I asked Douglas Edward, the composer of Depart From Me to write a few words about the score. I'm really excited about this post. Working on music with Douglas is always something I look forward to when I make a movie. He's a super talented dude. I think he has some great things to say about the score and composing music. Here you go!
"Hi my name is Douglas Edward and I am a composer for Film and TV. Dave Matheny asked me if I would answer some questions for his blog and I thought it would be a fun way to talk about my favorite subjects: Music and Film!
I first met Dave after he contacted me through myspace. Over the course of a couple of years, we worked on The Scientist (which was a finalist for best film score at a film festival in 2008) and My Step-Dad's a Freakin' Vampire! (which recently acquired distribution and will be out this October). The interesting thing about those films is that we never met each other in person until the scores were already finished. We didn't know what each other looked like until he drove into town for the scoring session to Step-dad!
Now that those films are behind us, we started working on Depart From Me. This film was an interesting project to work on for a composer because the film expresses many layers of emotion without a single line of dialogue. The film also gave us several options as far as the music goes. Since I knew Dave had originally shot this as a music video for a metal song, we both talked about how an edgy, dark, distorted type of sound would be great for the film. However, we quickly decided to change gears completely and create a score that accented a subtle emotional undertone that otherwise had gone unnoticed. It's a great example of how two completely different elements, that being music and video, can come together to create something that neither could do on its own. It was a lot of fun working on the score for this film!"
"Writing and producing music on a low budget is always challenging. Luckily, the sound we wanted for this film was intimate enough that a large number of players wasn't necessary (nor had to be faked with orchestral samples). I am a huge advocate for using microphones and live instruments in scores, just like a director uses a camera and live actors. So I played a lot of what you hear musically live, including the viola solos and vocals towards the end (which were pitched up to create an eerie sound). Even the electricity sounds were recorded live (they are the sounds of my dad sanding a floor with an electric sander). There isn't much else I would do for this film if I had a larger budget. The only thing we considered is using a children's choir instead of my voice for the vocal section."
"My advice for aspiring composers is pretty simple: Learn everything you can about music. From writing parts for any instrumentation, playing as many instruments as possible, running your own recording sessions, knowing how to work with microphones as well as midi, and most importantly knowing the value of being sensitive to picture in every sense of the word. For the more advanced composers, I would suggest that emotion is always more important than being technical. For the new composers, you must know technique before you can properly yield to emotion (in other words, ignorance is not bliss). I don't mean to sound arrogant- I remind myself of these things every time I write a new score."
Douglas Edward is a festival award-winning composer and classically trained Violinist and Pianist. He has scored many productions, including ABC's Ghostbreakers (hosted by Joey Greco from Cheaters), SyFy's Meteor Apocalypse (starring Joe Lando from Dr. Quinn), and The Boys of Ghost Town (co-starring Danny Trejo from Desperado). Douglas has performed live and in studio with many bands/artists including Bill Callahan, Flickerstick, Calhoun, and Clinic. His string arrangements and performances have aired on TV shows including the WB's One Tree Hill, MTV's 16 and Pregnant, and NBC's Chuck. He currently writes music for media while based in Los Angeles.