Aaron Zigman (Composer - 'Alpha Dog')
'Pounding The Drug Beat'
Composer and producer Aaron Zigman has scored 'Alpha Dog' for writer/director Nick Cassavetes and New Line Cinema. The film, starring Justin Timberlake, Dominique Swain, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Foster and Sharon Stone, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2005.
The film is a drama based on the life of Jesse James Hollywood, a drug dealer who became one of the youngest men ever to be on the FBI's most wanted list. To match the grittiness of the film, Zigman scored it to have an edgy urban feel, with a lot of rap, techno and rock.
Zigman is no stranger to the urban music. The composer made a name for himself producing and arranging for artists such as Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, Nona Gaye, the Pointer Sisters and Christina Aguilera. Known for his command of rhythm and different styles, he developed his knack for melody into his current scoring career.
The composer created "scource" music, a term for music that is somewhere between song and score, rather than underscoring emotion and creating traditional characters' themes. He co-wrote most of the songs in the movie, and layered them underneath the story to portray the pastiche of the music indigenous to violent world of the high school-aged characters.
Zigman has also worked on "The Wendell Baker Story", the directorial debut of Andrew Wilson and Luke Wilson, starring their brother Owen Wilson, Eva Mendes and Eddie Griffin; and "Raise Your Voice," a vehicle for pop superstar Hilary Duff. Among his other upcoming film releases are "Flicka" with Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw, "10th & Wolf" with Giovanni Ribisi, James Marsden and Dennis Hopper.
Chatting recently with Aaron Zigman himself, and taking it from the top, I first asked him to take us back to the very start of his foray into feature film composing when he worked with Nick Cassavetes on 'John
Q'. "He heard a symphonic piece I wrote performed by live orchestra and was impressed by my work. We had met through mutual friends and he decided to go to a concert I did with the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony where I performed a 35-minute tone poem divided into five moments that I'd composed as a tribute for Itzhak Rabin. He came to my studio in Los Angeles and I played him some more of my work."
For this score to 'Alpha Dog,' it's been noted that due to the films overall grittiness that to match it you created what is known as "source" music. Please explain this style more. "I wrote songs that related to the gritty quality of the culture and to what was going on at the time."
Did you have a chance to work closely with some of the artists found on this soundtrack, including Justin Timberlake? "I worked with rapper Tech N9ne. All the other artists were my own."
Prior to scoring this film, did you happen to know anything about this real life drug dealer, Jesse James Hollywood? And if not, what surprised you the most about him once you had seen the film? "Yes I did. Before they made the film, he was at large. Then, towards the end of the film, they caught him in Brazil. That was a surprise!"
What is lined-up next for your scoring talents to work freely upon? ""Take the Lead," an Antonio Banderas film. "Akeelah and the Bee" with Lawrence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. "ATL," a film with Warner Bros. And "Flicka"with Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I love penguins. Penguins are the bomb!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win a brand new and AUTOGRAPHED 'ALPHA DOG' CD from Aaron Zigman! Just send us an e:mail here before April 15th with your answer and the subject title 'ALPHA DOG SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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