What’s your background as a musician?
I am a Junior High band nerd turned self taught guitar player. I drove from Mississippi when I was 19 and founded the band Blind Melon. My journey continued after Blind Melon into my solo projects, producing bands, building a studio in the North Hollywood arts district and now scoring.
It has been a wonderful journey thus far. Composing for film is my next chapter.
Was composing a new challenge?
Composing has proven to be a great fit for me. I find it refreshing to support a film story and help the director/editor achieve the right mood and emotion. Plus I get a fancy name: “composer” instead of “song writer”.
How did you begin composing the score?
I would say I started composing a basic theme melody as I was reading the script. I went to bed thinking about the time period of the story, the tension with the natives and impulsiveness of young love. Those types of thoughts would roll around in my head as I’d hum melodies.
I caught myself humming a melody that kept coming back. I knew I did not want it to be too spaghetti western of a vibe so I was very careful not lean to hard into the “cowboyness” of it. I wanted it to sound more “grand” and less gunfighter.
Can you talk through some of the sounds you created though the different instruments?
I tried to keep the instrumentation of the mediator as “rural” as possible. Guitar , Piano, lapsteel, violin, ect, but I certainly turned to a more modern approach to all of this by using virtual instruments to map out my string arrangement before I handed it off to Stevie Blacke our string musician to record “live” strings. Some of the sounds turned out to be simple drones by layering instruments to create tension while also being careful not to pull attention away from what was happening on the screen. There is a real balance that needs to be achieved to support the emotional content of the story but not blow it away. I can be guilty of doing too much to a scene. I am constantly stripping tracks away, editing myself.