of Detective Erin Bell, played by the wonderful actor Nicole Kidman. Guided by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi's superb script, and through extensive conversations with Karyn Kusama, we as a team began to wrestle with how to...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Weekly Roundup: November 9

Soundtrack News - Za, 10/11/2018 - 01:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.149]Thomas Newman[] ([m.53770]Tolkien[]), [c.]Javier Navarette[] ([m.54145]Emperor[]) and [c.121]Harry Manfredini[] ([m.54141]Hanukkah[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 40 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2018-11-07]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.39880]Dr. Seuss' The Grinch[] (Danny Elfman), [m.48865]The Girl in the Spider's Web[] ([c.1287]Roque Banos[]) and [m.49403]Overlord[] ([c.2345]Jed Kurzel[]). Expanding nationwide from its limited release last month is [m.51961]Beautiful Boy[] (no score). We are tracking song credits...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Roque Banos

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 08/11/2018 - 01:48

The Goth-hacker super heroine of Nordic noir has gone through many variations in her translation from Sweden to Hollywood, even as her locale has remained the same. As Lisbeth Salander’s gaunt, tatoo’d embodiment transitioned from a Swede to an American and now an Englishwoman, so to has her scoring from Jacob Groth’s pulsing fusion of electronics and strings in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Girl Who Played With Fire” to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ nerve-ripping industrial attack on David Fincher’s take on “Girl.” Now given a psychologically damaged, female avenging cyber angel who’d rather speak in computer code, Spanish composer Roque Banos takes a woman as cold as her bleak surroundings and gives Salander her most musically well-rounded portrait yet in service to Fede Alvarez’s adaptation of “The Girl in the Spider’s Web.”

Having previously provided Alvarez with the ferocious, alarm-shrieking score of the impressive “Evil Dead” reboot and conjuring a suspenseful blind man’s tonal bluff for “Don’t Breath,” Banos doesn’t so much re-invent Salander’s musical portrait as much as he gives her emotional depth that the character dare not speak. Beginning with a dangerous synth pulse edge, Banos speaks in conspiratorial menace as Salander finds herself entangled in a villainous plot hatched from a tragic family tree, the music dripping with the malice of seemingly unstoppable evil. But as Banos’ complex threads begin to unravel, the score’s symphonic voice comes to the forefront, until dazzling, dynamic action suitable for a Marvel avenger adds terrifically exciting dimension to this theme-driven score, making for the most fully shaded Salander soundtrack yet.

But if there was no chance that anyone could keep Salander down, such was not the case with the eternal Don Quixote – or at least an insane actor taking on the windmill-jousting armor of Miguel de Cervante’s iconic character. Quixote’s clash with an egocentric American adman in Spain was director Terry Gilliam’s own dragon to slay – the first abortive attempt at shooting “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” only resulting in 2003’s documentary “Lost in La Mancha.” But never a crazed filmmaker to let a project thrown him, Gilliam finally resurrected the project in the recast forms of Jonathan Pryce and Adam Driver as a vainglorious actor-knight and director dealing with a tragic past.

Given the project’s need for a Spanish composer, it was only natural that Banos would be Gilliam’s Sancho Panza in tilting this reborn Quixote’s windmills. It’s a task robustly accomplished with fiery ethnicity and surreal music to spare. With a religious chorus launching “Quixote’s” quest, Banos unleashes a fully romantic and adventurous orchestra that joins with Spanish guitar, flute and a heroic horn, becoming a pretender’s impossible vision of himself in a score that’s a spiritual descendent of Michael Kamen’s rousing fantasia for Gilliam’s “Adventures of Baron Munchausen.” Waltzing, playing comedic tricks and taking us into the melodic desert of Arabia to boot, Banos’ terrific score is a highlight in a prolific career that’s bridged the gap between his Hollywood and Spanish assignments, joining with this “Spider’s Web” to show him off as a composer of many tones, particularly when the come to portraying a woman of ferocious inner resolve and a pretend knight losing his mind in service of a director who’s wonderfully lost his long ago.

Had you watched the previous “Girl” movies before taking on this project? And if so, what was your impression of them, their scores and Lisbeth’s character in terms of the series’ popularity?

Rooney Mara as Elisabeth Salander (L), Noomi Rapace as Elisabeth Salander (R)

I only saw the David Fincher one, and actually that was my next thing to do when I knew about Fede doing this movie. However, Fede thought it was better this way, and he even asked me to not watch the previous films so I wouldn’t be influenced by them. But I know all books very well. Now that I’ve finished “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” I’ve finally seen all of the other films, and I very much like Lisbeth’s character in all of them. I also enjoyed the movies’ scores a lot. They reflect very accurately Lisbeth spirit, which is what we really feel engaged with.

How important was it for you to establish your own musical approach here? And was it also important to link your work to the past scores in some fashion to retain a sort of musical continuity?

Oh not at all. We wanted to start from scratch, giving a new sound from the music to this younger Lisbeth. Never at any moment did we think about having continuity with the other scores.

How do you think that Clare Foy’s makes Lisbeth Salander her own, and how did that it influenced your musical portrayal of her?

Claire Foy as Elisabeth Salander

Foy wanted to create a very special character. Her Lisbeth is a woman that won’t give up and can never allow herself to fall under any circumstance. Musically we though we needed a badass theme to reflect this. But at the same time we needed a theme to show her weakest part, which is the reminder of her past. We wanted to get across the idea that it’s always something that can hunt her, and makes her weak.

Where the first “Girl” was made in Sweden, David Fincher’s version also used Sweden as its setting in service of an English language remake. Now she’s being interpreted behind the scenes by Spaniards. How do you think those international layers of cinematic vision, and scoring add to this saga?

I have a very simple but true answer for this question. We are all filmmakers, no matter where we’re from. There is not much from my Spaniard blood in this score. Same as Fede (I think) in the movie, and I believe the same happens with the other members from the crew in their field.

Did your collaboration with Fede differ on this movie? And do you think that scoring the outright horror of “Evil Dead” and the suspense of “Don’t Breath” for him prepared you for well this score?

Fede and I have learned from our previous collaborations. That’s evident. And this score have been more complicated that the others as the movie is a bigger production. Our collaboration in this one has been a bit different but very productive and enjoyable as well. We have kept one thing in common with our other movies though, which is the joy of experimenting with sounds to incorporate into the score. In this case, the glitchy sound of data transferring is a big addition that’s we think has never been used in a film score before.

Given that the past Salander scores have been given a lot of electronic and industrial rhythms, this is the first “Girl” score with an especially strong orchestral voice – which is particularly strong in the main theme and the chase sequences. Why did you want to take that symphonic approach?

That was one of our major questions when we started to talk about the score. And it has been a long way to get to this final approach. We wanted to make sure we were in the right path, so we tried many other styles before we got to the orchestra. Fede and I always have been more attracted to acoustic sounds, than electronics. But in a way we though at first that we should start from electronic and industrial music. As the composition process went on, we found a way to marry orchestral and electronics with a final result of a have the orchestra be dominant in the score, which is what we really liked. We called this final result “Hitchcock and the Machine”.

As Lisbeth isn’t a woman who’s about to reveal herself emotionally, was it important for the score to hear her humanity?

Absolutely! This movie is all about Lisbeth Salander. We have been always showing with the music who she is, how she feels, her emotions, her fears and of course her heart. I really hope after seeing the movie that everyone knows the unknown about Lisbeth and finally understand why she became who she is.

Talk about your music for the villainous organization. How dark and oppressive did you want to make the score?

Their music has a very simple low and dark theme, consisting of a movement of a minor 3rd. But the really villainous theme is for Lisbeth’s past. This is based in the serial dodecaphonic technique. This is, all notes from a chromatic scale forming a melody. I very much love this style that was invented and developed in the 20th century by such a great composers as Shoëmberg, Webern or Bartok. That approach creates a very frightening musical place where you don’t want to go. And the past is Lisbeth’s biggest fear.

How did you want to capture Elisabeth’s hacking skills and her heists? Do you musically see her as a sort of goth-punk superhero given her skills?

For Elisabeth’s hacking skills we used a self-built library of sounds in the score. They’re the glitchy sounds of different data transferring, like the fax machine or the telephone line when it connects to the internet. We really though it could be Lisbeth’s “language.” It’s also a great and unique way to show her spirit. She is like a byte that rapidly gets into the net and infects, steals, and transfers at her will.


How did you want to portray Elisabeth’s relationship to her sister?

I have used a specific theme for her sister. It is the most emotional theme in the score, which tells us about their nice and peaceful past together that was broken one day. This differs a lot from Lisbeth theme, which is very “bad-ass” music. At the same time Camilla is one of the villains so the score plays the antagonist part of her. The result is Camille becoming the past that Lisbeth doesn’t want to confront.

Would you say there’s a tragic quality to their music?

Yes, in fact the tragic can be heard in the score from the very beginning of the movie. The main titles are given this spirit that will remain for the whole movie.

Roque Banos and Fede Alvarez


How do you hope that your and Fede’s work continues Elisabeth’s story?

Lisbeth is a superheroine that we all empathize with. I hope her future would continue this way!

Now onto “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.” What did Terry Gilliam’s movies mean to you before this film came your way?

I am, from a longtime and huge fan of Terry and his movies, from watching him in films like “The Life of Brian” to seeing those that he wrote and directed like “Brazil” and “Time Bandits.” They’re among my favorite movies. In a way, feel very much like one of Gilliam’s characters!

What did it feel like to be part of a movie that was given this rebirth after its first, legendary failure to get finished decades ago?

I feel like I’m taking part of film history! No matter how the movie does, it’s going to be remembered as having this heroic “rescue.”

Were you brought into the “Quixote” during its production?

Roque Banos and Terry Gilliam

Yes! Terry and I have been working from before the shooting. It has been a very long but joyful journey. Working with him was beyond my expectations! Every time we sat together listening to the cues, or talking about how to approach a new scene, it was very funny and enjoyable. Terry infected me with his enthusiasm and energy.

How did you want your music to play into “Don Quixote’s” increasingly surreal nature?

The music is always adapting to the nature of each scene. Therefore, it is constantly changing and evolving as the movie does. The movie becomes very volatile and unpredictable as it goes on, and the score plays a big role in that. The themes get distorted, the harmony gets more dissonant, and the styles are more and more unequal. At the end of the film, the madness gets all the prominence as with all of Terry Gilliam’s movies. Yet it all still makes sense! So the music comes back to a “make-sense” version of the thematic stuff to give that feeling, even though the madness is absolute.

Did you want to play up the idea of the “ugly American” at loose in Spain?

Not at all. Actually the music plays in a way that we all love Toby, who’s magnificently played by Adam Driver.

Tell us about the score’s in Spanish identity.

The score has many styles – epic, adventure, drama and comedy. They’re all combined with orchestra, the Flamenco and Arabic music, which you hear when Quixote thinks of himself in an Arab king’s palace. The Spanish guitar is a protagonist throughout the score.

How do you think the score sees “Don Quixote” in his own mind as the “real” character, versus the crazed actor he is in reality?

The score has to say that Don Quixote really believes who he is. So we always play the music seriously within mind. He believes all he sees is true and we have to always be with him.

There’s also some overtly comic scoring in “Don Quixote.” How broad did you want to make the humor?

Of course, at points we needed to go comic and have “Mickey Mouse’ing.” But I didn’t want to go too far with it so we could always preserves the seriousness that Don Quixote has about himself.

Your use of the orchestra reminded me of the kind of approach that Michael Kamen took for such unhinged Gilliam fairy tales as “Brazil” and “Baron Munchausen.” Did you hope to capture his spirit here?

I’m not familiar with Michael’s scores for those films. That is possibly a coincidence. But I’m happy you noticed that, it means we were aiming for the same propose, and I’m honored by that.

When the legal complications revolving around “Don Quixote” arose, did you become worried that the film and score would ever come out?

‘Don Quixote’ star Jonathan Pryce and director Terry Gilliam

There had been several moments where everything seemed to fall apart. But Terry was a very strong and invasive director. Thanks to him, the movie was finally finished and released.

What do you think that “Girl” and “Don Quixote” show about your musical range when it comes to your work between Spain and Hollywood?

I hope they show a unique language, even though they are such different stories. If not, at least they fit the movies’ needs. I tried to put all my skills and heart at the service of every movie I work on, and it doesn’t matter wether it comes from Spain or Hollywood. The sleepless nights thinking on the themes, the long hours sitting at my piano trying to find them, and the emotion when they finally work in the movie is the same.


“The Girl in the Spider’s Web” opens November 9th, with Roque Banos’ score available on Sony Classical HERE. “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” will hopefully be playing in America. In the meantime, purchase Roque’s score HERE

Listen to Roque Banos’ scores for Fede Alvarez’s “Evil Dead” HERE and “Don’t Breath” HERE.

Find Roque Banos soundtracks HERE

Visit Roque Banos’ website HERE

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Francis Lai Dies at 86

Soundtrack News - Do, 08/11/2018 - 01:00
[c.431]Francis Lai[], Academy Award-winning composer of [m.15885]Love Story[], passed away yesterday at age 86 in Paris, France. The composer's other credits include Claude Lelouch's [m.16292]A Man and a Woman (Un homme et une femme)[] and [m.15462]Live for Live[], for both of which he received two Golden Globe nominations in the "Original Score" and "Original Song" categories, David Hamilton's [m.2501]Bilitis[], Rene Clement's [m.54127]Rider on the Rain[], Dino Risi's [m.1137]Anima Persa[], Claude Zidi's [m.18040]My New Partner[], Michael Winner's [m.12062]I'll Never Forget What's'isname[] and Nikita Mikhalkov's [m.5805]Dark Eyes[]. Lai also received a Grammy Award nomination for his [m.15885]Love Story[]...

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NEWS: Weekly Roundup: November 2

Soundtrack News - Za, 03/11/2018 - 01:00
Announced this week were new composer assignments for [c.1745]Trent Reznor[] & [c.1283]Atticus Ross[] ([m.52970]The Woman in the Window[]), [c.50]Patrick Doyle[] ([m.54094]All Is True[]) and [c.76]Elliot Goldenthal[] ([m.54095]The Glorias: A Life on the Road[]), among many others. For the full list of composer and music supervisor assignments from this week, [url./composers/]click here[]. Over 40 soundtrack albums were released this week. [da.2018-10-30]Click here for the full schedule[]. Opening in theaters nationwide this week are (with music by): [m.49194]Bohemian Rhapsody[] (no score), [m.52140]Nobody's Fool[] ([c.9371]Philip White[]) and [m.47721]The Nutcracker and the Four Realms[] ([c.151]James Newton Howard[]). We are tracking song credits for the...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

Interview with Danny Bensi, Saunder Jurriaans and Joel Edgerton

Film Music Magazine News - Do, 01/11/2018 - 23:55

Among the singular composers to emerge from the world of indie cinema, Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans have stood as an especially haunting, and prolific voice. Meshing styles from the realms of classical and alt. music over a partnership that’s been playing for two decades, Bensi and Jurriaans first got notice alongside 2011’s acclaimed “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” impressing with an eerily stripped-down score for a cult member putting her saviors’ relationship, and lives in danger. “Martha” set the measured pace for numerous tone poems to come from the duo for film and television. It’s an mesmerizing approach that can be both rhythmic and spare in such documentaries as “The Wolfpack” and “LA 92,” capture a nightmarish force from beyond the grave in “Fear the Walking Dead” and “The Autopsy of Jane Doe,” taking on a dream-like quality for “The OA” and “Chef’s Table,” or hear the menacingly rustic vibe of backwoods criminals meeting big city schemers in “Ozark.”

If there’s a running theme through Bensi and Jurriaans tonally shifting work, then it’s their ability to sympathetically listen inside the conflicted headspace of characters on the outside in scores from “Enemy” to “Frank and Lola,” people facing an uncertain oftentimes dark future as they stand in the crossroads of personal growth and relationships. For composers speaking with an angst that people can only hold for so long, “Boy Erased” is an impactful, haunting build to one youth’s cry to his parents’ that he’s gay – a basic, genetic fact that’s an affront to his ultra Christian parents whose compatriots think they can change the impossible through “conversion therapy.”

“Boy Erased” represents the second, impressive teaming between the composers and Australian Joel Edgerton, the often intense actor of “Warrior” and “The Great Gatsby” who revealed his equal talent as a writer and director with “The Gift.” Having built sleek, cunning suspense for Edgerton’s impactful parable on the effects of bullying, Bensi and Jurriaans now bring their ever-intensifying skills for this true story, adapted by Edgerton from Garrard Conley’s memoir “Boy Erased.” Though keeping his “sinful” longings to himself, Jared’s assault at a Christian college retreat ends up alarming his parents, who send the teen to a cultish therapy program, whose tortuous goal at any cost is Christ-believing heterosexuality, with failure not an option for those crushed by religion-inflicted shame.

As opposed to a rousing symphonic score that would push the obvious emotional buttons, Bensi and Jurriaans match Edgerton’s understated approach behind the camera (as well as his in front of it as a menacingly sympathetic program leader) with hypnotic intensity. Using an angelic like choir, twisting strings, melancholy piano and rustic militarism, the composer bring a sense of mercilessly sympathetic structure to “Boy Erased,” their themes creating a sense of repetition, much like the endless moral inventory and straight manning-up exercises that Jared is forced to endure, Steadily rising with intensity and poignancy, the composers become the voice welling inside of the impeccably mannered boy, whose revelation of his true identity threatens to destroy his life and family because of their biblically mandated intolerance.

As powerful as understated scoring and filmmaking can be, “Boy Erased” once against represents a challenging, impactfully creative voice from Bensi and Jurriaans, who now join with Edgerton to talk about a collaboration that reaps haunting, psychologically attuned rewards that reflect on any number of impressive scores.

Could you tell us about your route to becoming film composers? And how big of an influence was modern classical music, as opposed to movie soundtracks on it?

Danny Bensi ad Saunder Jurriaans: We had never really considered the idea of becoming film composers until about 8 years ago when we scored our friend Alistair Banks Griffin’s first film called “Two Gates Of Sleep”. We’d spent most of our lives writing/performing/recording music but never for films until then. So we could say we sort of fell into film scoring and then pursued it wholeheartedly. We definitely listen to and draw inspiration from modern classical music from Phillip Glass and Steve Reich to Penderecki and Arvo Part. We also love to discover new composers – there was a great podcast called “Meet The Composer” that we were both fans of, but it seems like they stopped making new episodes back in 2017 unfortunately! Film scores were probably less of an obvious influence on our composition – even though we were listening, digesting and loving them during our formative years we never thought we’d be making them, but they definitely snuck into our brains.

How did you first meet? And how do you think your musical approaches were able to mesh so well?

DS: We met in the late nineties when Danny was visiting a childhood friend at the Rhode Island School of Design. There he met Saunder who was playing bass in a band at the time. Danny was invited to join in with his cello from time to time and we became friends ever since. We were happy to find out we both listened to metal growing up, and that our parents both admired classical music. We moved to New York in 2001 and started a band called Priestbird. Priestbird began as in instrumental post rock trio that dabbled in all kinds of music from rock/metal to classical/impressionist music. The band was known for its range of styles, musicianship, captivating live performances, and unique sonic landscapes. We were often told after shows that we should definitely try our hand at scoring films. Back in the studio, we were layering string parts, experimenting with instruments and musical genres all the time, and flipping recording techniques on their head in order to try to discover new unique sounds.


Your first “breakthrough” film was “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” Do you think your eerily intimate score, and the indie acclaim set the tone of your career to follow?

DS: Yes. Soon after “Martha Marcy May Marlene” we started getting calls from filmmakers who loved the score (and the film). The approach of “less is more” and “not leading the audience” by over-scoring seemed to be what every director who approached us wanted at the time. We were lucky enough to be offered a myriad of projects over the course of time, so we were able to branch out and try different genres of film. The New York indie film world is pretty closely knit, so our names were passed around pretty quickly to filmmakers. On one hand, the “Martha Marcy May Marlene” score gave us a voice in the industry but it’s not like the films that followed were asking for the same kind of score.

Tell us about meeting Joel Edgerton for “The Gift,” and his approach to music.

DS: Luke Doolan was the editor on “The Gift” and a old close friend of Joel’s. He had used some of our music as temp score and Joel wanted to know who we were just from the music alone, so we arranged a meeting in LA and we all got along right away. Joel is a firecracker – cracking jokes, endlessly intelligent, and super down to earth. He has excellent ideas for music and a wonderful vocabulary to describe what he’s looking for.

Joel Edgerton in “The Gift”

Joel, how did Danny and Saunder come to your attention?

Joel Edgerton: I had come to know them through a couple of film friends of mine in New York, documentary types and the like. I really liked what they did so I was glad that they responded. We had a great collaboration doing the score for “The Gift.” Cutting in temporary music can also be tricky as a director, because you get very attached to it. Then you end up telling the composer to write something similar to what you were cutting the film with, which can be creatively regretful to the musician. So this time on “Boy Erased,” I tried not to use much of a temp score as to give the Danny and Saunder room to help the movie get its own feeling. For “Boy Erased,” I wanted to get Danny and Saunder in earlier to the process so that could contribute to the story – even when we were in the scriptwriting stage. We all thought it would be good to do this soundtrack ass more of a tonal thing, which would give more feeling to the story.

How did you all work together for “Boy Erased?” And would you say there were tonal, and thematic story similarities between these two projects for Joel?

DS: We worked very much in the same way as we did on “The Gift,” although “Boy Erased” was a longer process as there were many edits to the film. The opening piano pieces for each film have their similarities, but the rest of the scores don’t hold all that much in common – aside from some “eerie bendy strings” here and there that Joel loves. As for story similarities, there aren’t a ton. We actually found it all very refreshing to work with Joel on a such a different kind of film – especially one which is so emotionally charged, socially relevant, and poignant in our time.

Director JOEL EDGERTON on the set of THE GIFT.
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Joel, how important was it for you to get across the idea of brainwashing in this repressive environment?

JE: It’s the setting of misinformation where you can be drilled with the wrong ideals and easily lead down a path where others would like to change your sexuality to their liking. It’s their mantra of “we are here to help you” that gives the idea that they actually are helping this people.

How do you think that it translates to the music in terms of what the music should be doing?

JE: Music is an interesting thing for me, especially as I am very visual person. I wanted Bensi and Saunder to psychology put themselves into the score, as much as any actor of behind the scenes department working on it. As Katherine Bigelow told me on “Zero Dark Thirty,” you should hire the best crew and get out of their way! For “Boy Erased” I wanted the music to have a beauty and hopefulness and a times a darkness when it came to the family element I wanted it to the therapy scenes to have a feeling of psychological horror and drama. As for the religious cult elements, that was a negotiation because we didn’t want it to speak too much to the Catholic part to it. But then, film scores can be very subjective, so we were very careful as to make sure that we were all in tune with the final result.

Why did you decide to take a mostly stripped-down approach to “Boy Erased” as opposed to a more symphonic one?

DS: Our decisions on orchestration and texture are mostly informed by cinematography, editing, and performances in the film. Is the aesthetic of the film expansive and open, or intimate and internal? Boy Erased was definitely the latter. That said, we love trying to be as minimal as possible – using the orchestra and being more symphonic we feel should be saved for climaxes or even unsuspecting moments – especially since nowadays it’s so easy to dial it in using midi samples, and the sound of the big Hollywood orchestra for 2 hours can often be numbing and forgettable. The sound of 8 cellos playing a part is obviously very different than say, 3 players or even 1 soloist. We do a lot of experimentation figuring out what communicates the sentiment needed – and we love to try and surprise the audience with unsuspecting scores. It’s quite common to want to “fill in the gaps” when writing film music – as if the music might feel “more sophisticated” if it has more parts. But we don’t think that’s the case. It’s the single, specific performances that we really find crucial – knowing when it’s the ‘right’ one takes years of sophisticated listening, performing, study, and training.

How important were themes to this score?

DS: As with many of our films we try to be subtle with themes. In “Boy Erased,” there are typical melodic themes, but also textural or instrumental themes. Sometimes it’s just enough to hear an instrument or a particular sound again in order for the audience to be reminded of a certain character/emotion/story line. For example, there is a theme for Jared’s internal struggle played on 2 violins and 1 church organ pedal (a rather strange orchestration!) We hear it when the pastors come to their house to tell the family to send their child to conversion therapy. The same music is heard again in the film when Jared goes for a jog and has his first real meltdown. That piece is played for a third and final, time by a whole orchestra when Jared is at Cameron’s mock funeral and we can see he’s strongly contemplating leaving. These three scenes are related by Jared’s anxiety – but the melody/orchestration is not necessarily a leitmotif where we need to hear it every time we see that character on the screen. It’s just one of many anxiety themes we wrote for him. It’s our job to know when and where it is suitable to have these themes return. And to do that, long discussions and agreements need to be reached with the director – to make sure the team is all on the same page.

How did you want the music to play Jared’s parents?

DS: We discussed the music for Jared’s parents as being warm and searching, with a hint of “something isn’t quite right.” His parents are on a similar personal journey, struggling with their own beliefs in their own way. We get the sense that his parents really do want to help him, really do love him, and really are doing their best to help him.


How did you want your music to reflect the militaristic routine that the program puts these people through?

DS: Coming up with music for LIA (Love In Action) was challenging in that although many of us may not agree with these camps, there are still over 3000 of them – which means a lot of people believe they are perhaps successful at “converting people.” We discussed with Joel that we should portray LIA with an “open mind” of sorts. We agreed that it’s not our place to portray LIA as a terrible place – the audience can formulate that opinion for themselves should they desire. Perhaps a work of art reaches people more deeply if they are left to figure things out on their own. It was extremely important to us also not to mock the camps or any religious doctrines. So we decided to be very subtle: a military snare drum when the attendees are being lined up or bossed around like soldier recruits…or quirky pizzicatos and confusing rhythms for when they draw their genograms, which illustrate their dysfunctional and perhaps abusive families.

Did you want to use voices to capture the idea of not-so heavenly Christianity in the score?

DS: We recorded a small group of boys singing rhythmical vowels and consonants that we could layer into the score. The idea there was to just give a sense of church music to the score, since religion is a strong aspect to this film, but also to add the inevitable human connection that vocal music achieves. The sound of the boy’s voices in particular, also carries a sense of innocence and fragility that we thought reflected Jared in so many ways. In speaking with Joel, we all agreed that there was no reason to go too ‘religious’ with the score – just to gently nod in that direction.

Your use of the piano is especially haunting in conveying loneliness. What made that instrument important here?

DS: There are really two types of piano we hear in the score. The grand piano recordings for this score were played by a professional pianist on a large Steinway piano in Brooklyn. That piano has a harder, more stoic, classical sound that we found worked best for some of the bigger, more expansive pieces and the more rhythmic, driving pieces as well. The other piano recordings are performed by either one of us on our studio uprights – super close-miced and often with their dampers on which gives a soft percussive sound, leaving strange harmonics ringing all over the place. These pieces often feel much more, intimate but also more strange and otherworldly.

Much of “Boy Erased” is watching Jared try to find his own voice. How did you want to capture his frustration and boiling anger?

DS: One of our favorite aspects of the film right away was Lucas Hedges performance. Often his perpetually furrowed brow was all we needed for inspiration! He is down-to-earth and relatable, approaching difficult situations with maturity and intelligence, but he is also so fragile and troubled. There’s so much bubbling constantly in his mind, and it’s all portrayed flawless by Hedges, so we didn’t feel the need to “help” film in that sense. We chose to create these meditative, cyclical pieces to compliment his incessant thinking and processing. There are many syncopated rhythms and different musical characters diving in and out, giving the impression of gears turning.

There’s always the threat of what awaits Jared should he truly reveal himself. How did you want to capture that impending dread of potentially being thrown out of his house and sundering the relationship with his parents?

DS: It wasn’t too difficult to do this especially since everybody’s acting performances are so strong and engaging. However, there are many aspects to the music that create dread. Regurgitating melodic ideas over and over with slight infractions exhibits a kind of “stuck in the mud” feeling… Also, some of the more Beethoven-esque piano pieces have more slowly churning dark chord structures. There is also a heavy ‘weight’ to the performances from the musicians which dramatizes the heaviness on Jared’s shoulders.

Do you think you have a particular talent for playing characters who don’t fit in with society’s morays, or outrightly rebel against them?

DS: Haha! Yes, we’d say we lean towards the more conflicted protagonists! We especially love to score films with multi-faceted characters. It really opens the playing field for us creatively. “Boy Erased” is full of them.


Did what’s happening in this country add to the dread, anger and tragedy that you instilled in the score as well?

DS: Yes we can safely say that what’s happening in this country made us really think quite carefully about the musical choices we made. It also inspired us greatly to do our absolute best – as we imagined people from all walks of life coming to see the film – with us trying to reach them. We must add that we had an innate underlying sense of honor and gratitude for being a part of this relevant film.

Joel, how important was it for the music not to say, “This is evil,” or make an obvious emotional statement?

JE: Though it was important not to go too far with that, there were times I felt that the music needed a bit of emotional judgment to it. As for the therapy moments I was glad to have those quiet moments for the danger and the confusion. So there were are parts where I didn’t want to go too far, but I didn’t want an obvious laden score either.

Did you want to make a moral judgment with the score?

DS: Absolutely not. There are over 3000 of these programs still in existence, which means a significant number of people in this country believe these programs work. Change is something that comes when you reach out to people and meet them on their own ground – not when you coerce them into believing something. We believe our job as composers on this film was to encourage audience members to have their own thoughts and not to tell them how to feel. Hopefully a film like this that avoids condemnation or finger pointing, but rather tells an honest story that will encourage dialogue rather than make people pull further back into their own echo chambers.

It’s amazing that these straight “conversions” are still going on in this country. How do you hope the effectiveness of “Boy Erased” and its score might help change minds?

JE: I think that the music shows that this “therapy” can be a bad thing. Yet we all wanted to make this as accessible as possible to document a truth while letting the viewers decide for themselves. So I didn’t want the film or music to be too “avant-garde” for lack of a better word, or to come across as an “indie” movie. To accomplish that, I trusted my instincts and my composers. I love that Bensi and Saunder didn’t write an obvious score, I also loved that it has this swinging string element to it – a pendulum-like aspect of a mind that’s swinging between those ideas and the changes he’s responding to.

Bensi and Saunder, you did an impressive job with such supernatural projects as “The Autopsy of Jane Doe.” Could you tell us about handling genre material, and what was it like taking on “Fear of the Walking Dead?”

DS: We had a blast working on “The Autopsy Of Jane Doe”. The Director André Øvredal gave us some direction but generally told us to “just do your thing!” We wanted to try some experiments with referencing orchestrations like Stravinsky’s “The Rite Of Spring” or referencing (Andre’s idea) the religious undertones in the music when the ark is opened in “Raider’s Of The Lost Ark.” “Fear Of The Waking Dead” was a fun challenge in that it definitely isn’t just a horror genre film but more a human drama with some horror moments. We’re very happy with the way the score turned out – it was a long haul to do 16 episodes but worth it!

“Ozark” has just been renewed for a third season on Netflix. What was your approach for combining rural music with the idea of big city avarice being visited upon the boonies?

DS: For “Ozark,” we started conceptualizing the sound even before they started shooting season 1. From Jason Bateman’s expertly communicated ideas of the tone of the show, we started coming up with sound and texture ideas. We made recordings of “junk” percussion (metal pipes, plastic containers, etc.) around the streets of New York – we used this dry, often distorted relentless percussion as the backbone of the score – maybe referencing old boats, noisy jet skis, campers, abandoned cars and trailer parks. We then layered it with more organic sounding instruments often played in strange ways – lots of slapping and smacking our poor instruments, and then we added further layers of super distorted analog synths and other manipulated pads. We save the rare – more organic, orchestral-ish moments for grandiose establishing shots of the landscape – or moments when a main character is seemingly “out of options” and emotionally distraught. But the essence of the Ozark score is relentless anxiety and DARKNESS!

Another notable Netflix show to feature your work is “Chef’s Table.” Did you both have a love of fine dining before taking on the project? And do you think your style is especially apt for so many luscious shots of slo-mo cooking?

DS: Well we certainly love good food and jump at any occasion for a food adventure! The Corrado Assenza episode in season 4 takes place in Sicily. It was such joy to work on the music that we tried to give an Italian flare to wherever possible. Danny is half Italian and has spent much time in Italy and also in Sicily – so this episode was especially close to his heart. The Albert Adria episode was right up our alley – another tortured, amazing soul! We had a great time with these episodes – a lot of work as they are pretty much wall-to-wall score, but satisfying because the music really plays front and center.

Documentaries have really showcased your work from “LA 92” to “The Wolfpack” and “Amanda Knox.” Do you think they allow even more musical experimentation?

It’s hard to say whether documentaries allow for “more” musical experimentation. With all the dialogue and explaining that needs to happen in most documentaries, there is sometimes little room for music to flourish. But we’ve been really lucky to have opportunities to score some fantastic documentaries where we did have some creative wiggle room. “LA 92” was particularly exciting in that the music was really the narrator – guiding the audience through the story. The directors TJ & Dan were so excited and open to something unique, bold and big! This was another project that we felt spoke so much about our current state of affairs, and also left a lot of room for important dialogue and deep introspection.

What can we expect for your work on the second season of “American Gods,” and did the fantastical template that Brian Reitzell set up for the first episodes provide a road map of sorts?

DS: Brian Reitzell most certainly set a beautiful playing field for us – we loved the first season and thought it was groundbreaking. He has helped set the stage for that creative freedom and we are taking full advantage of it! We’re really having blast with Season 2. There are really no limits in this crazy show, so we’re doing some wild stuff.

Your work really is like few scores out there, especially in the indie world. How do you maintain that sense of originality? And what do you think makes a collaboration like yours work after so many projects?

DS: Well we often freely admit to people when they ask us “how we do it” that actually, most of the time – we really don’t know what we’re doing! Obviously we now have a lot of experience and the technical aspects of scoring films are pretty second nature. However, we really make an effort with every film or show to take ourselves out of our comfort zone and get back to NOT knowing what we’re doing, because that’s where we excel! Picking up new instruments, working with new groups and individual musicians, using new gear… Because we really don’t have any formal training as “film scorers” we never really do anything the way it’s traditionally done. There were times we felt uncomfortable with that, and felt that we’d never make it past a certain point, but now we have really started to embrace it and we just keep adding all our weird techniques to our weird toolbox!

Danny and Saunder

As far as our collaboration – we are fully conscious of how lucky we were to have found each other. We know these kinds of collaborations commonly go sour after a certain amount of time – usually due to ego issues. We both have easy egos, meaning they exist, but we don’t let them get in the way of our collaboration (both with each other AND with filmmakers). You can’t make a good score, or film for that matter if you are unable to work with other creative people – or too proud to make big changes and experiment based on others’ ideas.

Do you hope your score for “Boy Erased” helps people see the light about the effects of “conversion” therapy?

DS: Yes! We hope our score helps the film to reach as many audiences as possible so that they can become aware of conversion therapy and how it continues to be so prevalent in the US today.

Be converted to the music of Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans when you listen to the score of “Boy Erased” on Backlot Records HERE. Then unwrap their first “Gift” for Joel Edgerton HERE

Listen to more Bensi and Saunder soundtracks HERE

Watch “Ozark” and “Chef’s Table” on Netflix.

Visit Bensi and Saunder’s Website HERE

Thanks to Alexander Portillo for his interview transcription

Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws

NEWS: Lakeshore Records Announces 'If Beale Street Could Talk' Soundtrack

Soundtrack News - Do, 01/11/2018 - 01:00
Lakeshore Records will release [a.24448]If Beale Street Could Talk--Original Motion Picture Soundtrack[] composed by [c.4631]Nicholas Britell[] worldwide digitally on November 9 with a vinyl version forthcoming. It's Britell's second collaboration with writer/director Barry Jenkins and the follow up to his Academy Award-nominated score for [m.46878]Moonlight[]--the Best Picture Oscar winner directed by Jenkins in 2016 (who took home the Best Writing Adapted Screenplay Oscar). Britell brings his limitless creativity to the themes of love and injustice anchoring the film and creates a score sublimely straddling the worlds of classical and jazz. The sound ranges from lush to uncompromisingly experimental thoroughly inhabiting the film to...

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Categorieën: Filmmuziek nieuws
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