Graeme Revell (Composer - 'Aeon Flux')
'Revelling In The Flux of the Fog!'
Award-winning film and television composer Graeme Revell has scored the upcoming "Aeon Flux," a sci-fi actioner starring Charlize Theron. Paramount will release the film December 2.
The story is set 400 years in the future, when disease has wiped out the majority of the earth's population except for one walled, protected city-state, Bregna, ruled by a congress of scientists. The story centers on Aeon Flux (Theron), the top operative in the underground 'Monican' rebellion, led by The Handler (Frances McDormand). When Aeon is sent on a mission to kill a government leader, she uncovers a world of secrets.
Revell, whose credits include such feature films as "Sin City," "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," "The Insider," "The Crow" and "The Fog" recently expanded his career with his video game scoring debut "Call of Duty 2" and "Call of Duty 2: Big Red One." Revell is a New Zealand native whose highly sought-after work is recognizable by its mixture of traditional cultural music, soaring vocals and natural sounds combined with his classical training.
The award-winning composer was first recognized by the Australian Film Industry for the score of his freshman film, "Dead Calm," when he earned an Australian Film Industry Award for Best Score. Since then he has created music for more than 80 films and television programs. In May of 2005, Revell was awarded the Richard Kirk Award at the BMI Film/TV Dinner, given annually to a composer for his outstanding work and contributions in motion picture and television music.
Graeme Revell has made a name for himself with his blending of traditional ethnic music and ambient sounds. Known to mix New Age effects, ghostly vocals and tribal percussion, Revell often experiments with animal and industrial sounds. His unique style has been responsible for the riveting atmosphere of some of Hollywood's most tense thrillers, such as "Open Water," "Out of Time" and "The Negotiator." One of his latest releases was "The Fog," a remake of 1980's John Carpenter classic.
I was recently lucky enough to sit down and chat with the man himself just after he had scored for the movie 'Aeon Flux' starring Charlize Theron. So, I first wondered how had that scoring session worked out for him? "It was good. We were only doing 28 strings for the full day and sweetening places we had electronics. It was interesting. We still had a number of different opinions in the room between the studio and the producer. There was some degree of difficulty, but it was fun."
How does scoring a sci-fi actioner set 400 years in the future differ from scoring a set-in-modern day action film? "Karyn Kusama, the director, had wanted a sound that was very spectral. I tried to inject sexiness in there as well for Charlize Theron’s character. Karyn also said that, in her opinion, human emotions in the future are going to be exactly the same as they are now. I had no reason to doubt that since emotions are the same today as they were 8,000 years ago. So we had to address that as well. I chose elements that reached out and she was very happy with it."
Having recently scored for 'The Fog' remake, I was wondering how much of the original you listened to ... for fear of it overly influencing you?! "I have not heard the original theme, so I cannot say I was influenced by it."
Why make the choice to expand your scoring into the world of video games ... and how different is it scoring between the two? "It wasn’t as micromanaged as film, not so many cooks in the kitchen with all their different opinions. That allows you to be more organic in the writing and it was good for me to write fairly straightforward epic orchestral music, I enjoy that. People will be able to have an opinion about whether I’m any good at it, and hopefully I will have a chance to do it again."
"As far as the technicalities of writing for video games go, you have to build a loopable character in your music, so you may have 2 or 4 bars of repetitions that allow the player to play at different speeds but you still hit the main events in the scene. It’s a little bit of a mystery to me how that works, but I’ll be looking forward to seeing it."
How have you matured as a composer since you burst onto the scene with 'Dead Calm' ...? "I think I find things a lot easier now in the sense of the mechanics of the work that I do. I still try to push the boundaries a little bit each time I step out. I also handle contrary points of view much better. I can always find a way to make everybody agree that the music I’m writing is working. When I first started with “Dead Calm,” it was baptism my fire. I had to write three separate scores to fulfill that function."
... and how did you get that scoring opportunity in the first place? "I started my career in Australia in about 1977 as one half of an industrial/punk rock band called SPK. I was in Australia for about a year or two and I went to England. We spent until about 1984 in England, went back to Australia for awhile and then, just by pure chance lucked onto doing Dead Calm. To cut a long story short, after about 3 months of experimenting with different directions with Dead Calm, I used something I had written for one of my SPK albums that I hadn’t used earlier and everyone was very happy with it."
You've been known to experiment with animal sounds on your scores ... which one of your finished projects best reflects something such as this? "I suppose “Pitch Black” because I was instrumental in creating all the monster sounds for that. That came through jungle sounds I had in my back pocket from a project I had years before. There was also a little bit of baby piglet in there as well."
What cheesy '80s pop song would you love to re-compose if asked ... and why?! "I suppose I could do an interesting version of that Marc Almond song, “Tainted Love.” I could do a really nasty industrial version of that. There was an Australian TV show where they got lots and lots of people to do “Stairway to Heaven.” My band did one which was just pure white noise."
Finally, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Penguins? I love them, especially the emperor ones who carry the egg on their feet!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win a copy of the 'Aeon Flux' CD soundtrack AUTOGRAPHED by the composer Graeme Revell himself, just answer this easy question: As mentioned above, one of Revell's latest releases was "The Fog," a remake of 1980's John Carpenter classic. But who composed the original music for it back then?
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before January 31st with your answer and the subject title 'GRAEME REVELL SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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