The Music That Makes Under the Skin Go Bone Deep

04/08/2014 12:33 PM |

When she’s with the men she’s picked up and they are in danger, there’s that main viola refrain that keeps repeating. How did you think about that repetition in the composing? Was bringing things back at specific times specifically directed?
That music, in my mind, is probably the only thing that isn’t what she’s feeling. That’s like the makeup that’s she’s put on, that music. It’s something superficial, she might as well be playing it out of a device. That isn’t something that she’s experiencing as far as turning to humanity. That repeating is her job, her work, her daily grind. It comes back at the end, also. I suppose it’s being used as a tool, because you’re being reminded, or realizing that’s her truth.

That main refrain reminded me a bit of the music Bernard Hermann did for Alfred Hitchcock. So, relating it to her makeup, an artifice, is sort of interesting because it was the most traditional “movie score” piece of music used.
Yeah, absolutely. But if I’m honest, the reason it got to that is more coming from strip club music. That’s more in my mind similar to Bollywood samples or Dr. Dre beats. I think the instrumentation, the fact that sort of thing is probably sampled in those beats, is where it’s coming from. She’s doing a strip tease, so that was the music that was in the back of my head. Think about that sort of mid-2000s strip club vibe, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent.

Since you were working in bits and pieces, I have to imagine that seeing it in its proper context with an audience must have really been something…
It was certainly… something. [Laughs] Oh man, you can’t do anything. You can’t stop the film. You can’t change it. I’m sure you’ve had experiences like that where something you’ve done is being presented and you hear all the faults louder. It was quite a trip. Last time I saw it it was at the Venice Film Festival, where it had its premiere. That was the first time we all sat down and watched it finally, graded. Scarlett Johansson was there and John was there, everyone was there, really. It got a sort of mixed reception, a bit of booing a bit of cheering. It was just a real kind of trip.

Coming from the perspective of a touring musician, or even a DJ, where you’re a participant in something that’s happening, just being a spectator has to be a bit anxious.
Yeah, exactly. It’s weird. I had experienced it before, when I’ve composed a piece of music and it’s getting performed in concert. This had a bit more momentum behind it, I guess. But that’s what it’s like being a composer, you’re not standing on stage you’re sitting in the audience.

Has this experience given you an itch to keep working in film? Or is this the sort of project that’s so striking and compelling, where the music is such an important part of it, that it sets a weirdly high standard that working in other films might not live up to?
I don’t really know much about the film world, but that’s the impression that I get. I think that this was a very unusual experience. To be honest, I’m never really chasing anything. I’m really disorganized.