That’s an interesting philosophy to go by. I wonder how prominent it is among frequent collaborators, but it is cool to hear. Speaking about Abe Forsythe, let’s talk about Little Monsters. This is an upcoming zombie comedy starring Lupita Nyong’o and Josh Gad. I’ve been told that your style consists of dark electronica, which fits extremely well for a horror film. But for the comedic aspects, did you find that you had to mold your usual style by going back to your orchestral roots?
This is the first project that we had done with a live orchestra. That was a really exciting and rewarding experience, and again, it’s just what the movie needed. I started writing the score electronically, but as we went along, we realized more and more that we wanted to use the orchestra to help us inject elements of fantasy and drama into the film.
That’s interesting. I always love when composers mix synthesizers with orchestral music, as it’s bringing the best of both worlds. I also understand you created a musical notation to help one of the actors, Alex England, learn guitar more quickly. Can you talk about what that was like, and how naturally it came to you?
Yeah, absolutely. First of all, it blows me away the level of fearlessness and enthusiasm that an actor can bring to that sort of challenge. Alex said that his character needed to be able to perform a song and play guitar, and I found out pretty early, before we actually needed to have this ready for him to do on set, that he had never played a guitar before. So we basically just got together a few times and I came up with, I guess, an inventive tuning for the guitar, and wrote the song in such a way that he could play the entire thing with just one or two fingers on the frets. And then we devised a notation system together so that he could basically learn quickly how to perform this thing. [laughs]
He nailed it. He did such a great job and he really fell into it zealously. It was truly inspiring for me to watch that. I think the scene is one of my favorite scenes from the film in the end.
Oh wow, that’s definitely intriguing to know. I’m glad that you were able to do that as it kind of reminds me of The Karate Kid, where you were able to create a different method of approaching music, and that ended up benefiting the film as a whole.
My last question is an inquiry I love to ask every composer I have the privilege to speak to, and that’s what are three pieces of music that have had the greatest influence on you as a composer? They can be a band album, music score, anything.
That’s a difficult question! Yeah, my musical taste is so varied, so maybe I’ll just give you three composers I’m really obsessed with at the moment. I’ll start with David Toop, anything from Brian Eno’s Apollo Record, and then I guess I’ll tap it off with The Rite of Spring [laughs].
Rite of Spring influenced John Williams back in the day, so it’s legacy more than speaks for itself. However, the other two are also great choices.
I like The Rite of Spring because it reminds me that it’s okay to be brave and make mistakes and challenge an audience, because that’s what the piece is all about historically.
That’s right. And I think you have a very bright career ahead of you. When you show this much dedication and talent and skill, it’s almost like a clear pathway to the future, you know? You’re more than destined to do amazing projects. So thank you again for taking the time to speak with me.
Oh thank you man, that’s so kind of you.
Flickering Myth would like to thank Mr. Burbrook de Vere for sitting down with us.
Special thanks to Stephanie Pfingsten of Impact24 PR for making this interview possible!