EMAIL THE BEEKEEPER
'Grizzly Man' Soundtrack Q&A
1/7/2006

RT Discussion List 'Grizzly Man' Q&A
Courtesy of Flip @ www.richardthompsonforcompletists.com

FF: You've been active in the music business for years,a couple of times you've been involved in making film music. What strikes you as being important differences in terms of professionalism, economics, budgets, publicity,glamour and impact?

RT: Film music brings its own demands. Like every other facet of film making, the composer is slave to the picture, and must adjust his style and ego to fit. Often music is the last thing to be done, when most of the money has been spent! - so a common scenario is, "There's no money and we need it next week". Not true of this project.

FF: How annoying is it, having worked so hard with other musicians, producers and engineers for a couple of days to find out only a few minutes of the music have made it to the film?

RT: Our expectation at the outset was that we would place only about 4 music cues, and we ended up with way more than that in the film, so in this case the reverse was true. On other projects, the most frustrating thing is to work diligently on a cue, timing it to the fraction of a second, only to see it dumped, or the whole scene cut, or another cue just repeated to fill the same space. But as I said, one is a slave, and it's the Director's business, and the script writer is suffering far more than you.

FF: Quite some of the pieces during the sessions seem to have been improvising. Do you like improvising with others or are you more programmed to find song-formats with verses, a chorus, a bridge as soon as you can in a creative process?

RT: It's just degrees. when we record songs, within the verse/chorus structure things are loose, and musicians can play what they feel fits. On 'Grizzly' we had loose structures, maybe a chord sequence, maybe a sketchy idea of shape, maybe just a starting key. It was fun to do this and see where it led, keeping the emotion/emotional development of the scene, and the scene length, in mind.

FF: Do you think your work for Grizzly Man has brought/will bring your music to the attention of new audiences?

RT: It has and it does, to some extent. It certainly exposes you to a new set of people, and they can take it or leave it. Living where I do, on the edge of the film industry, I know a lot of editors, producers, directors, etc. - and my stock has risen with the neighbours! It's the first time I've appeared on their radar.

FF: To what extent is what we see in the "In The Edges"-feature typical for how you usually work while recording in a studio (not talking about your garage now)?

RT: It's not typical, for all the reasons I said about film music, and serving the film.

FF: For what aspects of Timothy Treadwell's life could you bring up any sympathy? Why?

RT: Treadwell was obviously a flawed character, with a sentimental view of nature and an egotistical need to see himself as a protector of wildlife. In spite of his faults, I think he was a great nature photographer, and during his off-seasons, when he visited schools, he probably did more good than harm in being passionate about grizzlies, and protecting the National Parks.

FF: What are your own favourite tracks of the Grizzly Man sessions? Why?

RT: I was most proud of the solo pieces I did towards the end of the sessions, some of which are on the soundtrack, and a couple of pieces with Daniella, just electric guitar and cello. I was working to tight timeframes, and did a whole series of short cues with no retakes.

FF: Werner Herzog. You've said "I have admired WH for many years, he has produced, for me, some of the most striking and poetic images in cinema history". Which WH-films would you recommend in particular?

RT: I'd go for 'The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser' and 'Aguirre, The Wrath Of God'. For documentaries, how about 'The Great Ecstasy Of Woodcarver Steiner' and 'The Wild Blue Yonder'.

FF: Henry Kaiser. What's special about making music with HK? What are good things of having HK around as a producer? Prepared piano? New horizons? Discipline?

RT: For reasons we don't have to go into, Henry doesn't think like other people, so his vision is always unique. He is also a great student of film and film music, and was very focused during recording. It was also wonderful to have Jim O'Rourke there, who is a cinematic lexicon, and superb musician.

FF: What will be your next soundtrack?

RT: Unknown.