What Songs Got You Into Scoring?

Do you remember the first time you truly became aware of the music in a movie or TV show?

Maybe you heard an orchestra full of strings swell up in a moment of triumph? Perhaps you felt the hairs on your arm stand up just as an eerie synth line communicated to you that the murderer was just around that corner? Or possibly you tuned in a bit closer upon noticing that a certain character would always appear when that twinkly melody played?

Underscore is so often designed to fit into the background, or elevate drama and emotion ever so slightly, but only the most groundbreaking music is able to do that and stand alone as exciting, interesting music in its own right.

In the newest episode of our podcast, Themes and Variation, Carter sat down with composers Sofia Hultquist (Drum & Lace) and Ian Hultquist to talk about the songs that first got them into scoring.

The episode features us rattling through conversations about Celine Dion, Vangelis, The Goo Goo Dolls, Miles Davis, and so much more. It’s a fun one — and if you like watching movies and TV shows mostly for the music (like we obviously do), you’re going to love Soundfly’s brand new course, Intro to Scoring for Film & TV, which is out now!

Listen to Episode 56 of Themes and Variation in its entirety right here:

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Episode 56 Highlights

1. Carter on the unconventional genius of Miles Davis.

Carter: “Marcel Romano was with Miles Davis during his European tour. He was documenting the tour for a documentary he wanted to put out, and he has a detail on the process. So Miles watched the film and took notes before scoring any of it, obviously. But soon thereafter, he heard Davis just playing little bits of themes in his hotel room, on the piano, that later turned up in the film. For the recording session, two weeks after Davis first saw the screener of it, Davis brought a bunch of just random musicians from France into a studio with no preparation. They played while watching the scenes. Miles just gave him a couple chords and they improvised to every scene that they were watching throughout the film.”

2. Ian on the personal significance of his song choice.

Ian: “I think I was just trying to think of a song that really, in my mind, is synonymous with another film and where they can’t really live apart from each other. And also it’s something that really introduced me to the concept of how music can become cinematic. You can take like a rock song, but really kind of open up the scale of it and have it tell a story, of another piece of media at the same time. It was really one of the doors opening to eventually lead to film scoring without me realizing it.”

3. Drum & Lace on one of the most epic themes of our generation.

Drum & Lace:Rose’s theme in the movie is this song. So you hear this theme throughout the movie and then, at the end scroll, the song fully comes in and stuff. So it was the first time that I remember thinking that score could be song and the other way around. But just the song being such a big thing for, I think anyone that’s, you know, our age, that’s a millennial or whatever, that ever saw Titanic, I think it was really just like an easy way to then be like, ‘Oh, this song directly fits with the palette of the score.‘”

Join the Conversation

One of our favorite things about our podcast is the fact that the conversation around each theme is so much bigger than the episode itself. We’d love to hear which songs you would have chosen for this episode! Share them with us on Twitter or, if you’re a Soundfly subscriber, in the #podcast channel on Slack.

Plus, with every new episode of Themes and Variation, we launch a new Spotify playlist that includes the songs mentioned in this episode and more. Here’s this episode’s Spotify playlist!

We’ll see you in a couple weeks with a new theme, new guests, and some new songs to break down. If you have any comments, questions, or theme suggestions, drops us a (bass) line at [email protected]!

And don’t forget to check out Soundfly’s brand new course, Intro to Scoring for Film and TV, out now!

Jlin: Rhythm, Variation, & Vulnerability

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