Tell us a little about yourself and how did you get into scoring for films?
I’m a cinephile and I have a true passion for movies and storytelling. I was lucky enough to grow up in the eighties, a great decade for movies for young audience, with amazing orchestral scores (think about Star Wars, Back To The Future, The Goonies and so on…). I have written music since I was very young and even when I was pursuing a career as a jazz musician people kept telling me that my music had visual qualities, and could be good music for images. As a matter of fact my inspiration, even when I write music not attached to any movie, usually comes from images or stories. So I guess that writing music for movies was sort of my destiny.
What is your usual process for creating audio content for different media?
It’s always different, depending on each project. I usually try and immerse myself in the world of the specific project I’m working on, I do musical and technical researches on instruments in order to create a unique palette of sounds that I think can be good and original. Then I cross my fingers and hope for inspiration to come… and I’m often very lucky.
How did you get involved with “Rocks In My Pockets”?
I was searching for animation projects to score and I had contacted Bill Plympton, a well know director and animator. He’s a friend of Signe Baumane’s (director of “Rocks in my Pockets”) and suggested she contact me to score her debut feature movie. She did and it all worked out.
How long did it take you to score “Rocks In My Pockets”?
It took about three weeks to score this film. That was the deadline to submit the movie to some major festivals.
What would you consider to be your favorite track to score in “Rocks In My Pockets”?
Probably “Anna’s Theme”, which became the main theme of the movie. It is a rather simple track, a bouncy waltz, funny but at the same time a melancholic tune. At first, when I was trying to find a tune for Anna’s character, it was coming out really sad and melancholic (I was probably influenced by the Beatles’ song “She’s Leaving Home”, as in the movie we have this story of a young girl who left her home). The director then showed me another point of view, that this girl leaves her home and family to start an amazing adventure, that is to say the discovery of her adult life. So I trashed the old cue and started from scratch, and the result was so good that “Anna’s Theme” became a reoccurring melody in the movie, even in the end titles.
You have mostly scored films. If you were to score a television show, what would be your ideal show?
Great question! Probably something like “Black Mirror”, “Utopia” or “Twilight Zone”, projects where you can use different musical approaches and even a bit of humor here and there.
Your first project you scored was “The Mongol King” in 2005. How do you think your work has changed since that project?
I think I’m maybe more conscious of what I’m doing. I’ve built a workflow that helps me save time and stay focused on the projects I’m working on at the time. Hopefully I’ve developed a personal voice as a composer.
Any specific “lessons learned” on a project that you could share?
Every project is a lesson, because working for film is an intimate and collaborative experience between artists, you share ideas, feelings, and you correlate with other people’s lives. I love this job because there’s something to learn on every project. The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that the best thing is to be honest with yourself and your music, while trying not to imitate any other composer (something that people do all the time for the desire to find an easy consent). This way, in the end, you know that your time is well spent because you’ve created something new and original.
If your budget was endless for “Rocks In My Pockets”, what would you have done different musically?
Nothing, from a creative point of view. Monetary wise, maybe I would have recorded in London, at Abbey Road, just for the pleasure of working there for a couple of days.
Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?
Be original, the world needs new beautiful music, not something “already heard” elsewhere. Try to push yourself to experiment as much as possible and be brave to defend your ideas and your musical identity. Also, pray that you find a good director who loves your music and believes in you as much as you do.