20 June 2007

La Colline à des Yeux 2: Entretien avec Trevor MORRIS par Christine BLANC

Lors d'une mission de routine, une unité de jeunes soldats de la Garde Nationale fait halte dans un avant-poste du Nouveau-Mexique afin de livrer du matériel à des scientifiques. Lorsqu'ils arrivent, le camp est désert. Après avoir repéré un signal de détresse dans la montagne voisine, les soldats partent à la recherche des savants disparus…Ils ignorent que ces collines, autrefois hantées par la terrifiante famille Carter, sont aujourd'hui peuplées par une tribu de mutants cannibales qui attendent leurs proies, pour se nourrir et se reproduire…

Entre séries, jeux vidéos et cinéma, Trevor Morris, compositeur protéiforme, nous ouvre les portes de son art à mille facettes.

Please Mister Morris, for the readers of inter-activities, how would you introduce yourself?

I compose music for TV & fim, I don’t write songs or do record production. Music against picture is really my profession. I did television commercials in Canada before moving to LA, it was definitely how I learned my craft.

When and how did you come to work on film-VG and TV series music? (May you tell me about your training? May you tell me about your background?)
I am largely self taught, although I studied music as a child, but didn’t attend a university like USC for film scoring. So my success, such as it is, in writing music for picture has really come about due to will. Like anything worth having in life, it took incredible dedication. I cut my teeth doing jingles in Toronto, which was an incredible school. The rest was a sort of day by day learning process.

What are your sources of inspiration when you compose some music?
Well working with Hans is and continues to be an incredible inspiration. He really is the man, in so many ways. He is certainly near the top of my list of film score composers that I have looked up to. I mean, most composers of my generation are chasing “Star Wars”, but John Williams, as absolutely amazing as he is, writes in a style, method, and under circumstances that are in no way applicable to me or the modern composer. I write a computer, I am more connect to say John Powel or HGW than John Williams in that way. Although I do watch Star Wars no less than once a month.

Do you consider yourself as being part of a “school” of composition, like Mediaventure or else?
Well Hans’ influence is very strong, and has a gravity to it for sure. I think my school or style, if there is such a thing, is more dictated by my age and era in this business than by Hans directly.

How would you describe or characterize your own musical style?
I’m still trying to figure it out myself.

How do you choose a project to work on?
I’m sure this isn’t what you are supposed to say in an interview like this, but I really don’t get to choose my jobs to a great extent. I say no to lower jobs out of principle, but for the most part my field is very competitive and I am grateful for every film and TV project I get to work on. I have the best job on the planet.

Did your way of working change along the years or according to each film?

Not really. Inspiration comes from different places each time, but the method is always the same. I write in my ultra-high tech studio at a computer.

Do you have a method of working?
The usual manner I would suppose. Watch the picture and react instinctually. I try to write themes and melodies first, even a motif or vibe. Then just work the picture from start to finish.

What do you feel when you’re composing and what do you like in this process?
I am always searching for an idea bigger than me, bigger than my technique as a piano player.
I know I have come across something good when I say to myself “wow, I did that?”

You worked for films, Video Games and TV series. What format do you prefer to work on? May you tell me why?
Film is pretty much the highest of the art forms, besides opera etc.


You worked on Black Hawk Down & Riding in Cars with Boys with Hans Zimmer as assistant composer, in 2001, King Arthur, Pirates Of The Caraibean 1 & 2... Are you still in contact with Hans Zimmer ? Do you talk with him about your latest work? What do you keep from your experience alongside to him?
We still work very closely together. Hans is the master problem solving, a skill that I have definitely taken with me.

What about Pirates of the Caraibean 3 ? Where you part of it? Why? How’s That?
I was scheduled to be, but The Hills Have Eyes 2 created a timing confict, so I have to bow out.

Can you tell me about the cues you composed for each one of the POTC? How did you work with Klaus BADELT? And Then with Hans ZIMMER? Were there differences between the two?
I worked in the same building as Klaus, but never with him. I have huge respect for him and think he is a wonderful composer and very much like me in terms of his approach to using technology in the composing process.

James Newton HOWARD
You worked on Big Trouble in 2002 as composer assitant for James Newton Howard. Are you still in contact with him? What memories do you keep from this experience?How did you come to work with him?
My time with James was brief, but we have remained good friends ever since we worked together. I came to work with him through a fabulous singer Lisbeth Scott and an engineer Jim Hill, both of which I still work with. They were both working with James and reco’d me to work with him in an assisting capacity.

The Hills Have Eyes II -

Trevor Morris Bon Pied-Bon Oeil...
How did you come on the The Hills Have Eyes II project?
It was an odd experience, I literally met Wes Craven and the producers for about 10 minutes, they having never heard my music. I was told later by the music supervisor that as soon as I left the meeting, Wes looked at the room and said “well, there’s our guy”.

Did you see the first versions of Wes Craven (1977 & 1985), and the one of 2006 from Alexandre Aja? Did you listen to the scores of the other “Hill” films? Were you inspired by them?
I saw and hear them all. Being a sequel of a sequel remake, it was hard to not be influenced by the past work. I don’t know many composers who have had to do a movie like that.

May you tell me about your approach? Well its interesting, we ended up utilizing a great theme from the composers of the previous sequel, which stuck as a franchaise sort of riff to bring into the sequel. The rest of my score was mostly a visceral reaction to the imagery.

When you're watching a film, do you feel emotions that lead you rather to orchestra or rather to electronics? How do you use either medium?
I like to blend electronica with orchestra, so my approach was really to blur the lines between aleatoric orchestral gestures and electronic ones. I feel I succeeded.

How did you work, and with what request from the crew?
There were a lot of cooks in that particular kitchen, something that I sort of dread. It is really impossible to make art by comittee I think. So pleasing 4 people is near impossible.

What orchestra and what size did you choose? Did you use some electronic sounds in your score or was it all live?
We did a medium sized orchestra of strings and brass and some percussion and did exclusively aleatoric gestures and things of that nature. That became the base flavour for the soup, if you know what I mean. The rest was electronic.

How did you treat the specific atmosphere of The Hills Have Eyes II?
I react strongly to colour, light, speed of the picture. Everything is derived from that.

To you, what is the most interesting, the most successful or the most complex scene you had to score for this film? May you tell me how you did it? May you analyze for us the relation you created between picture and music?
It was an entire Reel, Reel2. It was a transition reel between the horrific opening of the film, and the first mutant attack. It was a tough and slippery slope and how much tension to infuse and where.

How would you describe your score for The Hills Have Eyes II ? In what way did the very special atmosphere of the film inspired you?
The score is pretty close to 50/50 aleatoric orchestra and electronica, very my style. The film is a modern film, so it seemed the right colour.

Can you tell me about your favourite scene for The Hills Have Eyes II and explain or analyze how you put it into music?
I really enjoyed the final showdown with Hades, such a great romp musically. Full on no apologies kind of scene. As only the final scenes in movies can be.

Did you choose special instruments for the score? And in what way? In order to do so, did you make some research about the way to use these unusual instruments or did you take advice from the musicians themselves?
Well it is an american tale, so contrary to my usual approach, there wasn’t much in the way of ethnic instruments. The orchestra was really the base texture.

Do you have any anecdotes about the process to tell us, funny or interesting things?
The scene I rewrote the most was a man coming out of a toilet... that was a long day.

Will there be a cd of your score for the film?
I don’t think so, but I am working on an itunes digital release. I already have 2 titles with them as an artist.

How did you come to work on Video Games music projects?
They sort of came to me, they like film composers since video games have come so far and now really are little films.

Did you usually playing games?
Loved them as a kid, huge game player.

May you describe your score for Command and Conquer 3 & Need for Speed: Carbon?
NFS was a great blend of Japanese taiko style music and electronica, really unique.
C&C3 was more about creating a new world, a modern world over run by tiberium, a sort of modern crystaline cancer. Super challenging colour wise.

How much time did you have to compose a score for video game?
Video games have a bit of time, comparitively, which I am thankful for. Usually 3 months or so.

How did you work, and with what request from the crew?
Usually there is just one point person for music, which is the way I prefer it. They speak for the interests of the game.

What are the differences between working for films, series and Video Games ?
Not as many as you’d think. The timeline is the most obvious. Film runs for 90 minutes in a linear way, where as games are interactive. Very very different on the mind.

How does Video Game music functions within the game?
Every game is different, some is dynamically cued off of events. Some just literally play out.

What orchestra and what size did you choose? Did you use some electronic sounds in your score or was it all live?
Unfortunatley my games so far have not had budget for orchestra, I so wish they did.

Did you choose special instruments, or technologies for the score?
Very much so. Lots of ethnic places to go. Japan, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Beijing. I hire unique instramentalists for each country, it's so much fun.

Did you use some electronics on it ? Why?
It is largely electronics, due to budget and also due to the style, both dictated by the game and by my personal style.

Can you tell me about your themes for the video games (may you describe them, tell me about the way you used them throughout the video game)?
Its usually done by leve, since most games seem to progress in this fashion. You the player accomplish and move on in levels. I try to give each level a motif.

Among all your scores for the Video Games, what are the ones you like the most?
NFS was a pretty unique score, I quite enjoyed that one.

Do you have any anecdotes about the process to tell us, funny or interesting things?
Not really, just a really enjoyable process for me. I enjoy games a lot.

Will there be a cd of your score for Video Games? If not why?
All my game music is available on itunes download. Need for speed and Command and Conquer 3 area available now... the game I am currently on “Army of Two” will be release when done.


How did you come on the Series project?
Again mostly through contacts and my agents.

May you describe your score for one or each series? (-The Tudors, -E-Ring, -U8TV, -Code Name: Eternity.)
Each series is different, but they all share one common theme, incredible time constraints. Each project is done in an absolutey insane amount of time. Like 36-38 minutes of music in 3 days kind of insane.

May you talk about the story, your relation with the crew?
In TV, producers are king. So I usually liase with the production team directly for notes.
Although in TV there are a lot of people involved, a very large team effort.

How much time did you have to compose your score for each episode, and with what budget?
3-4 days on average, although The Tudors is a little more like a week per show.

Do you know how many seasons are scheduled? For how long have you signed?
You have no idea when you sign on, only after it airs and either continues on or not. The great mystery of television.

What orchestra and what size did you choose? Did you use some electronic sounds in your score or was it all live?
TV is usualy electronica with a few live musician overdubs. Not that many shows get a real orchestra anymore like The Simpsons or LOST.

What do you think about the subjects of the series?
I find them all very interesting, even the ones that didn’t last like ERING.

Will there be a cd of your score for the series ? if yes, when? If not, why?
We are doing a CD release of The Tudors as we speak, I am very excited about it.

TV series seem to be more creative storywise than theatrical movies. Do you agree? Does this dynamic artistic frame exercise or challenge your own creativity?
TV differs insofar as the story line has to have small and large archs, that is enough to carry an episode and a season. “24” is truly amazing at that.

To you, what is the most interesting, the most successful or the most complex scene you had to score for one series? May you tell me how you did it? May you analyze for us the relation you created between picture and music?
I must say ERING was an incredibly complex and interesting score. So diverse and ethnic and electronic and emotional. I truly enjoyed it and miss scoring that show.

Can you describe if there is one, the main theme you created for one or each series, how you conceived it/them, and how you used it throughout the series?
There are usually at least a few themes in a series, and then some per episode.

Among all your scores your made for the series what are the ones you like the most? And why?
I am very proud of The Tudors, is a very rich tapestry of emotions.

Did you appeal to unusual instruments for the score sometimes? Why?
As often as possible, the colours inspire me greatly.

Do you have any anecdotes about the process to tell us, funny or interesting things?
Just the usual time constraints, I am constantly amazed it gets done at all.

Do you have any favorite directors that you liked working with or that you would like to work with?
I enjoyed them all, but the Bruckheimer camp is a very sharp bunch, I hope to work with them again in TV and in Film works.

Are you working on another project? If yes, may you tell me about it?
The Tudors is back for season 2, which is very exciting to see where it goes.

Do you have any other projects to come?
You will be the first to know.
With thanks,

FreeCompteur.comFreeCompteur Live

No comments: