Further Examinations: New Interviews & Features

March 8, 2023

Scoring Bruce Willis’ ASSASSIN with Composer Mark Tewarson

Interview Banner

Mark Tewarson has scored Saban Film’s pulse-pounding sci-fi action thriller ASSASSIN, starring Bruce Willis, which marks the final film in the illustrious career of screen icon  following his retirement last year due to aphasia and co-starring Andy Allo, Dominic Purcell, Eugenia Kuzmina, and Nomzamo Mbatha. When revolutionary, experimental human drone tech falls into enemy hands, it is up to the leader of an elite C.I.A. group (Willis) and his team to draft a black-ops soldier into service to retrieve the weapons system at any cost. But when the agent is killed during a secret mission, his wife, Alexa, must take his place in an attempt to bring the man responsible to justice. The soundtrack to ASSASSIN was created with modular synthesizers, strings, piano and percussion. There are background textures made up of warbling synths, and distorted voices that are punctuated with emotive piano and string melodies. There are thundering, submerged sounding drums, pulsing synths, and free radical string jabs. Here, we discuss the creation and configuration of Tewarson’s ASSASSIN score.

Read more details here.


February 3, 2023

Will Bates and the MAYFAIR WITCHES Score


_Alexandra Daddario & Will image copyBased on Anne Rice’s best-selling trilogy, Lives of the Mayfair Witches, the 8-episode series focuses on an intuitive young neurosurgeon, Rowan (Alexandra Daddario), who discovers that she is the unlikely heir to a family of witches. As she grapples with her newfound powers, she must contend with a sinister presence that has haunted her family for generations… Of the soundtrack, composer Will Bates says, “The gothic horror of New Orleans and the complexity of Anne Rice’s characters really allowed me to experiment with instrumentation and themes. I love to make use of the enormous power of melody when working on a show, planting the seed of a theme in 17th century Scotland and allowing it to grow into a new context in contemporary New Orleans.” 

Read the full interview, watch the film’s trailer, and and listen to samples from the score, here.


January 11, 2023

Something In The Basement: Anna Drubich Scoring BARBARIANinterview banner

Anna Drubich is an award-winning film composer based in Los Angeles, originally from Russia, whose diverse body of work can be heard on television, at the cinema and in the theatre, and includes big international projects, animated features, documentaries and plays. In BARBARIAN (2022), a woman staying at an Airbnb discovers that the house she has rented is not what it seems…

Read my interview with the composer on scoring BARBARIAN, sample some music cues, and watch the film’s trailer, here.


January 4, 2023

It’s Not Just The Frost That Bites: Scoring Lovecraftian Horror in FREEZE: An Interview with Duncan Ritchie

freeze-posterFrom Dark Temple Motion Pictures comes FREEZE, the latest horror movie from director Charlie Steeds (THE BARGE PEOPLE). The Lovecraftian horror film follows a rescue mission to the North Pole, spearheaded by Captain Mortimer (Wilton) to retrieve an old friend and his lost expedition crew. But he gets more than he bargained for when his ship is frozen into the ice sheet and set upon by bloodthirsty fish-creatures. The film has been scored by photographer, digital artist, and musician Duncan Ritchie. Based in Australia, Duncan is known for contributing music to the horror film BLACK LAKE (2020), co-producing the talk-show TALKING THE ORVILLE (2022), and scoring the short film THE THING IN THE APARTMENT: CHAPTER II (2017; using his band name “Flowers for Bodysnatchers”).

Read our interview with Duncan about scoring FREEZE and other recent genre films, here.


December 22, 2022

Interview: Marvel’s MIDNIGHT SUNS: Scoring the Video Game With Composers Tim Wynn & Phill Boucher

midnight-suns-splash-panelLaunched on Dec. 2nd 2002, Marvel’s MIDNIGHT SUNS is a tactical role-playing game developed by Firaxis Games in collaboration with Marvel Games. It features comic book characters from multiple Marvel Comics properties, such as Midnight Sons, Avengers, X-Men, and Runaways. Players will be able to create their own superhero named “The Hunter” with a choice of over 40 different powers. The game’s music has been composed by Tim Wynn and Phill Boucher. 

Read the interview here.


December 12, 2022

Interview: Penka Kouneva: A Journey Into DRAGON AGE: ABSOLUTION

dragonage_absolution_season1_episode4_00_01_59_04-1280DRAGON AGE: ABSOLUTION is an animated streaming television series that premiered on Netflix on December 9, 2022. The series is based on the Dragon Age media franchise centered on a series of fantasy role-playing video games created and developed by BioWare. DRAGON AGE: ABSOLUTION explores mature subjects concerning freedom, power, and corruption set against the backdrop of adult animation… The series has been scored by composer Penka Kouneva (PANDORA, MIRA MIRA, ENCOUNTER), who began working in film and television in 1999… Her music is a blend of Bulgarian influences, classical training, rock sensibility, and modern film and game soundtracks. 

Read the interview, watch the trailer, and listen to a sample of her score, here.


November 5, 2022

Crushing It: Scoring Genre Bending Music for TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK

_Transformers Earthspark landscapeMeet a new generation of heroes in TRANSFORMERS: EARTHSPARK, a fun kid-friendly streaming series premiering on Nov. 11 exclusively on Paramount+. The computer-animated television series, based on the Transformers toyline by Hasbro and Takara, will consist of 26 episodes in its first season (the series has already been renewed for a second). The series is composed by Southern California’s Crush Effect (producer duo Jesse Molloy and David Veith) who make genre-bending music that spans from nu-funk to nu-disco to electronic Motown. 

Read the interview here.


October 26, 2022

Pat Irwin: Making A Donation in Music to DEXTER: NEW BLOODdexter-new-blood

Pat Irwin has been living in and making music in New York City since the late 1970’s. He writes music for film and television and recently composed the score for DEXTER: NEW BLOOD which premiered on the Showtime Network on November, 2021 and became the most watched show in Showtime history… We knew that we had a new show, we knew we wanted to make it clear we weren’t in Miami any more. We were in upstate New York, where it was cold and isolated; Dexter has a new identity, he’s Jim Lindsay. It’s a new sound. One of the producers, in particular, was really adamant about it having an ambient sound, and we went with that direction…

Read the full interview here


September 28, 2022the-devil-below

Recent Horror Scores: A Chat With Composer Nima Fakhrara

Iranian-born composer Nima Fakhrara has honed his craft for nearly twenty years by scoring more than 100 feature films, multiple AAA game franchises and international television shows, as well as crafting commercial music for boutique brands. I recently spoke with Nima Fakhrara about some recent horror scores he was involved in.

Read the interview here.


September 24, 2022

Winifred Phillips: Scoring JURASSIC WORLD PRIMAL OPS

jurassic-world-primal-ops-logoWinifred Phillips is a BAFTA nominated composer whose credits include titles in six of the biggest and best franchises in gaming: Lineage, Assassin’s Creed, Total War, God of War, LittleBigPlanet, and The Sims. Her music from the Assassin’s Creed Liberation game was featured in the performance repertoire of the Assassin’s Creed Symphony World Tour, which debuted in Paris with an 80-piece orchestra and choir. Her new score for the Video Game JURASSIC WORLD: PRIMAL OPS is a full-on action score that breathes with the exotic sounds of the jungle and the excitement and danger of the creatures that roam within it.

Read my in-depth interview with Winifred on scoring this adventurous game, here.


September 10, 2022will-bates-cropped-image-from-spotify

Will Bates Meets The DEVIL IN OHIO

In Netflix’s latest thriller DEVIL IN OHIO, created by and based on the book by Daria Polatin, a psychiatrist, Suzanne, is determined to protect a young patient, Mae, who has escaped a mysterious cult, by taking the girl in, inadvertently putting her own family – and life – in danger when she discovers that Mae escaped a devil-worshiping cult in the rural neighboring county. The 8-episode limited series, has been scored by Will Bates, an award-winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, and founder of Fall On Your Sword. 

Read my in-depth interview with Bates on scoring this diabolical limited series, here.


August 27, 2022

Scoring Low-Budget HorrorAn Interview with Film Composer Matt Cannon

image-from-milfs-vs-zombiesMatt Cannon is a horror film composer. His work ranges from various music projects, short films to full length feature work. His main composition style consists of digital and analog synthesizers, hearkening back to styles of John Carpenter, Tim Krog, Claudio Simonetti, Piero Montanari, Richard Band and Victor Spiegel.

Read the full interview here.


August 26, 2022

Scoring Horror: Dara Taylor Accepts THE INVITATION

the-invitation-movie-nathalie-emmanuelWith THE INTERVIEW, Dara Taylor’s score shifts from eerie strings, obscure clangs, and avant-garde melodies to beguiling gothic-romance symphonies. While one portion of the score is classically driven, the other utilizes synthetic and processed elements, such as percussive sounds from pottery and distorted vocals, experimenting with the different sounds the human body can create.

Read the full interview here.


April 8, 2022

Composer Nathan Barr: On Scoring Horror

Nathan Barr Scoring Horror…BORDERLANDS, which is coming up, is going to be totally different from anything I’ve done, and from anything he’s done, so I’ve just followed his lead in terms of the way he’s telling the story. This upcoming film also has Cate Blanchett and Jack Black and Kevin Hart, so it’s going to really be an exciting diversion for both of us from what we’ve done in the past…

Read the interview here.


April 1, 2022

Jon Ekstrand Scores Marvel’s Living Vampire MORBIUS

morbiusInterview by Randall D. Larson

Jon Ekstrand is a Stockholm-based Swedish film composer and artist… 

“During the first discussions we had, there were two components we really wanted. We wanted it to be a synthetic score but we still wanted it to be a horror kind of score, and not the traditional superhero score. Those were the two initial things that we grabbed onto, and I think we held onto them throughout the process, and in the result you hear in the cinema.”

Read the full interview here.


March 26, 2022

Tyler Bates: Scoring “X” horror film with Chelsea Wolfe

Interview by Randall D. Larson

X is a 2022 American erotic slasher film written, directed, produced, and edited by Ti West. The film stars Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, and Scott Mescudi, and takes place in 1979, as a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film at a secluded farmhouse in rural Texas, but the leering interest of their hosts, a reclusive elderly couple, turns violent as night falls, and the cast find themselves fighting for their lives. The film has been scored by Tyler Bates and recording artist Chelsea Wolfe.

Read the interview here.


February 18, 2022

Interview – Arnold Leibovit: Behind the Scenes – Preserving Russell Garcia’s Score to George Pal’s THE TIME MACHINE

img020-2-photo-arnold-russ-timemachineDirector George Pal’s Academy Award®-winning 1960 classic film, THE TIME MACHINE, is perhaps Russell Garcia’s most well known musical work – a thrilling symphonic score bursting with a sense of wonder and adventure. The music is a brilliant mix of dynamism and romanticism that is both beautiful and uplifting… Now after 35 years since the initial vinyl and CD editions, Russell’s rescoring and conducting of his brilliant TIME MACHINE composition is back. Remastered from the original digital stereo elements, this new version includes previously unreleased tracks. The bonus suite from 1961’s ATLANTIS, THE LOST CONTINENT that Garcia also rerecorded is included…

Read the interview about the enhanced, remastered TIME MACHINE soundtrack CD here.


February 3, 2022

Composer Jimmy LaValle: SOMETHING IN THE DIRT – Science Fiction Suspense

something-in-the-dirt-hero-1642812576476“I compose music to compliment the tone of a film,” LaValle says. “The focus is on constructing a mood, using silence as another instrument. I like a dark, melancholic, uplifting quality, which is not as contradictory as it sounds. I find an exclusive aural approach for each film to help it create its own environment, its own world – a cohesive structure that aligns with the director’s vision.”

Read the full interview here.


January 31, 2022

Interview: Tori Letzler: Film Music IN FROM THE COLD


“We had a conversation about our love for ‘90s electronic/ industrial/alternative rock music… and we wanted the score to function for both our time periods: 1990’s Russia and present day mostly Spain. There’s very little organic instruments in this score, except when it’s really necessary to heighten an emotional moment. Vocals also played a huge role, because a big theme in the show is duality – Jenny’s constantly battling with who she is and who she was, and also with the two time periods and the mother/daughter relationship… We need to score this gritty side but we need to have something to bring the human side through as well…”

Read the full interview here.


January 28, 2022

Interview: Kevin Kiner: Scoring PEACEMAKER with Clint Mansell

peacemaker-tv.series.dc_.fandome-trailer.image-01“I guess the challenging part was getting the hybrid part of the score right. The orchestra does have an element and there are action scenes and there are superhero scenes, and scenes of peril and all these things. The orchestra definitely needed to be an element of the score, and melding that with the kind of hair metal sensibility, being able to bring the metal guitars in and out and the big drums in and out with the big arena rock thing in and out of the score in a semi-seamless way. That was a very big challenge.” – Kevin Kiner

Read the full interview here.


December 17, 2021

Michelle Birsky & KevinHenthorn MOTHER_ANDROID small

When the pandemic hit in March 2020, the pair decided to take the leap and move from NY to LA to focus on film composing, and soon were brought on to score MOTHER/ANDROID, which premieres today on Hulu. Together, through their music, Michelle and Kevin seek to help tell stories that broaden minds, raise the female voice, and find truth and beauty in human life…

Read the interview here.


November 22, 2021

Joseph LoDuca Interview – Scoring the CHUCKY Legacy

Joseph LoDuca & the CHUCKY Legacy cropped

“What used to be scary isn’t scary anymore. So you have to be innovative and come up with new ways to sound scary.” Jump scares aren’t getting the same reactions they used to anymore. “You have to get them with the dread,” LoDuca said. As technology has evolved alongside Chucky, LoDuca is able to process and mix his score in ways that would’ve taken forever in the past, and it’s opened new doors to sounds… and SCARES…

Read the extensive interview here.

October 30, 2021

Interview: Torin Borrowdale: Scoring Netflix’s LOCKE & KEY

LOCKE & KEY Torin Borrowdale

“What interested me about LOCKE & KEY was all the possibilities that the music could go into. There’s the horror aspect of it, there’s the fantasy aspect, there’s the family aspect, there’s the drama aspect, and for me it was really exciting to get to explore all these different genres within the same show – to see how they tied together and how they went from one to the next. I think the world that Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez created [in the graphic novel] is just so expansive that it really felt fitting to have an orchestral score be the backdrop for the soundtrack.”

Read the interview here.


October 13, 2021

Fear Grows Inside: Scoring MADRESAn Interview with Composers Isabelle Engman and Gerardo Garcia Jr.

MADRES Interview“Engman & Garcia have utilized indigenous Aztec instruments to create a haunting, lyrical composition that acts as its own character in the film. The eerie score is driven by the melody of the music box, which is an in-world prop and was specially made for the film – it features an original tune by the pair.”
Read the interview here.

October 4, 2021

Interview: Xav Clarke And The Everything Factory: The Sounds of Gumball, Elliott, and Wolfboy

Xav Clarke Wolfboy small bannerWOLFBOY AND THE EVERYTHING FACTORY follows an oddball dreamer named Wolfboy as he discovers a strange realm where fantastical beings create things for the natural world above. To score the series, Xav was given the brief to “go weird, be experimental, and take chances.” What he created is an organic score as playful, curious, and creative as the titular character himself. His music has a purposeful roughness to it in keeping with the creative mantra to make it sound as if Wolfboy could have made the music himself in the Everything Factory.

Read the full interview here.


September 14, 2021

Interview: Herdís Stefánsdóttir – Scoring FX’s Y: THE LAST MAN

fx-hulu-image-1Imagine going about your day when suddenly every person on the planet with a Y chromosome mysteriously DIES… except one. That’s the premise of FX’s new series Y: THE LAST MAN, which premiered on Hulu on September 13. Based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughan, the FX series stars Diane Lane, Ashley Romans, Ben Schnetzer, Olivia Thirlby, and Amber Tamblyn. It is scored by Icelandic composer Herdís Stefánsdóttir, who took an unconventional approach to create an experimental, apocalyptic, adventurous, and hopeful score.

Read the interview and learn more about the series here.

September 5, 2021

The Stairs in the Deep, Dark Woods: Interview: BC Smith: Scoring THE STAIRS

THE STAIRS poster image“The whole idea of THE STAIRS is that they’re an evil presence and a foreign entity that doesn’t belong in the woods. I wanted the score to embrace that idea by composing with sounds and instruments incongruous to the forest and it’s natural serenity… the further they go into the woods the creepier things get, and the deeper and darker the sounds become. The sonic texture changes, and gets stranger throughout their journey…”

Read the full interview here.


September 3, 2021

French Horrors – Interview: Composer Raphaël Gesqua: Diving Into THE DEEP HOUSE

raphael-guesqua-the-deep-house-cover-image “…It was out of the question to make some traditional horror film music with raging strings or other screaming brasses. For this purpose, I tried to create all instruments mainly from real noises I recorded with my smartphone (I’m always doing that, even in vacations, each time I hear an interesting sound, I catch it, thinking to myself “hey, what an interesting color, it would make a great instrument, if electronically reworked a bit” etc.). So, I can say the score was nearly 100% electronically sculpted.”

Read the interview and watch the film’s trailer here

August 27, 2021

Brittany Allen: Scoring AMERICAN HORROR STORIES “Feral”


Brittany Allen is a multi-disciplinary artist, who on the heels of a successful career as an actor, is now emerging as one of the most exciting young female composers to watch. In American Horror Stories’s sixth episode, “Feral,” a husband and wife’s child disappears only to be found later in the care of a tribe of wild, feral humans living in the woods. Inspired by the primal nature of the story, Brittany recorded herself playing instruments with an instinctive recklessness, banging on drums and eking out every sound imaginable abusing a medieval instrument called a psaltery – as if she were one of the wild folk making “music.” 
Read our detailed interview here.


August 14, 2021

Interview: The Surreal Musicality of Spencer Creaghan

surrealestate09-e1626484082233-590x389-1…Recently, Spencer Creaghan completed scoring the SYFY supernatural series SURREALESTATE, an effective mix of comedy and spookery … “A lot of the musical themes are less character themes and more conceptual themes,” he said. “There’s one theme that comes back in almost every episode which we call the ‘ethereal plain.’ We first hear that when Luke and Susan are speaking at the batting cages in episode one, and there was a real sense in that moment that Luke is bringing Susan into his ethereal plain, into his kind of magical world almost as if he is the Obi-Wan to Susan’s Luke Skywalker! And we really wanted to bring out these ideas in the music, as much from the spiritual world as the physical, and I think by focusing on this type of thematic palette allowed the score to be another character…”

Read the full interview here


August 2, 2021

Composer Anne-Sophie Versnaeyen Tangles with OSS 117

oss-117-africaNicolas Bedos’ new film, OSS 117: FROM AFRICA WITH LOVE, which closed this year’s Cannes Film Festival, offers us the third part of the adventures of Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, a.k.a “OSS 117”. Jean Dujardin returns as the French “James Bond” and shares his adventures with the young and promising “OSS 1001” performed by Pierre Niney. For the music of this highly anticipated third installment, Bedos pursued his fruitful collaboration with composer Anne-Sophie Versnaeyen after LA BELLE EPOQUE in 2019… To create the music for OSS 117: From Africa with Love, Versnaeyen was inspired by the greatest adventurers and heroes of the 20th century, translated into music by equally famous composers: John Barry and the timeless James Bond, John Williams and the fearless Indiana Jones, Bill Conti and the unforgettable Rocky, but also Lalo Schifrin, master of legendary adventurous scores (Mission Impossible, Inspector Harry, etc.). This soundtrack combines symphony orchestra with big band, resulting in the heroic and adventurous themes that form the musical heart of adventure films…

Read the full interview here.

July 13, 2021

Frank Ilfman: Musical Style & Influence for GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE


… GUNPOWDER MILKSHAKE is a genre blender the same way BIG BAD WOLVES was. It’s a combination of films – we have that, as you say, retro vibe to it, then we’ve got a bit of that Spaghetti Western feeling in some of the cues, as you’ve seen, and it’s still modern. Then you’ve got something of a comic book feel to it as well, so it’s a combination of genres, but with a through line of the story…

Read the full interview here.


July 4, 2021

walter-mair-till-death-ostWalter Mair on Scoring TILL DEATH

“Emma is constantly either being chased or beset by bad, horrific situations, so I wanted to give the impending threats a bit of an underbelly. We came up with the Contra-Hurdy, which is a combination of a contrabass and a hurdy-gurdy, a medieval instrument… This created some really dark and sinister soundscapes, and that really became the backbone of the score…”

Read the full interview here.


March 29, 2021

BLOOD OF ZEUS: An Interview with Composer Paul Edward Francis

blood-of-zeus-2-banner“This is basically about one big dysfunctional family, so I felt there should be some sort of anchor point between all the themes that, if you were to play the melody, you would essentially hear the relation within the notation. That was the idea behind it. The only theme that I really wanted to be different was Seraphim’s theme—he’s the bad guy, essentially. He’s the outcast of the bunch. Notation-wise, he’s certainly the one who’s furthest away from all the other themes that I wrote throughout the show, and as it happens his theme is probably one of my personal favorites…”

Read the full interview and sample music tracks and trailer, here.

March 25, 2021

Russian Anime: Scoring the SECRET MAGIC CONTROL AGENCY- An Interview with Gabriel Hays


_gabe_hays_& Hansel&Gretl

The new Wizart Animation feature film merges the unlikely genres of “fantasy fairy tale” and “spy mystery,” which created unique challenges for composer Gabriel Hays to solve in the score. Whereas spy music is typically mysterious with serious swagger; the fantasy side of things typically feels more mystical, otherworldly, and epic. Hays pulled from both seemingly disparate genre traditions to compose the ideal score for the film. 

Read the full interview and sample the music and trailer, here.


January 28, 2021

Anne Nikitin: on Scoring FATE: THE WINX SAGA

Fate: The Winx Club Saga Season 1.

Anne Nikitin: We wanted a theme for each fairy, which I believe is what was done in the animated series. Because they have these distinctive magical powers I wanted to focus on what their powers meant to me if I translated them through music. For Bloom, who is a fire fairy, I came up with a variety of themes for the different experiences she undertakes, and for her I mainly focused on harp, piano, strings, and big drums when she becomes more powerful. For Terra…

Read the full interview here.

November 23, 2020

Scoring Disney’s Z-O-M-B-I-E-S: A Chat With George S. Clinton & Amit May Cohen

George & Amit wMilo Manheim (Zed) at premiere CROPA score soundtrack was released on Friday Nov. 20 through Disney Music Group; it is a compilation of the music by George S. Clinton and Amit May Cohen from Z-O-M-B-I-E-S and Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2… “We utilized some of the thematic material from the songs in our score, so that the score didn’t sound like it was from one world and the songs from another world. One of the fun things to do is to take little snippets of melody and weave them in and out of the score, so the audience’s ear is used to hearing it,” said Clinton.
“Both of these scores have a lot of melody—these movies are very melodic and very active, so something that would be a big contrast to that would be if we composed a more atmospheric theme for the werewolves. And if you listen to the werewolf theme you can notice that it’s just a small harp melody in the background which doesn’t last for a very long time, and then it’s blended with a lot of synthesizers and there’s a lot of space,” said Cohen.

Read the full interview and watch the both trailers here.

November 18, 2020

Interview: Jonathan Hartman Faces WARHAMMER: ANGELS OF DEATH animated film


“There had to be a lot of propulsive music that would just pull you through these episodes and move you through those sequences. It had to have endless forward momentum…”

Read the full, extensive interview here.

October 28, 2020

INTERVIEW: The Bug Game: Mikolai Stroinski & Garry Schyman Score METAMORPHOSIS Video Game

_Metamorphosis Cover“This very unique game takes place in a bizarre and nightmarish world inhabited by insects and a corrupt bureaucracy,” said the composers. “The game gave us an astonishing opportunity to write music inspired by the expressionist era of art and music in the early 20th century. Composers Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, as well later composers such as Bernard Herrmann were inspirations. We incorporated techniques of the era such as Sprechgesang (half spoken half sung), 12 tone, aleatoric, tonal and atonal harmonies to invoke a past age that worked perfectly for the world of METAMORPHOSIS.”

Read the interview & sample some of the music here.

October 9, 2020

A Plea For Unity Against Injustice: Composer Michael Abels (GET OUT, US) Teams with Singer Rhiannon Giddens to recreate her “Cry No More” video

Rhiannon Giddens has teamed with composer Michael Abels—co-founder of the Composers Diversity Collective, known for scoring Jordan Peele’s Oscar-winning 2017 film GET OUT and his 2019 follow up US—and members of the Met Opera Chorus and Nashville Ballet for a new interpretation of her song “Cry No More,” as she makes a plea for unity against injustice. 

The video captures the featured instrumentalists and string players, along with the many faces that make up the Met Opera Chorus, as they sing Giddens’ message directly into camera: “The bedrock of the nation / Was laid with these brown hands,” and continue onto, “Our legacy is mighty / We can’t carry this alone / You have to help us fight it / And together we’ll be home,” as Nashville Ballet dancer Imani Sailers floats across the screen. 

Watch the striking video: 

September 25, 2020

A Darker Emotional Language: The Horror Scores of Ronen Landa (Interview)

_1BR US posted crop“I always ask ‘what is the emotional center of this story and how do we communicate that to the audience?’ A given film may speak to a certain instrumental idea, and musical trends come and go, but in a way those are just window-dressing. My scores are about speaking an emotional language that ties the audience to the characters and story empathetically. With horror films, if I don’t succeed at that fundamental task, the thrills and suspense will ring false.”

Read the full interview here.

September 22, 2020 

Unfamiliar Music: Walter Mair on Scoring THE UNFAMILIAR (Interview)

unfamiliar-movie-horizontalIn his recent score for the horror thriller THE UNFAMILIAR, Mair’s music incorporates original Hawaiian instruments combined with a bespoke instrument called ‘The Octo Bass’ – a custom made double bass twice the size of an orchestral double bass. Other tracks feature a live recorded string orchestra and string quartet for the more intimate and emotional scenes in the film.

Read the interview here.

August 21, 2020

The Chilled Waters of SEA FEVER: An Interview with Composer Christoffer Franzén

sea-fever-uk-artwork-b-1The science fiction/horror film SEA FEVER is a co-production between Ireland, Sweden, Belgium, and the US and UK. In the film, a bizarre creature hitches a ride on a departing fishing trawler, marooning the ship at sea and engaging the ship’s crew in a fight for survival. Musique Fantastique interviews Swedish born multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer Christoffer Franzén about his superlaytive score for SEA FEVER.

Read the interview here.

July 28, 2020


Interview by Randall D. Larson

Transformers War for Cybertron Trilogy wBornstein image

“…Once we were done discussing direction, sound palette, etc., I had free reign to come up with everything based on our discussions (synth, orchestra, percussion, etc.). It was extremely daunting, but really rewarding creatively once it all locked into place!  Everyone agreed we needed strong thematic content to anchor everything, so I sat at a piano for a good long while before finding anything that stuck.”

Read the full interview here.

July 7, 2020

Christopher Young: Rejoining Sam Raimi in 50 STATES OF FRIGHT

Interview by Randall D. Larson

_Pic 3 Chris Young 2 (1)

The horror anthology series, executive produced by Raimi, explores stories based on urban legends from different places in the United States, taking viewers deeper into the horrors that lurk just beneath the surface. Young wrote the original main title music and scored the Raimi-directed first episode,“The Golden Arm…”

Read the interview here.

February 15, 2020

Interview – ROB: Scoring GRETEL & HANSEL

Photo of ROB from Spotify & FB

In his score, ROB’s idea was to avoid the traditional musical schemes used in such fairy tale films and find a more original and specific color via an electronic palette, using both warm and synthetic sounds, with the distinctive confluence of Mellotron and MOOG synths.

Read the interview here.

January 15, 2020

A Solo Album from film composer Paul Haslinger

haslinger-exit-ghost-solo-album“Known for his creative and tense dramatic and horror film scores for UNDERWORLD, FEAR THE WALKING DEAD, HALT AND CATCH FIRE, RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER, Haslinger in Exit Ghost takes a step into his own imagination and creates a sonic world of strange sensibility and perceptible unfamiliarity. A far cry from his film music, the ambient atmospheres and potent sonic structures offer a mesmerizing journey.”

Read the full details, and sample one of the tracks, here.

December 3, 2019

A Conversation with Frederik Wiedmann – Scoring THE DRAGON PRINCE and Other Works

frederikwiedmann-dragonprince-s3-ost“THE DRAGON PRINCE is an incredible story about wizards, maidens, magic, dragons, elves, knights, kingdoms, betrayal, and family values, so it lends itself to an amazing canvas on which to paint a big, epic orchestral thematic fantasy score… A lot of the music is epic, heartbreaking, and emotional, with lots of solo instruments. I’ve got fiddle, cello, ethnic flutes, vocalists, choir, my Armenian duduk is all over the place, and we even recorded a 40-piece orchestra for some key scenes…”

(We also discuss ITSY BITSY, Scoring DC Animation, TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL, ALL HAIL KING JULIEN, and much more)

Read the full interview here

October 18, 2019

Blair Mowat Interview: Scoring Doctor Who’s CLASS, TORCHWOOD Audio Adventures, and More

Class - early release

“The Shadow Kin theme was the first track I tackled which everyone thought sounded great. I was keen to move towards using lots of solo instruments rather than the big homogenized orchestral sound in DOCTOR WHO, but I was also aiming for each story to have its own flavor. Episode 6 for example is very electronic, whereas episode 7 is far more organic with lots of strings and glass harmonica. In some ways I wanted to harken back to the classic series and the work of the Radiophonic Workshop with the use of sound design and synthesizers…”

Read the full interview here.

September 18, 2109

Tim Wynn: Scoring FREAKS’ Psychological Sci-Fi

freaks poster & composer

“…There were some electronics in terms of supporting the main musical elements, but most of the score used natural-based sounds that I would create and record and manipulate and then use as a textural piece. I used that upright piano to provide those creepier tones, and we miked that in a way that it sounds like a piano but not like any piano you might have heard. Then the rest of the score included string quartets, the solo violin and solo cello, and then—again as the world got bigger, I felt like my palette should get bigger—we used a live orchestra: the City of Prague Philharmonic with 50 string players…”

Read the full interview here

Interview: Christopher Young Meets THE MONKEY KING – Scoring a Chinese Historical Fantasy Epic


“The minute something comes alive inside my head, a tune or a theme, I know exactly what it’s going to sound like; I have that sound in my head. That’s part and parcel; it’s not like I write the themes at the piano and then wonder what it’s going to sound like and gradually get to the point where it becomes what it is.”

Read the full interview here.

July 27, 2019

Interview with Brian Tyler:

The Sonic Bayou Music of SWAMP THING

swamp_thing_tv_series-283996365-large“There’s definitely a Southern feel to the music, various stringed instruments and dobros and things like that. The percussion was a little more swampy in effect than classical. That gave it a unique flavor that fit the setting and the story concept. I wanted to ground this score in a sense of place, so the feel of it has a bayou/Cajun sensibility, and when you combine it with the hyper-extended orchestra, where I’ve added contrabass trombones, which are so low and weird, and then contrabassoon and these very, very low instruments. I thought it felt very Swamp Thingy!”

Read the full interview here.

June 24, 2019

Harry Gregson-Williams on Scoring 2018’s THE MEG

_the-meg OST.jpgMEG’S MUSIC: While interviewing Emmy-, Golden Globe-, and BAFTA-nominated composer Harry-Gregson Williams about his scores for Disneynature’s PENGUINS and Hulu’s CATCH-22 for my Soundtrax column, I took a few minutes to ask about his experiences on scoring last year’s giant shark thriller, THE MEG, for Musique Fantastique. – rdl

Read the interview here.

June 13, 2019

Interview: Assaf Rinde scores THE GHOST IN THE GRAVEYARD

_GHOST-IN-THE-GRAVEYARD---KEY-ART_522019 crop“Most of the score is built around some very layered and textural strings sounds in combination with some piano elements creating a very specific sound signature for the film,” said Rinde. “There are also some more complex textures featuring percussion instruments, synths, and other musical sound design elements ranging from low-energy spooky to high intensity aggressive. The main theme melody can be heard on a piano, glockenspiel, and music box, and there are a few key moments where you hear a child’s voice to support the ghost of Martha.”

One-two-three, The Ghost is Near. Read the full story, right here.

June 5, 2019

Nicolas Alvarez: Facing SKY SHARKS – with Music

“I immediately loved the concept of the film,” said Alvarez. “I managed to find the number of the production studio in Germany and called them and luckily the director, Marc Fehse, answered. We had a very nice chat and we kept in contact for about a year before I was asked to score a scene to see if my style fit with what he and the producers were looking for. Fortunately the sound was right on the money.” 

Read the full story here.

May 27, 2019 


_Godzilla-King-of-the-Monsters-OSTInterview by Randall D. Larson

“I did not want this to be a retro score. I wanted it very much to be what I think a blockbuster score should sound like in 2019. It just so happens that some of the thematic material for our most important characters has a legacy that comes from the past.” – Bear McCreary

Read the full interview here.

March 4, 2019

Composer Pinar Toprak on scoring CAPTAIN MARVEL’s story – from the Premiere’s Red Carpet

The composer of Marvel Studios’ CAPTAIN MARVEL, Pinar Toprak, discusses what it was like to make a recognizable theme for Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel during tonight’s Hollywood premiere. Watch below:

February 18, 2019

Interview: Umberto Gaudino Scores Brit Gangster Horror Movie POLTERHEIST


“Although POLTERHEIST is mainly a gangster movie, it is full of supernatural elements,” Guadino told Musique Fantastique. “So I wanted to musically emphasize it as much as possible, in a quasi-horror way. But I wanted to keep that in sharp contrast with the rest of the themes the film, even in a musical sense, underlining much the gangster element on one hand, and, because one of the two main characters is Pakistani working for a Pakistani mafia clan, including some Indian music elements on the other hand.

Read the full story here.

January 3, 2018

Frankenstein 1910: Donald Sosin’s Music for Restored Classics From the Silent Film Era (Interview)

_sosin ogle & veidt

…”A lot of these horror films also have this pathos in them, when you think about Lon Chaney at the organ in THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and how sad he is that Christine doesn’t want to have anything to do with him, and Orlac who has this lovely wife who doesn’t know what to do with him and his paranoid fantasies of being persecuted by this guy who turns out to be a con artist. CALIGARI is another matter, of course, but there also is this love element, somewhat warped though it is. So all of these films have a mixture of true horror and maybe some romance or some more subdued emotional content that flows in and out. It sometimes depends on the period of the film; NOSFERATU takes place in the early 1800s in Germany and in Transylvania, so in that film I’m using music that might have been part of the soundscape in both of those countries and that time period…”

Read the full story here

December 16, 2018

Behind the Music – Interview with George Shaw: Scoring THE 716th [Amazon Prime sci-fi short] and ESCAPE THE NIGHT [quirky fantasy Youtube series]

The 716th OST“[In THE 716th] there were certainly a lot of heroic horn and trumpet fanfares, along with some classic major scales with flattened 6th notes that you often hear in science fiction films. For the more fantastical moments, I used lots of swirling string and wind writing, and the Durakian theme is based around low brass and a low synth pad.”

“[With ESCAPE THE NIGHT], each season has a different setting and time period; the first season is set in a 1920s mansion dinner party, the second in a Victorian era masquerade party, and the third in a 1970s carnival. What links them all together is the overall dark, supernatural fantasy of murder and mystery, but I get to play with the sound of each season based on the various settings. I especially had fun in the 3rd season where I got to experiment with suspense combined with disco elements and dark, twisted carnival waltzes.”

Read the full-length interview here.

November 29, 2018

Scoring Valve’s ARTIFACTAn Interview with composer/sound designer Tim Larkin

“The music style came from several places for this game. First off, it’s based in the world of Dota heroes. So again that became a departure point of sorts. Some of the initial palette was based off of the previous Dota score. However there’s lore in the Artifact story based on a type of vagabond, gypsy caravan feel that felt important to capitalize on. That’s where the idea of a Balkan choir came in. Exploring Eastern European music turned out to be quite interesting as well as fitting for this setting.”

Read the full interview here.

November 24, 2018

An Interview with John Paesano: Scoring THE MAZE RUNNER Saga

Maze runner OST banner

Read our in-depth interview here (also covers Paesano’s scores for SALVATION, THE PHOENIX INCIDENT, and DreamWorks’ DRAGONS: RIDERS OF BERK!).


Read our exclusive interview with the Sharknado composers here

Siren horizontal

  • New Interview: Michael A. Levine Scores SIREN

  • Herman stein b&wHerman Stein: The Greatest Composer No One’s Ever Heard Of (except us monster kids!)

via The Cheseler.com: an excellent tribute to Universal staff composer Herman Stein and maverick monster maestro, energized by a comprehensive interview with Monstrous Movie Music’s David Schecter. Read the article here

         Interviews by Randall D. Larson

Europa ReportEUROPA REPORT tells of a privately funded mission to search for life on the Jovian moon told through the digital audiovisual records transmitted to Earth from the spaceship Europa-1, along with news conference and promotional videos made by Europa Ventures, the company funding the mission.   It’s clear from the start that the mission has not gone well… Portions of the following interviews were quoted or paraphrased in my notes for the EUROPA REPORT soundtrack album, released by Sparks & Shadows.  With permission from the label, I am presenting my complete Q&A interviews with director Sebastián Cordero and composer Bear McCreary for this extended examination of the making of the film and its musical score. See here.

For Older Stories – see our FEATURES ARCHIVES page HERE

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