'Grizzly Man' Soundtrack Q&A
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
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
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
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
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?