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Thanks man! When I was in the slog asking myself why the heck I was spending so much time doing this, I kept thinking back a 10 or 11 year-old me in the late 1980s slogging through microfiche at my local Kansas library to find any articles I could about Elfman. This is for the now and future generation of uber fans!
That said, expanded “Influences” and added a “Process” section, and think my work is officially done. I guess until DOOLITTLE comes out. 😀
thank you! agree this article was super illuminating. starts off with the usual and then BLAM! all that stuff about DePalma and Fran Walsh come out of nowhere. And it was revelatory that he doesn’t feel he’s ever done a true horror score (which is kinda accurate when you think about it).
I was actually able to access the article on my iphone using the safari browser. There’s a little icon that looks like either a sheet of paper or two different sized A’s side by side. If you click it and choose “Show Reader View” it pulls just the text from the article.
For this group, this was some of the best bits. (Already shared on FSM but should have come here first – please don’t doubt my allegiance!)
FANGORIA: Speaking of synthetic scores, how well are you able to anticipate the trends or transitions that scoring seems to go through? Those in particular have become tremendously popular over the last few years.
Elfman: Which I’m also so happy for. I mean, it’s always going to go through these surges of changes. Like something will come back in a way. I must’ve in my career seen at least three times when studios go, no orchestral, let’s get it more rock and roll sounding orchestral’s getting old. And then like the biggest film of the year will come out with a big orchestral score and suddenly it’s like, “it’s back again.” And so they keep announcing its death, and there’s been this constant desire to get more rock and roll-y, which generally I think is a real bad idea. I won’t tell you what film, but there was a big film about 12 years ago-ish in the genre for which we’re speaking. And I met with the director and he was like, “when he goes into such and such mode, electric guitars…,” and it’s like, oh boy. And we’re in the 2000s. And I was just thinking this is so ironic because not only is this outdated, what he’s asking me to do, which in his mind is more contemporary. But when I rescored Mission: Impossible in the nineties, Brian De Palma was saying “electric guitars make it sound so old, and outdated.” So the mid-nineties, it was already to his ear sounding outdated, that bad-ass kind of electric guitar and I kind of balked. And then I got a lecture from my agent that the director thought you were really arrogant. And maybe I was, but at any rate, that desire to kind of rock and roll-ize scores usually fails dismally and dates it terribly unless it’s the right film. I mean, I love playing bad electric guitar on films as much as anybody. And I don’t know if any composers have more bad electric guitar playing in their films as me because it’s all over a lot of stuff. The really nice acoustic stuff is always a guitarist I’ve been working with for years. But the nasty electric stuff, especially if it’s out of tune, is always me. You hear that everywhere. Feedback, I love doing that kind of stuff. But I try to integrate it in a way that doesn’t ever try to sound bad ass or as that director was saying when he asked for that power chord and I said, I’m all for electric guitars in scores, but orchestra and electric guitars is a dangerous combination if you do it the wrong way because the Superbowl has defined that – sports scoring, Wrestlemania, big wheels, all of these is orchestra with power chords.
in hindsight, my career is what it is and it was what it was, but they found me and I was most eager to comply. And the results were mixed. The Frighteners was a difficult film. It was kind of hard to nail down the tone. And in the end, Peter’s mate Fran [Boyens], who’s his collaborator, was not happy with the way things went down with me. And so I got the boot after that. I tried to move the schedule along a week early because I really wanted to do Mission: Impossible with Brian De Palma. And it just meant like a week overlap, because he was also on that list. And I don’t think I was ever quite forgiven for that, but I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed working with De Palma. He was a trip.
I’ve literally had directors tell me that they’re unhappy with a piece of music – can you make it more ‘Danny Elfman’?
FANGORIA: Do you know what that means now?
Elfman: I don’t know what the fuck that means. It means like something that they’re thinking of that I’ve already done. And that’s hard. So if that means Beetlejuice, it’s like, well Beetlejuice was Beetlejuice, this film isn’t Beetlejuice. So you kinda try to do the best you can, but it’s not always helpful. Sometimes what people hear in your music is indefinable. But one of my favorite moments was De Palma talking about themes. He goes, “you did this great theme for Dead Presidents.” And I realize what he’s talking about was three bass drums, that essentially was the theme. It wasn’t even a melodic instrument. So you never know what’s going to stick in somebody’s head. It’s funny how people will hear things you never would have guessed.July 24, 2019 at 7:14 pm in reply to: Batman Returns Limited Edition 2cd from LaLaLand Records #98994
If you want to read along as you listen/watch…
WOW. Can’t wait to hear how Elfman corrupts those young minds with his composition! And Adams’ “Harmonielehre” is one of my all-time favorite classical pieces. The last movement is the pinnacle sublimity.
“I’ll have to hurry up on my redesign of this site which has probably taken just as long…”
Happy 30th! I’ve noticed a few articles here and there, but was especially fascinated by this article about Prince’s “inspired by” soundtrack. While there’s no mention of Jon Peters’ insane concept to have Michael Jackson/Prince/George Michaels do Batman/Joker/Vicki Vale themes respectively and then have Elfman tie it all together, it does discuss how Prince’s manager/director at the time Albert Magnoli suggested Prince do his own thing then submit songs to Tim Burton to select for the film a la carte fashion.
“Some of the songs were half-finished songs from other projects that he realized that if he changed the lyric, that could be [fit the film]. So there was a whole kind of synergy where he just sat with the songs and worked them.” Although Prince found inspiration in both the content and themes of Burton’s film, Magnoli said he was surprised when he learned that the filmmaker, who had used Prince’s earlier songs “1999” and “Baby I’m a Star” as placeholders in a rough cut of the film, intended to use some of the new songs on screen. “‘Partyman’ sprang forth based on the antics of Jack Nicholson as the Joker, and we were told that they would use it in the film, which wasn’t our plan at all,” he says.
Some hard hitting New York Magazine reporting from behind the scenes of ‘Gary’:
“… the penises of Gary need to perform on demand eight times a week, to precise specifications. When they rise, they need to point straight ahead, and they need to be able to swing left to right at a controlled, synchronized pace… The penises and scrota are each fitted onto a dancer’s belt, which the soldiers wear over a regular one, and they’re then controlled wirelessly by Cie Martin, Gary’s props master. ‘One slider moves the Romans up and down, and one slider moves the Romans side to side,’ she said. The pace is not automated, requiring her to work in time to Danny Elfman’s score. When asked if this is the strangest thing she’s ever had to do as a props master, Martin replied, ‘I would say yes — but in this show it is not the strangest thing./
‘gary’ opened this weekend and elfman posted a short break-a-leg clip on social media with a bit of the score!View this post on Instagram
I wish the wonderful cast of “Gary” a spectacular opening. I certainly would have been there were I not in the studio recording a score this weekend. To the cast, the crew, Scott Rudin, Sue Wagner and, of course, the amazing Taylor Mac and George C. Wolfe….. break a leg!!! . . #garyonbroadway
A post shared by Danny Elfman (@dannyelfman) on
he also says he’s in the recording studio now with a film. would that be MIB: INTERNATIONAL?
the fellas at cinemablend had an adoringly fanboy interview with elfman recently. while the convo was primarily about DUMBO and elfman’s work with burton, elfman revealed that his theme for DARKMAN was originally written for a different film. 😮
interview takes place 1:04:10 – 1:22:11 here: https://www.cinemablend.com/podcast/2468999/reelblend-62-us-spoilers-and-our-danny-elfman-interview
March 28, 2019 at 4:09 pm in reply to: Sony Classical Releasing 'Eleven-Eleven' and Piano Quartet #98886
- This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by sajrocks.
my jaw has been perpetually dropped this past week every time i get to the lacrimae section of the 4th movement. it’s something beyond sublime.
did everyone see the LA Times profile on the disc? lots of good quotes from elfman and sandy cameron on the reason for this concerto’s being:March 22, 2019 at 4:35 pm in reply to: Sony Classical Releasing 'Eleven-Eleven' and Piano Quartet #98866
now up on spotify u.s. whole. new. level. the quartet is BEYOND.
looks like elfman went all GRINCH/JUSTICE LEAGUE on DUMBO, incorporating not one but two themes from the original film: “pink elephants on parade” and “casey junior”. the marvel universe can barely keep this up from film to film, and here elfman’s doing generations-spanning call backs. music lovers/historians of the future rejoice!
“I knew ‘Pink Elephants on Parade.’ I don’t know quite how I knew it, but it was like definitely part of my musical DNA. ‘Baby Mine’ I didn’t know as well, but I knew that also, I’m not really going to touch on that one, but ‘Casey Junior,’ it’s like, yeah, I know that tune. That’s a good tune. It’s just a good tune and on that basis alone, I got to find a way to get some ‘Casey Junior’ in the room.”
(note: weirdly edited article from moviefone, syntax as if it was google translated from another language. read at your own grammatic risk.)
audio doesn’t work for me either — not on lincoln center’s page and not from their itunes link. thank goodness for the transcript!
Hadn’t seen this before – lengthy, richly detailed interview between Elfman and the Lincoln Center’s “The Score” podcast about his classical influences and how he goes about composing his chamber works. Perhaps the first time he’s heralded John Adams? Also, calls himself a “commission slut” and notes that he keeps a “future file” of ideas and compositions that don’t make it into his film scores. 😀
KG: How much was the concerto floating in your mind though during that year and a half? Does it just completely go away and then come back? Or is it just sort of there?
DE: Every now and then, I would have like a little idea while I was writing something else and I would kind of write that idea down and tuck it away in a “for the future” file. And one of them did survive, just as at least a beginning, an idea. So yeah, sometimes I’m writing something for a movie and I get some kind of thing in my head, and as I’m putting it together I go, “All right, this will just never work for the film. But it’s interesting.” And I’ll put it in one of two files: either future possible film thing, because it’s that kind of melody or tune or piece of music, or this is orchestral. I don’t know what this is for. Put this in the “could be a concert piece, could be something,” I don’t know. And then later, when I’m starting new work, I’ll go into these files and see “Well, what did I have?” Sometimes there’s something useful, sometimes there’s not. I still have a dozen pieces I really like over the last three, four years that I don’t know if I’ll ever find a place for them. I’ve got like kind of odd orchestral stuff, I’ve got a piece for like twenty guitars and a chamber orchestra.
- This reply was modified 10 months, 2 weeks ago by sajrocks.
additional thoughts just posted to FSM after second listen:
some of elfman’s brightest, airiest orchestrations in years (can really hear between the sections with some great woodwind clarity)…
loving the kooky faux rock/jazzy riffs al la ‘the incredibles’ in “walking toward destiny”, “grinch’s wild ride” and especially “mailing the letter”…
well hello reedy organ, theremin and i think elfman’s first use of full bell choir ever…
some terrific stallingesque writing reminiscent of his work on “meet the robinsons” and obvs “nightmare before christmas”…
knocks the choir/brass big christmas sound out of the park, and keeps the tchaikovsky pizzicato string + glockenspiel holiday cliche ALIVE…
standout tracks: “the big opening”, “christmas in whoville”, “lost lonely boy”, “loudest snow”, “taking the bait” and showstoppers “grinch’s wild ride” and “stealing christmas”…
a nod to “welcome christmas” from the 1966 film in the first bars of the opening? fah who foraze, dah who doraze indeed!
Fun, super relaxed 90-minute interview between Elfman and fellow horror buffs on “The Boo Crew”. Amidst the typical (but a little more in-depth) biography/process topics are a great opening bumper with everyone goofing off, Elfman mentioning his favorite recent horror scores, his fessing up to the Wendy Carlos homage in DARK SHADOWS, and at just after the 1hr 11 min mark, he mentions a new concert work likely to debut next year scored for “chamber orchestra, 12-16 female singers, two percussion, two electric guitars, bass and drum”!
I don’t think I ever heard it in any other MI movies.
Kraemer uses “The Plot” a bit in his ROGUE NATION score, e.g. “A400”, “Havana to Vienna”, “The Syndicate” and I think most prominently in “The Torus”.
Oh man. Elfman’s M:I score is securely in my top three all time favorites given the pure sonic invention and percussive density. I remember my jaw dropping in the theater hearing “Red Handed”, “The Heist” and the whole end train sequence for the first time. Over the years tracks like “Max Found”, “Mole Hunt” and “Betrayal” have really grown on me as prime examples of subtle psychic manipulation. Can’t wait for the expanded release (and hopefully Mike Matessino’s keen restorative work and liner notes)!
fascinated that JUSTICE LEAGUE re-entered the charts this week at #14 (doubly fascinated that there are even charts for such things). i’m sure this was helped by the dvd/br release, but i also think it’s an indicator that the score, like the movie, isn’t near as bad as all the haters and gatekeepers made it out to be upon release. hope it gets some extended play down the line and people have fun “rediscovering” it when the time is right for them. *rolly eye emoji*
- This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by sajrocks.
the headline for that metro article should have been “Sex: Scored!” 😀
ddddeeee: I’m curious, if you had to put together a 45-50 minute compilation of the best tracks from the three films, what would it be?
At least this breaks the trend in less than three years, lest we forget the critical dud brigade that was 1998-2001 (CIVIL ACTION to PLANET OF THE APES). *shiver*
That dual interview was mesmerizing! Also re “looking to be Elfman’s first well-received movie since Goosebumps”, i think it should be noted that though panned by critics, JUSTICE LEAGUE took in $650m+ worldwide and has relatively high audience scores across the board. And while the critics panned TULIP and GIRL, both films received kudos for Elfman’s scores, especially the latter. Just trying to look at the bright side!
Happy to see Den of Geek give Elfman some love for his contributions to Superhero sounds over the years. Reminded me how much I’ve been enjoying the JL score. Some of my favorite cues/musical moments:
-“Hero’s Theme” – dig the syncopated slow burn/build and lumbering 6/4 time signature, as well as the the stabby string counterpoint that starts at 1:07, the complete tonal shift in the middle, the twitchy string figures throughout, and those creaky electronics at the end.
-“The Amazon Mother Box” – haven’t really heard over the top grandeur at this level since Elfman’s amazing Dark Shadows opener (also dig those descending string figures reminiscent of his Hulk score–super hero callback!)
-“Tunnel Fight” – as excellent an action set piece as Elfman has ever composed, and my heart always skips a beat when Flash’s tickly time jump theme cuts through the well-balanced bombast.
-“Anti-Hero’s Theme” is a jaw dropper, unlike anything Elfman has composed for a blockbuster in terms of chord building amidst in his patented “dark superhero” minor mode mono-texture. This cue always makes me wonder what Philip Glassi would do with Batman.
-“Friends and Foes” – powerful, nuanced composition and darrrrrk. Especially love that rolly flute and harp thing at 0:35, and the sinister variations of the Williams’ Superman theme.
-Also: the orchestral arrangements of Zimmer/Guo’s Wonder Woman theme, sections in “Final Battle” reminiscent of his Age of Ultron score (nice subversion of the two universes!), and, more than the full quotes of his classic Batman theme, how he twists/turns it throughout to near unrecognizable mutations.
diggin’ the “hero’s theme”. touches of ultron and spider-man by way of his errol morris music. just wondering why “hero’s” is singular. “friends and foes” has some nice textures. looking forward to seeing how these marry to film. here’s the (double ?) cd tracklist via EW:
Justice League soundtrack
01. Everybody Knows – Sigrid (4:25)
02.The Justice League Theme – Logos (0:48)
03. Hero’s Theme (4:17)
04. Batman on the Roof (2:34)
05. Enter Cyborg (2:00)
06. Wonder Woman Rescue (2:43)
07. Hippolyta’s Arrow (1:16)
08. The Story of Steppenwolf (2:59)
09. The Amazon Mother Box (4:33)
10. Cyborg Meets Diana (2:36)
11. Aquaman in Atlantis (2:39)
12. Then There Were Three (1:10)
13. The Tunnel Fight (6:24)
14. The World Needs Superman (1:00)
15. Spark of the Flash (2:18)
16. Friends and Foes (4:14)
17. Justice League United (1:24)
18. Home (3:24)
19. Bruce and Diana (1:06)
20. The Final Battle (6:14)
21. A New Hope (4:36)
22. Anti-Hero’s Theme (5:35)
23. Come Together – Gary Clark Jr. & Junkie XL (3:13)
24. Icky Thump – The White Stripes (4:14)
25. The Tunnel Fight (Full Length Bonus Track) (10:58)
26. The Final Battle (Full Length Bonus Track) (12:57)
27. Mother Russia (Bonus Track) (1:45)
The score 89:30 min, the songs 11:52 min
(updated w/ times via iTunes.)