What is your musical formation? What led you to film music? I was classically trained as a concert composer. After getting a masters degree from Yale school of music moved out to California to study with Jerry Goldsmith. He along with Nina Rota, Bernard Herrmann, and Ennio Morricone were my greatest influences as a young film composer.
• How were you contacted to score this picture? My agent told me that the director wanted to meet me, so after I read the script I flew out to New York where they were shooting and I spent the day on the set and talking with John and I left being very excited about the project
• How did the collaboration with the director go? A few words on the creative process… After meeting with John, I went back to my studio and started working on ideas. John sent me some pieces of music that inspired him while he was filming and these ideas inspired the theme for „the quiet family“. As I was working I would send pieces of music to John in New York and he also came out a few times to my studio to spot and to go through cues. It was a bit of a hectic schedule because it was short and there was a lot of experimentation, but somehow it all came together!
• What type of music did you aim at creating? As this was a family movie first and foremost, it was important to find the emotional through line of the characters. The horror elements could only really be sold if the audience felt the bonds between the family. After that, the idea was to record acoustical elements and manipulate them electronically to create the music for the monster.
• How did the recording go? Although the main sessions were in January we sort of recorded as we went; smaller ideas with just a few musicians at a time to have source material to work with. Since much of the film is so quiet it was important to come up with a framework that would work cohesively with the sound environment and this took a while to craft.
• And the usual question: which role does music play in a film according to you? Generally it supplies the emotional substructure that you want the audience to feel, rather than be consciously aware of. It’s all about devious manipulation 🙂