Andrew Lockington (Composer - 'Journey ...)
'A Journey of Epic Proportions'
Canadian composer Andrew Lockington sets an invigorating tone for New Line Cinema’s 3D film “Journey into the Center of the Earth” starring Brendan Fraser. The film is based on the original book and unlike previous live-action features, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is the first to be entirely shot and released in 3D.
Because of this, Lockington integrated a large traditional orchestra and full choir with the orchestral percussion of the Japanese drumming ensemble, Kiyoshi Nagata. Kiyoshi Nagata uses gongs, bells, wooden clappers, shakers and bamboo flutes – resulting in thunderous drumbeats with subtle, intricate rhythms.
Taking it from the top and what were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your compositions today? Andrew Lockington - "I'd say the answer to both questions is everything. Certainly film scores had an effect on me as a kid, but I had an appetite for all kinds of music really. I definitely spent the majority of my youth listening to or playing music. I don't listen to nearly as much music as I used to, often finding the last thing I want to do is listen to music after a long day of writing it. I make an effort to listen to as many different kinds of music as possible, and enjoy hearing new things. All of these experiences must contribute in some way to how I approach my own music, but it's never a conscious thing."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying some of your previous soundtrack works, which one would you yourself advise them to listen to? "I've had the opportunity to work on many different types of films, and as such done many varying film scores. "SkinWalkers" is a score I did for a werewolf / horror film which is also an orchestral score but has a distinctly different tone than "Journey..." (Understandably)."
"My other scores vary from a 60's type romantic comedy score (with East Indian influence) for "Touch of Pink" to acoustic guitar and uilleann pipes for "One Week" to a hip-hop influenced score for "How She Move". I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work on very different styles of film thus calling for varying approaches to the score. Working on a score that calls for new approach is what makes this job really fun. It's too hard to pick only one."
For your work on 'Journey into the Center of the Earth' you integrated a large traditional orchestra and full choir; even incorporating the percussion of the Japanese drumming ensemble, Kiyoshi Nagata. Was this something that was offered to you for the score or something that you brought to the project? "When I came to the project we were all in agreement that this film called for a more traditional orchestral adventure score. The choir was the idea of music supervisor Lindsay Fellows. I had done a film with Kiyoshi a few years earlier where the score was anchored on Japanese and Sudanese rhythms and music. While I was writing the themes for Journey I could hear those big drums in my head playing along with the orchestra. There's something about these big hollowed out log drums that seemed to fit with the center of the earth."
Indeed, how easy (or hard) is it to constantly create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderment's/accomplishments/arrangements that preceded it within the industry? "Wow, that's a pretty intimidating challenge. I've never thought of it that way - probably a good thing. First and most important, is creating a score that works with the picture and helps communicate the story. Whether a score stands on it's own as a piece of music for a CD is another story, and a less important one. You can have an amazing film score that isn't an enjoyable piece of listening music, and vice-versa."
"As far as creating a sound that people want to hear, I think humans like to hear music they feel comfortable with but with a few pleasant surprises thrown in. When your favorite band comes out with their new album and you throw it on the stereo for the first time, your best reaction will be if the new music has many similarities to the last album, but has a few departures into new ideas."
"Film composers tend to have more diversity in their music because different films call for different approaches."
In composing the score, you recorded and mixed the soundtrack at the infamous Abbey Road Studios in London, England. Why there over any other recording studio? "The score was recorded at Air Studios in London and then mixed at Abbey Road. They're both incredible music studios. I had worked in London several times before and I knew the players and the sound I'd get from recording there. This score really benefited from that sound. The musicians are "smashing" and my orchestrator / conductor lives there so everything pointed to recording the score in London. I'm actually headed back to Abbey Road next week to record the score to the upcoming film "City of Ember". I really enjoy recording there."
How long did this score take to create and were there any technical glitches that occurred due to one reason or another? "I had about 6 months to write the score. The first two or three months were spent theme writing, which was a real luxury. Often when working on a film you have to start writing cues immediately. Having a few months to concentrate on coming up with good melodies was integral to how the score turned out. Knock on wood, there were no technical glitches."
Are you working on a new soundtrack as we speak, perhaps? "After writing "Journey...." I did the score for a film called "One Week" which will get it's World premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. It's a very different score, written for a small ensemble of acoustic guitar, piano, Uilleann pipes etc. My score for "City of Ember" will be another large orchestral score."
What classic film score would you love to rearrange today in your own style if you were given the chance? "I'd have to say none. I think it's hard to redo something that's been done so well the first time."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "I'm Canadian. I love everything!"
Thanx again for doing this for us today, and we wish you all the best for the future. "Thank you. I hope your readers enjoy the film!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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