Pop With Eat Itself's Clint Mansell has soundtracked Moon, Stoker, Black Swan and plenty more heartbreakingly wonderful movies. A lot of his scores have found themselves not just picking up critical plaudits be have been nominated for Grammy's and Oscar's too. Musician Tara Busch, who's not a stranger to soundtracks herself (she'll be doing a live movie soundtrack at London's Southbank Center on Sept 21st 2014), caught up with Mansell for a chat ahead of his sold out show at London's Barbican center.
Tara Busch: So! We both have live shows coming up... how do you feel about the difference between doing a live show as you currently do versus with Pop Will Eat Itself? Is one more satisfying?
Clint Mansell: Well I think what I'm doing now with the film score stuff is more satisfying, but I think that’s just to do with the fact that its what I want to do now, you know. When I did shows with Pop Will Eat Itself, that’s what I wanted to do then and I really enjoyed it and I think even though perhaps I didn't realize it, I missed the live thing - I mean, I was the lead singer so obviously I have some kind of ego.
T: Yeah... You have to front some sort of band, don't you? [laughs]
C: Yeah, it sort of goes hand in hand with writing, I suppose... you want people to hear it, you know? I remember when it first came up about doing some stuff with the film score playing live... David Arnold said he'd done a few and he said he really enjoyed it because to some degree it's almost like reclaiming the music... because when you write for a film, and it's mixed and it's done, that's kind of the end of it really, you don’t really go back and listen to it - you might see the film, but you don't really have a relationship with it anymore...
T: ... you let go of it, basically.
C: Yeah - but doing some new arrangements and performing it rekindles the relationship, you know?
T: Do you find it takes on a life of it's own sometimes? You start to see how people react to the music?
C: Yeah… when I play live, what I feel is that other people have a relationship with that music, which you don't really get when you're in a band, I think you do sort of feel that more. When you’re in a band, you play live a lot more than say you or I do, but when you've written an album and you go out on tour, you sort of see that a lot more, perhaps you feel that these people have that music in their lives... whereas with the films I'm not so aware of that. When I'm performing live, it sort of reinforces that... it's a nice feeling as because you can see how it's affected people… which again is a sort of ego boost I suppose, but at the same time it's actually a little different than that. The musicians I play with are great, you know - their performance brings something to it as well..even though i wrote it, you're kind of all there - the band, the audience, sort of experiencing it, really.
T: It's almost more communal...
C: Yeah - definitely has a more communal feel to it... it doesn't matter that I wrote it, if you like: it's my experiences combined with everybody else's.
T: You can't really get that when you've scored a film and you don't play it live.. it gets finished, goes into a bunch of theatres and you don't know directly and immediately how people are reacting to it..
C: not really, no...
T: The beautiful thing about playing live is that whole immediate, reciprocal thing. I feel like that's a natural progression with any music you make - to not just have it played in a film, or played at home, but played live too.
C: You know, I think there's definitely a difference between doing this and what I was doing with the band, this feels, like you said - communal, it feels a little more celebratory - there's a certain cynicism about bands, a showing off-type thing and that's cool and that's great - but it does seem more about a gratuitous sort of thing... I guess I'm saying that film music doesn't really feel like that because there's so many different stages to it ..it's not just "here's some music I wrote.." it's a different process.
T: Right, it's not just "songs"... the music is there to tell a story and is drawn from the film and not so much from personal experience... it's not just about your story..
C: You have to almost be collaborative with the director and the performances... so to some degree you're much more of an architect.
T: Yeah, it does come from a different place and a different history rather than just standing up and playing songs... which is what I love about it..
C: I think that removes a certain bit of ego - because it isn't just about me..so when I play that music, it's almost like I'm being invited by the music, if you like... I'm being "allowed in" as well, like the audience is being allowed in, we're all sort of there for "the music" rather than for me and there is a bit of a difference.
So - how does that work then though when you make your own films, and you score them, and play them live like you do?
T: Well, the films that I Speak Machine make are designed to be played live; so whenever they're screened, I play the music to them live - it's part of the intention when the story's being written and when I'm writing the music - it has to be material I can pull off live too! The films are made with a lot of space for the music, and we film, write and create the music at the same time so they all feed into and influence each other. And live it certainly feels like the whole experience isn't just about "me singing a song" - it's more about the music and the film creating their own world for us to step into - the focus isn't on me.
C: Yeah..it is an organic thing; it's actually the two evolving together rather than someone making a film and then saying "well..I'd better put some music on this".
T: Yeah! I play to the films onstage, so it' s actually quite cool to see people's attention shift between me and the film... and so I do get the pleasure of performing, but without repeating myself - playing with a band... I wouldn't say I'm done with that, but it's not what I'm wanting to do right now, I wanna do something different. As you said, it's what I want to do now, versus play in a band so it is definitely more satisfying.
C: I think there's definitely something about that, music and moving image that creates a third element that doesn't really exist - it's a different thing, playing your songs in a band - it's about those songs, its about that performance - rock and roll hasn't really changed since Elvis really - 4 guys or 4 girls, mixture of whatever - bass, guitar drums and vocals and its great, but it's definitely a certain thing - you more or less move within that structure whereas with a moving image and music, that sort of transcendence that's created between the two of them - again it does sort of remove the ego because it's not about the performance; it's about this overall thing being created.
T: You're up there more to create, like you said, a third atmosphere when the music and moving image come together.
C: Also I guess some things have changed, you know - the first time I recognized this was with Godspeed You Black Emperor where the performers became almost invisible - and now you've got people like Nils Frahm or Olafur Arnalds - it's so much more about the music than about the individual playing it... with the music they're creating and performing, it's almost like a recital to some degree, you know - it's amazing how these artists have brought in this other element into what essentially would be an "indie world' - but it's really brought in this other... I say that the performer is almost invisible to it now - it's about what they're creating and what they're performing and it does seem less egocentric, I suppose.
T: Yes - its more about putting the music upfront and letting it have the spotlight - Olafur Arnalds show definitely was like that. It's interesting you said that you feel like there's a third entity when you're playing music from a film, or music to a film... to me it feels like what happens when collaborating with someone - and to paraphrase John Foxx "the great thing about collaborating is that it feels like there's a third mind in the room and you're not just two people; there's a whole other "entity" that's created"... and it kind of feels like that!
C: That's the thing I love about film music - it is a collaboration. Even though we may sit in a darkened room and write every note, you are definitely collaborating with the filmmaker - there's two sides that are going on... but it is very collaborative. You start with pretty much a blank page - and by and large, you don't know where you're going to end up!
T: Like going to sleep! You don't know what position you'll be in when you wake up [laughter]
C: I mean, It's scary because - shit - I've got this blank page and I have to colour it in, not only do I have to colour it in but I need to do it in the right way - but like you said with the collaboration, it gives you the third element and you have no idea what it's going to be - and it can be very surprising what you end up with.
T: So speaking of a blank page - how do you (and not to rehash a question that you've been asked probably a billion times) - what's the first thing you do? How do you start your process?
C: Oh god, it's so difficult..
C: I'm going through a very negative phase at the moment, I really am... I'm finding it difficult. I think… you know, like if [laughs] you could have the biggest weekend of your life and just can't face drinking for about a month afterwards. you know… Noah was a bit like that for me, it was so intense! And it sort of demanded so much that it's left me drained, and a little gun shy I think… just exhausted from it. So I've been doing little bits of things... Often I'll just watch the film and I'll watch it a number of times… watch it the first time, then the second time I watch it, I might watch it with a guitar in my hand, just to get the rhythm of the film, if you like... not really trying to do anything but within that you might get a little progression... a sort of "yeah, that's interesting"..
T: What is it John Cleese said, "any amount of drivel can lead to a breakthrough!" [laughs] Well, that sentiment gets me in the studio and started at least!
C: It's not going to write itself - you know!
T: Basically "do the fucking work"...
C: Yeah... so second time I just get the pacing with the guitar progressions, or something... but the next time I watch it with a keyboard... but prior to that, oftentimes I may have tried a few things just from the script. I might look at the director's other films, what he's like... and start doing a bit of research in that area. It's all just experimentation, really. Before you've seen the film or you've just got the script, thats the time when nothing really matters and theres no end result needed and you can kind of play with it.
T: So you like to get in at a really early point, and to live with it, basically...
C: I do, I really do. Stoker I did in 5 weeks, which is unbelievable for me. I just don't have that sort of... "metronome", I don't think. It takes me a long time to... not to write, but to get it and in the 'zone', if you like. An idea can come in a second but it could've been 20 years till you came to that second almost..
T: Yeah - that "luxury of time" allows you to get it in your blood and you're more tuned into receiving ideas in everyday life, outside the studio too..the amount of ideas I get in the grocery store, ugh!
C: Yeah, I totally absorb it, you know - like with the film I'm doing now, I can think about it, go back and read the book, watch certain films from that era... like on the flight over here, I might not be thinking about it but I might listen to something and because I'm sort of in that zone, it'll speak to me in a certain kind of way - you build up a sort of bag of ideas, so at least you've got something to turn to when you start.
T: You have it in your subconscious… you could be standing on the side of the road and a police car goes by, making a weird noise and it triggers an idea!
C: That's the thing. Having it in your subconscious - I can't generally do that in 4-5 weeks... 3 months is a great amount of time because there’s time to experiment, there's time to get it wrong and... I'm sure this has lost me more jobs than anything... of course you’d like to write it the first time and its brilliant, but if you write something and it doesn't work, you know so much about why it doesn't work and what the film's looking for… because you know, you start off - your choices are huge - then, you do 2 great things and your choices are limited… you fine tuned it, really. And yes, the state of film music industry right now is they just want people to churn it out.
But to come up with something hopefully "bespoke"... because film music, we all think "Ok, strings and piano" - but it might not be that for this particular film it might be, you know - the zither - but it takes time to find those things and experiment... and it's so annoying because the script could've taken 4 years to create and shape - I'm not asking for 4 years for music, but the music is the last element of a film that can make a quantum difference... Jaws or Halloween, you know - Carpenter said that he tested Halloween without the music and nobody was interested - after adding the music, it became the biggest independent film ever made at that point. So you know - you can go from here to there with the right music. So - to not give it the time is just counterintuitive - it's beyond reason, you know.
T: I'm certainly not of the school of thought that the music in a film is "good if you don't notice it"..
C: Me neither..
T: I think it's complete bullshit. The films I love, that really astounded me, and "changed" me, so to speak, were ones where the music was striking and prominent... like Pi, Klute, Andromeda Strain, Berberian Sound Studio, Midnight Cowboy, Susperia... .it's my taste really. I think it should be considered another character! Those films had so much power and influence over me and where I wound up going with my own work.
C: I'm with you - what that's saying is, there's right and there's wrong and I don't believe that's true. I mean for instance, silent movies are ALL music - how can you not notice the music in that? But does that make it wrong? No, it doesn't. Then you've got a film like Armor that has no music in it except for the pieces that somebody actually plays. There's no right or wrong, and again it comes down to taste… but its the visual and aural experience together that can create this third experience. I would never listen to say, the score to Fast and Furious 6 on it's own… but Betty Blue? Angelo Badalamenti's work? To me, modern classical music if you like, and easily stands on it's own. So, when you have the right music, whether that's a full orchestral score or you know, in the case of Klute - sort of brittle, harsh piano- type stuff, it's fundamental to the experience, you know - and is very noticeable to me and wonderful for it.
T: I love when I can't imagine the film without it..I don't know if you've seen the show Utopia yet, but thats a great example of the music being a really powerful character - and the show is amazing, but the music pushes it over the edge… just killer… it actually made me go back and redo a whole project I was working on, just the sounds he used, so unusual, uncomfortable and beautiful… the composer's name is Cristobal Tapia De Veer, he's brilliant. It kind of inspired me to ditch everything I was working on and start over [laughs].
C: Inspired me to give up! [laughs]
T: Thanks a lot Utopia! [laughs] Yeah, thats a great example. It’s the only TV show or film where we actually "rewind" it on 4oD to hear the music again because it’s so good... it's something that's birthed from a show but totally stands on its own.
C: There's a Youtube piece with four Grendel Drone Commanders and he just builds up this piece and it's these tones... he's got sections of it that have got one undulating while the other one's going over it, and just builds this 6 minute piece. It's not chords and structure but its really great, you know… there's just so many things you can do, there's no rules. I don't think you can say "the best film music you hear is the ones you don't notice" or even that you do notice - it's whatever's right for that project.
T: I guess what bores me about a lot of film music, and I don't mean to be harsh, but a lot of it is very "safe". I guess it has to do with what the studios want and what film it is, of course... but it seems like there's a lot of films being made that are just basically there to make people feel comfortable and unchallenged, like they can relate to it. I think it would be more interesting to create stuff that people can't relate to, that makes them uncomfortable. I guess that wouldn't make very much money though!
C: I guess the issue is, most movies are made for the purpose of making money and we don't have so many filmmakers now that are making a filmic experience, say like Gaspar Noe… something that's an "expression". You go and see this film and you have an experience… like I saw Guardians of the Galaxy and I loved it, you know - but thats not what every film needs to be - when you see something like Into the Void it's a totally different experience and that requires the music, the experience and the editing to be… challenging. It just seems a shame that we don't have more of that. Going back and looking at some of Cronenberg's early work and Ballard's books… those were interesting, challenging ideas..they don't seem to be making those sort of things very much anymore.
T: Yeah.. I actually love feeling really, really uncomfortable when I watch a film. For example , when I watched Pi for the first time, it was in an indie movie theatre in Charlotte, North Carolina called The Manor Theatre and the place was fucking packed; there was a big buzz about it… I heard the score, and I had never heard anything like that - I felt really uncomfortable throughout the film, but I loved that… it was one of the first times I had felt that feeling in my brain... it just sort of unravels and rebuilds itself when something striking hits! Your score either blew or created some synapses there [laughs]... but I love that feeling, I absolutely live for it. And... I wish there was a lot more of that going on than there is, like Berberian Sound Studio - I know I'm a bit underexposed at the moment...
C: Well, you mentioned Utopia there, and say, Beyond the Black Rainbow..
T: Oh yeah! Genius.
C: But it just seems that to some degree... at the start of the 80s for instance, you had the VHS boom and it's almost like everything has become more controlled, for instance - did independent film really worry about ratings back then? They were just playing arthouse places anyway - so they could be more, say "outlandish"... just edgier, I suppose. Whereas now, even if you work on an independant film most people don't want an NC17 rating, they want to get it in the multiplexes and they're hoping it'll be the biggest hit everywhere… so everything gets compromised. I was talking with some people the other day, the football team I support, there's a bunch of us that all chat online about different topics - film is one of the things on there, and all these guys are from all different walks of life - me and another guy were talking about independant cinema and Dario Argento and Susperia. Someone else said "I saw that - it was unwatchable, the colors were so vivid and the soundtrack... " and that's what it's about you know, Susperia was influential on Black Swan - without Susperia and without that being "out on a limb" you don't get these things that filter into the mainstream that end up being say, Black Swan and something that's palatable because somebody else went out on a limb before.
T: That’s great on the other hand… Black Swan is a gateway drug to Susperia!
C: I just worry that we don't have that at the moment. I think I've been lucky, obviously working with Darren and but also Park Chan Wook, he was definitely ploughing his own furrow you know.
T: What was that like, working with him? That must've been interesting... you did that in 5 weeks, right?
C; Yeah - it was brilliant..it was weird because they had Philip Glass on it before and it didn't work with him for some reason, and the concept of replacing Philip Glass is just like... good lord, you know? [laughs] They still kept that one piece of his in the duet which is absolutely fantastic...
T: I love that scene!
C: With Park Chan Wook, his notes on music were the best notes I've ever had - they would honestly be subtle, little things but they would make massive differences. That was 2 years ago when I did that. I was actually taking a bit of a break from working on films because I was exhausted… but one of the things I said to my agent was if something comes along with a foreign director, with different sensibilities, I'd be interested in that. Stoker came up, Park Chan Wook has incredibly different sensibilities. Being part of that was brilliant because it was one of those ones where it actually all went pretty smoothly. He liked pretty much everything I wrote. There was only a few things that he didn't really like and I had to redo. We had a few battles with the studio because the murder scenes - and there's a scene where she remembers those murders and she's masturbating in the shower..
T: Indeed.. that was awesome. [laughs]
C: Yeah, I really wanted to play it like this love thing and the studios wanted it to be horrific... it's far more unsettling for it to be this beautiful memory for her.
T: Yeah! I love that juxtaposition, and it's not obvious...
C: The only thing he said upfront was, "the clarinet, for some reason I prefer the clarinet". I said, "ok", so we had this one piece that he just loved… but then, his notes would just be tiny little things, arrangements or instrumentation or whatever; and they would be so precise! You'd do them, and it really would just change the whole complexion. I'm doing this commercial with him at the moment and he gave me notes upfront and said, "There's 8 pieces of music; it's a 15 minute web piece, and they want to release it in 4 minute pieces - I've got seven cues I need, I want this this this this and this." I sent him like, 5 ideas and he came back to me and said " Ok, scratch everything I said, this one bit you've written here, we're gonna do the whole score out of that". It was just this noise-type, no melodies, weird thing. He just had this new take on it. It was a great experience though, he's a lovely man..
C: Let's talk about you for a bit - tell me what you're gonna be doing at the show?
T: We're showing our sci fi short film, The Silence - the UK premiere- and I'm playing the score to it live. We finished last year - it was shot in Cardiff and the soundtrack is coming out on Lex records November 24th. It's actually a silent film, very much influenced by The Twilight Zone with the general theme of "hell is other people" [laughs]. Onstage I'm using 5 analogue synths lent to me from G Force Software. It''s insane! I usually use my Moog Voyager but I've now been endowed with an ARP 2600, SH 101, OSCar, Pro One and an ARP Odyssey... surprisingly they've all been behaving so far! So it's, laptop, synths and my vocals through a Moogerfooger delay and an Electroharmonix vocoder.
Also, we have two more 6 minute short films that we just finished in the past few months that we're screening for the first time. The first one is called Gagglebox and its about a very disturbed little girl… it was interesting to make because Maf has a very very deep fear of ghostly, creepy children in horror films like Dont Look Now - scares the shit out of him! I guess he enjoyed making that [laughs].
C: Like The Changeling, the George C Scott one...
T: I haven't seen that yet!
C: That is one creepy, creepy film. Another one is The Dead of Night, from 1945. It's awfully, awfully "English" with 4 different directors that do one short piece each. But it's all based around this guy that goes to a country house for the weekend - he drives up there, and thinks "I've been here before, I know something bad happens"... deja vu. So they all start telling stories about unexplained incidents and there's one in there about a little kid that got killed... worth checking out... .but anyway...
T: The other film we're showing is called "There's Someone in the House Next Door", and it was filmed in an abandoned house next to my parent's house in Statesville, North Carolina. The neighbors actually abandoned the house 7 years ago and moved to Hawaii… my parents kind of look after it from time to time - run the water, and heat or whatever - but the house is covered in spiderwebs, dead flies everywhere...
C: This is actually real?
T: Yeah - it's an incredible instant movie set... nothing needed... literally like the people vanished out of thin air - car in the garage hasn't been touched, a creepy old pool table and loads of old slightly disturbing family photos on the walls... a giant collection of bizarre music boxes and weird little nick knacks everywhere. It's on a big lake surrounded by huge oak trees, like something out of Friday the 13th. And to top it off, they were pretty horrible people too, really - very strange, conservative, bigoted racists... .it's a pretty backwards Southern town they live in anyway… so - we go over there sometimes and poke around, and decided to finally film something in there. A very very unsettling place... right next door!
T: The story behind the house is quite dark too... when the neighbours left, they left their dogs, Burt and Ernie there... they sent someone around to feed the dogs, but the dogs became too depressed to eat, according to my mom. They became malnourished and died... very odd and sad. So, we dedicated the film to the poor dogs that were left behind... I thought it would be nice to work them into the story… maybe a vengeful ghost of the dog! So - I've scored those two and they're both 5 -6 minutes long.
In making these, I scored the shorts first and then created a song from the score to play over the credits... it feels a bit like "remixing" the song from a score - reverse engineering the score into a song, perhaps! It kind of scratches that so called "songwriting" itch that I can get. It's odd - it usually takes me about a month or 2 to write a song at least - takes me fucking forever - but this took about 10 days to do the score and song for the credits. Maybe it's just that my headspace when scoring is more relaxed. For some bizarre reason I work a lot faster when scoring, maybe because it's still quite fresh to me and its a different process...
C: Yeah - I find that too. For me, the best pieces I'll write will probably be the first piece and the last piece... you find the thread and you're working on it and developing it , and the very last piece is like a culmination of everything... it might not be the last cue in the film; it might be in the middle of the film - but somehow you're so in the zone by that point, it's just all working..it's almost like it's laid out for you in some respects because you've set the parameters and the tone and the framework...
T: So if you're used to working alone, it must be interesting if and when you do start to bring other people into this process...
C: I’ve got to be honest… it's something I'm… starting to think about. I mean, a number of reasons. A) just to see - you don't know if you don't know, you know what i mean - for instance, I’ve done a few romantic comedies and really enjoyed them... you wouldn’t think that, and I'm not saying that I do them that well, but I've enjoyed the ones I've done - it's a different experience and a different challenge...
T: Good for your "chops"!
C: Yeah! I did this one called Definitely Maybe, it stars Ryan Reynolds. Adam Brooks, the director, was brilliant and so patient with me. He knew that this was not my forte, but he liked my work and his notes to me were always the same - he sort of helped me go from here (gestures) to here - but giving me the same information and allowing me to find it - it was a really good experience and I really thank him for that because he was cool you know - we had time, and we took time and we got it done. So, if you don't try something, you don't know!
So - maybe there's something I could do in collaboration with other people but it would be outside of what I could achieve on my own - might not be better or worse, just different I suppose. Also as well, when I'm doing Darren's films or Moon I know that those things are very personal to me. There are other projects that may not be that way... as I said I saw Guardians of the Galaxy last week, and I thought the music was great, and they did a great job, loved the film and the experience was brilliant, you know? For me that would be a different experience - how could I deliver that, hopefully with some of my own sensibility but within what's required? This is probably a skill I don't have at this point and maybe I could figure that out with somebody else. I'm actually doing an animated film; it's a long long budget as it takes so long to do - and again, the people have been very patient with me, which I really appreciate because again its a different medium almost ... ..definitely elements that are not in my "bag" yet. Maybe I could work with somebody who could help me develop what my ideas are just to see what that experience would be like.
T: Getting out of comfort zones is really important..
C: You have to embrace it I suppose, it's got to be right. I was saying to Hannah (Peel) last week - we talked about trying to have a go at something and we didn't have time before I left, but would love to have tried… it's not my normal sort of thing, and am a little bit reticent about it. But you know, it doesn't matter - if you come up with nothing you come up with nothing - but you might come up with something! You just never know..you kind of just have to do the work, there really is no secret - its just hard work. Thats what gets it done.
T: I don't know - it's almost a sort of numbers game for me sometimes, I know that if i go up to the studio and show up - work long enough - something might pop out.
C: It will!
T: It might happen right away, maybe not - but its been happening a lot faster since I've stopped focusing on writing "songs" and writing scores... .and have loosened my grip on where the music wants to go... .not to say I don't enjoy songwriting! I have that urge all the time still as well. I don't exactly know why I'm finding it easier though.
C: I think some of it is... well I found this - its like with the whole rock and roll thing, songs work in a certain kind of way, there's a structure generally 4/4, 6/8...
T: A sort of formula I'm used to and maybe a bit jaded by... with this I don't have the pressure of a formula.
C: Yeah - you're much freer with film music.
T: Hmmm, well I love prog!
C: Yeah - there's more room in it, more expressive… you might just have a natural proclivity to it as opposed to say Diane Warren who writes oscar winning songs day in, day out… your skill might be film music or prog rock!
C: When I was in the band, literally I would write maybe 2 songs a year. I mean you know- most of the time I was drunk in the pub and living the dream of being a rock and roller if you like... but I wasn't exactly immersed in the studio writing all the time. Whereas now, I am. I went from writing 2 songs a year to writing the equivalent of maybe 3 albums a year. Where the fuck does that come from? The biggest place it comes from is actively being in the studio doing the work..it doesn't write itself and its not going to write itself in the pub.. when you're in a band, you sort of "wait for the muse" you know… I think people often think writing film music can be quite constricting because you have a frame work you have to write to… whereas you write a song, you can do anything. I actually find the framework liberating.
T: Me too! Limitations are actually very important to me - I absolutely must have some sort of parameter or I'll just sit and stare at my machines all day… I like to limit things like "I'm just going to use this synth on this piece" or "just vocals" - it could still kind of go places unexpected but at least there's an initial focus to get me going..
C: I remember Trent Reznor saying to me years ago, he's got a studio full of gear saying, "I don't know where to start…” When you've got 1 keyboard and 1 guitar, you know where to start! [laughs]
I did Pi with that Roland MC303 Groovebox, and AKAI Sampler and my Atari - that was all I had. That's how you gotta make it work!
T: So, you've scores tons of films between Pi and the last one, Noah - Pi being full on electronic and Noah being as full on orchestral as one could possibly get - do you prefer one or the other, do you find one more enjoyable?
C: Not really, to be honest - I prefer the one that works for the film I'm working on… but I am very interested to do a purely electronic score again, I must admit… one thing we've talked about is the human feel of electronic music opposed to totally programmed and tight… the analogue stuff. It's not that it's "loose", but there's a more human feel. That's something that interests me.
T: Yeah, certainly more inconsistencies and imperfections… tiny little imperfections in there that our ears can't really pinpoint, but I think our bodies can tell, and react to these sounds created by analogue sources... It's indescribable and far more romantic, lets face it. Analogue feels more "alive" and organic, and to me it's the most satisfying, magical way to make music.
C: Like you say about the Andromeda Strain, it's like you can just feel the push and pull in it, I suppose - it's not rigorously regimented.
T: Theres certainly a place for the very robotic, inhuman, steely sound too, I love that too... but I'm personally more drawn to Delia Derbyshire, Gil Melle... it's very dark and bleak, but also very organic and wild.
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