music supports Dolph's character in a lot of ways more than the
action I think"
did you get to start working with Dolph Lundgren on the Sidney
J. Furie picture DIRECT ACTION ?
my family and his family are sort of friends, so thats
how I know Dolph from the beginning. With Direct Action I cant
remember exactly, that must have been five years ago or something?
A year earlier or so, I met Dolph and his wife, we had lunch,
and I had been working on a lot of Swedish movies and stuff.
And then he went to Canada to shoot DIRECT ACTION with
Sidney, and suddenly they needed a composer and Dolph thought
of me and asked me if I wanted to send some stuff over. So I
sent some stuff to Sidney and he liked it and then they flew
me over to Canada to meet with Sidney. So I brought my laptop
and I started working on the score as we were in the editing
probably didnt have a lot of time on this movie?
I think we had maybe four weeks or something like that
was working with Sidney J. Furie?
really didnt have much opinions on what I did, he thought
most what what I did was pretty cool, so he let me do my thing.
As I remember I dont think they had a temp track, because
as I started making music in the editing suite they used a lot
of my cues as a temp score. So I think I did four or five cues
when we were in Canada, so I was sitting in the same room, working
with the editor and Dolph. Dolph was actually doing lot of the
editing at that time.
heard Dolph was very involved in the process, almost co-directing
I think he was actually much more involved than Sidney was in
the post-production process. As you know, Dolph has been taking
a bigger interest in his career during the last five or six years
and this is was probably the movie when he thought of doing this.
On the movies preceding that one, I think he sort of lost it
because they screwed a lot of money around, after the shooting
was finished. But then he thought to take a bigger interest in
the output on the screen. He saw that his career was suffering
from not getting as good as results as he could get in
six month later Dolph stepped up to direct THE DEFENDER.
Sidney got ill, he actually was supposed to do that movie.
then Dolph called you for the score, how did you collaborate?
that picture, there was a lot of temp music on the edit. But
most of it, Dolph and I thought was overly dramatic, which happened
for two reasons I think. First the editor had a flare for the
dramatic stuff, he really liked to dramatize stuff with music
and you can see that's not really the type of music Dolph likes
to work with his score music has to be understating the action
I think. Also that was the second movie that Dolph shot and what
happens frequently when you're seating in the editing for two
or three months, everybody has seen all the shots thirty or forty
times, you've seen the movie a number times and you start to
think it's boring! So how do you get around that? Well you do
put on some more dramatic music, to get the feeling that you're
no longer getting. So that was sort of the starting point of
that, but both Dolph and I felt that the movie needed something
much cooler and less dramatic. So we discussed various styles
and movies that we like. This was sort of the same period that
the BOURNE movies came out, so we looked at those. The
score is not really similar to that but the approach is the same.
The score music in BOURNE movies in the same way is not
in THE DEFENDER it accompanies it and is pretty cool and a step
up from DIRECT ACTION which was more generic. THE DEFENDER's
score has more layers and depth to it for a non-stop action shoot
nine minutes you know, somebody has to die!
picture had enough drama in it so that you didn't need to bring
up the violence and all that with the music.
what I feel too! I think the setting of the movie is pretty cool
too and it's a little bit old-school with the cold war stuff.
also like old westerns or John Carpenter's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT
the reason we got that sound I think. Dolph felt that the movie
needed something that was cool. Dolph likes stuff that is quite
funky, he likes a lot of beats, a lot of percussions, and stuff
that's got a little bit of an edge.
now you've reunited for COMMAND PERFORMANCE. Do you think the
fact that he's a musician affects his approach to music when
it comes to the score?
little bit. He's definitely paying more attention to sound stuff
than other stuff. He's not really interested in what kind of
instruments we're using and stuff like that, but what he does
take interest in, is the tempo and the groove that the music
has. He likes stuff that supports the editing and the action
in that way. For me usually it's the way I like to work as well
because I think that timing is everything anyway, it's by far
the most important component in music.
did you think when you heard about the project?
thought it sounded pretty cool actually, it's little off beat.
I like the fact that this movie is a bit different from the other
movies because Dolph actually has a sidekick in this one. I think
in DIRECT ACTION, and even in THE DEFENDER he's got a
team but at the end of the day it's pretty much Dolph against
the world. The set up in COMMAND PERFORMANCE is a little
bit different which is pretty cool I think.
is more vulnerable and kicks less ass, different from the characters
he usually plays and that one of the challenges he wanted to
take on this one...
And there's a also a bit of comedy, it's actually quite funny!
the movie's musical theme of the movie, was there any question
to do a rock 'n roll score with maybe lots of guitars?
not really, what we tried to do was to use a lot of drums in
a few cues. But we never even discussed a rock n' roll score
actually. I sort of toyed with the idea for a few seconds and
then I threw it away.
it would have been overkill with the songs. The movie is tongue
in cheek but it also has dramatic elements that makes it a drama
as well, so in that way the music brings you back to this reality.
that's what I feel too and also in two of those more dramatic
moments the music is quite important too. The music supports
Dolph's character in a lot of ways more than the action I think.
are influences because some cues sound reminiscent of the score
cool. I didn't think about that. I don't know I've only seen
it once actually I can't say that I remember that score. Did
James Newton Howard score that?
was several composers actually.
right yeah, Michael Mann fires composers! He gets two cues and
then he gets a new composer!
uses a lot of stuff, the composer here is Antonio Pinto.
yeah I know which cue you're thinking about. That is a little
bit similar actually, and it's probably because there's some
kind of flute or something...
which is not a bad thing, it's a good cue!
yeah definitely. It's also a bit of a fashion thing actually.
Sometimes ethnic instruments just their way into a lot of scores.
Ethnic woodwinds used to be a novelty or an unusual thing a few
years ago but now as soon as you're gonna turn on the TV you're
gonna hear duduk! That's just the way it goes I think. The first
guy to use the duduk was actually Elia Cmiral (THE MECHANIK,
MISSIONARY MAN), he did the score for the Robert DeNiro movie
RONIN, which is a pretty cool score by the way. Some people
hated it but I liked it a lot, and it's got a mad car chase scene
in it that's just out of this world! So back then nobody was
using duduk and stuff like that and then I used it for ZOZO,
that must have been four years ago, and even four years ago it
wasn't that usual and then came along. It's part of globalization
I guess, which is pretty cool. But other than that, I get pretty
much free hands when I'm working with Dolph. I usually send him
a lot of stuff before we start working. But usually it's a lot
of my stuff, and when it comes to temp tracks I like to provide
him with temp tracks myself. Because that way I sort of have
a little bit of control over what flavor sneak into the editing
room or not.
it's better for the editor, because he's gonna have a sense of
your style and it can help him to cut the picture.
it is, definitely. Like you're saying for the style of the movie
everybody knows what we're going to do. I like to work that way,
I think it makes everybody feels comfortable, secure, and knows
what we're working to achieve and that will make us get a good
result and work in peace and quiet.
did the process go, did you spot the picture with Dolph and the
I went to Pinewood, they were editing in London, so we had a
spotting session in London, me, Peter Hollywood, and Dolph. And
from that I started supplying them with more cues and tracks.
It's been a quite long process, to all of us because you know
Peter was quite involved in the post-production of the movie.
So we thought of actually adding and took away stuff, up until
the week of the final mix.
did long did you have to work?
had a little more time on this one, I don't remember exactly
how much it was but six or seven weeks maybe, after picture-lock.
It's ok, I also think it's an indication that Dolph is getting
more and more involved and more and more aware of what he's doing.
In the mixing week he started to take out cues from he movie.
It's a sign of two things: one is that Dolph is developing his
craft and his taste for what he wants and what he doesn't want,
and the other thing it indicates it that the movie is actually
one of the better ones I think.
enough that you don't need to fill in with some music...
because usually with this kind of movie, once the movie starts
it never really stops, it goes on and off. I think in THE DEFENDER
we probably had eighty minutes of music on that one.
pretty much doesn't stop...
exactly, it's world war basically, which I think kind works in
you have a good story and characters you get involved with, too
much music can get you out of it...
I think so. So it's a good thing and sometimes it's pretty cool
to just be silent.
in the best movies when it's been silent for a while and the
music comes up the effects is all the more effective.
and that's sort of more the vibe I'm used to, which is why I
like to do it that way. A Scandinavian movie, a ninety minutes
movie,would have maybe forty minutes of music. That's half of
what we're doing with Dolph's movies from that genre.
is is different to work on Dolph's pictures compared to the Scandinavian
movies and TV shows that you're used to?
obvious difference, I would say, is the amount of music. For
a number of reasons I think, the sort of stories that we tell
and, you know the average Swedish movie is very different from
what we're doing with Dolph. And even if we have a lot of time,
there's more time actually, both to make the movie and to do
the score, for what I'm doing in my regular Swedish projects.
But that said, I think when it comes to get action on the screen,
what Dolph is able to pull off nowadays it's quite impressive
usually score more art-house independent movies?
that's what we're used to so a lot of them are. When it comes
to that sometimes the director really doesn't want any music
at all. It's quite the opposite, totally the other way around.
I did a Danish movie a couple of years ago, and I think I was
working on that for six months, on and off, and we ended up having
eleven minutes of music! So that's really two minutes every months!
must have been frustrating...
Yeah it was actually! I think I did some of my best work on that
movie. It was extra frustrating because that movie didn't do
very well! And it was a very good director, it was her second
movie, and her first movie won the Silver Bear in Berlin so everybody
sort of hoping for this one and unfortunately this movie wasn't
as good as the first one. The movie sort of just opened and next
week they took it away, that was that! That's the way it is sometimes
you spend two days working on something and it's a big fucking
success, sometimes you spend years working on something that
nobody cares about! That would be the biggest difference in a
lot of cases there is not so much of music. Compared to what
we do in the police and action genre, our kinds of movies are
so different, so adding music can be ridiculous. Because the
scope of movies in Scandinavia, many movies are quite really
small so when you add too much music it can get ridiculous and
over the top, it's not the sort of movies asking for it. It's
a much smaller expression I think.
more subtle, sometimes a small cue can be very effective, emotionally.
The best music is the simplest.
I'm a big fan of simple things. French and Europeans movies are
quite similar. Europeans tend to do things a little bit differently
anyway. If you look the guys who are doing really well right
now, Dario Marianelli and Alexandre Desplat. Even if they do
compose music for big Hollywood productions, they're bring in
a sort of European aesthetic to the project and they do stuff
differently from Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt, in a good way.
you didn't get to do ICARUS?
No I don't know who's doing that actually. I'm not sure how involved
Dolph actually is in that project now. It also has to do with
tax issues I think he had to choose a Canadian composer actually.
But I know Dolph sort of had a fall out with the producers...
He wanted to bring in Peter Hollywood as well and that didn't
happen as well but from what I've seen it looks pretty cool actually.
But he's got some other weird shit in the pile!