Further Examinations: New Interviews & Features

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”

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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

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… 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

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“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

Alexander Bornstein: Scoring TRANSFORMERS: WAR FOR CYBERTRON TRILOGY

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

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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

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“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 

Bear McCreary: Scoring GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS

_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

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“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

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


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Read our exclusive interview with the Sharknado composers here


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  • 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
 

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