10 January 2008

SKYLAND, interview du compositeur Paul Intson

Skyland est une série télévisée d'animation franco-canadienne en 26 épisodes de 26 minutes, créée par Alexandre de la Patellière, Matthieu Delaporte et Emmanuel Gorinstein. Récompensée en 2006 à Annecy lors du festival du film d'animation, la série, mêlant personnages en 3D animés à partir de la capture de mouvements de comédiens et somptueux décors peints à la main à remporté le Pulcinella Award ( best Serie of Action and Adventure).
A l'occasion de la sortie du coffret DVD de la seconde partie de la saison 1, le compositeur de la série, Paul Intson nous parle de sa participation à ce chef d'oeuvre de l'animation française. Au fait, ne dit-on pas que la passion permet de déplacer des montagnes?

© 2006 Method Films

Please, Paul Intson, how may you introduce yourself?
Paul INTSON - I am 48 years young. I was recently in Paris and would gravitate towards the artists Ambroise Vollard represented …although this is ever evolving. Musically I’m all over the map –Hank Williams to the Russian 7. Film wise I’m a litmus test for the populist.

What about your training?
I dropped out of high school and studied classical bass. I was a terrible study. I’m someone who gathers work experience as the optimum formal training. And I believe that is where all my life’s luck has accumulated. At 46 I decided it was time to study hockey; so that takes up quite a bit at the moment.

Addressing a small orchestra -2004

And what about your background?
As a kid, I was in trouble frequently– until I started playing bass seriously. I seem to need stimulus to stay out of jail…

How would you describe or characterize your own musical style?
I dream that it exists as an extension of Manfred Eicher’s ECM label sound – but I’m probably closer to some guy in a basement somewhere in Canada…

How do you choose a project to work on?
Well … I guess if they say yes then I’m working on it..

How do you compose? Do you have a method of working? How do you proceed?
For the past few years I’ll study the project by trying to absorb what materials are available to me ie: scripts, grahics, ect. I’ll then go to the Hamilton library to get my hands on resources … if not there I’ll end up at the University library. Most of the time this process takes me out of my preconceived myopia so I can have a 360 degree spin on available options. And then I peck at the piano – sometimes for days...

What do you feel when you’re composing and what do you like in this process?
The evolution of an idea– that buzz along with the interpretation of the notes on a page during the recording stage, is quite hard to beat.

How did you come on Skyland?
I was one of 10 composers asked to submit. They called and said ‘you’.

May you describe your score for this film? May you tell me about your approach on this film? Did it evolve during the production?
The director Emmanuel Gorenstein had great ideas for a ‘sound’. He would send me music that liberated me to show him anything. It seemed that with each thematic idea it became closer. In the end we used all the ideas in some form. It was lovely – my only regret is we were not able to physically occupy the same space more.

Do you think Skyland is characteristic of your style, was it natural to you, or did you have to struggle to find the musical voice of the series?
The show happened at the right time for me as a composer- that being it seemed effortless once we developed a sound.

How was each episode scored?
The score existed as a library. The first 4 episodes were scored, the second 4 less so, and then there were composed scenes during the rest of the season as special request. It was done on and off for about a year and a half.

Did you want to go to a kind of a “Leitmotiv” approach ? Are there themes that are not character-oriented ? Why ?
The series approach was theme and variation. I felt that the music was the untangible quotient to the story – the ‘Hope and Faith’ that Mahad and Lena would reunite with their parents – and on a bigger scale the residents of Skyland would become free of Oslo and the Sphere and the Prophecy would be fulfilled. I tried to compose the series so that no matter how the music was edited the hope element could not be erased. Hopefully…

How did you manage to plunge the audience in another universe from the sonic point of view?
Jim Longo (the sound designer) was really responsible for that …

Can you tell me about these gamelan-like sounds? How did you come to this kind of a signature sound for the series? How did you use them? In what circumstances? And how did you record them?
Emmanuel proposed a lot of gamelan Akira references – I happened to compose for the Evergreen Club Gamelan in Toronto so was therefore familiar with the ‘pelog’ system of the Sundanese gamelan. Unfortunately due to constraints I ended up using samples …. So I wrote with the 5 note system to try and keep it somewhat authentic.

How did you work with the crew? What kind of material, of images did you have to draw your inspiration?
Method Films (of France) did a promo for Skyland at the initial stage. That combined with stills sent to me were my early inspiration.

Did you want to treat Skyland as animation or as live action? Can you explain why and how?
My guess there is I tried to treat the series as a ‘new’ art. Although there are composition processes I’m never going to quite shake; I did not conscientiously apply either … and maybe it’s because my lack of formal training limits my intention towards a composition ‘system’.
Who did you work with? Who was your main contact while working on the series?
Emmanuel …although lots of other people like to share their thoughts …and are therefore pregnant with suggestions…

How did you work with the French creators of the series? The first few spotting sessions were done over a conference phone...
How did you do with the spotting sessions?
Where both groups lined up their own Quicktimes and then both pushed ‘Go’. It actually worked … and we worked more in broad strokes as a result. After a while spotting involved the music editor and Emmanuel would respond before the mix for adjustments.
Can you tell me about the recording sessions? Did you appeal to live musicians? How did you choose the live parts and the electronic parts? And why?
We recorded via internet and also in Ancaster, Ontario at my studio. I had to divide up the sections like trombones, trumpet & french horn because my room is so small …and a live large ensemble would just sound atrocious. I tried to use as many live players as possible however; the series was extremely limited on their allocation of music funds – the choice to use players was like deciding which of your best friends doesn’t walk the plank.

Do you know why they waited so long between the release of the first and of the second part of the season on DVD?
I know there was a hiatus between the delivery of the first and second 13 episodes (26 in total).

What kind of hiatus?
Production Hiatus - essentially a break for everyone to breathe.

Do you know about the release date of the second season? Did you start working on it?
There were a total of 26 episodes produced with a break between the delivery of the first and second group of thirteen episodes. I don't believe there will be any other episodes produced past that, but then you can never say never...

Have you heard about a Skyland videogame? Will you be part of it?
I have heard of the game, I have not heard anything further...

Have you heard about a Skyland' movie? Will you be part of it? It's still in development stages ... that's all I know for now.

More and more first-rate music composers come to video game music. Do you? What do you think about that? Do you think it is the normal venture for a composer nowadays?
The first time I heard Michael Giacchino was on a video game score. If the medium is open to the composer making good art I can’t see any reason to limit any type of collective venture between video and audio...

Do you think there will be a cd of your music for Slyland released? Will there be a second season? Would you like that?
Sure … you bet!

Last minute changes -2005

Can you tell me about your projects?
Doing a new animation series entitled “Spliced”, a second season of the animation series “Grossology” … a National Film Board animation entitled ‘Labrynth” and Emmanuel Gorenstein has a new project…
Do you have specific message?
A website is on the drawing board and should be up sooner than later. If you’d like to share your ideas look me up! And if you’re in Ancaster give me a call, if you can’t shoot a puck we can go for a beer…

Remerciements particuliers à Agathe PINCHON

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Persilya said...

Beau travail, merci ;-)

LoicLD said...

Super génial!!! à+ et merci beaucoup pour ce beau travail!!!!