Scott Glasgow is one of the young generation of composers who amazed me with his diligence in recent years. For nearly 10 years living and working in Los Angeles, laboriously building his career. Initially, he assisted film music celebrities such as Christopher Young, Bruce Broughton, Jeff Rona and Ed Shearmur. Recently he scored many interesting movies and released few soundtracks: „Lo”, „Hack!”, „Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles.” It is my pleasure to invite you to read the interview with Scott Glasgow specially for the readers of MuzykaFilmowa.pl.
Łukasz Waligórski: How did you become composer?
Scott Glasgow: I grew up watching movies like everyone else. Being inspired by Back To The Future, Star Wars, Alien, etc. and the music that accompanied them. Also, I was a classical guitar player from a very early age. I think the day I realized I wanted to be a film composer was after seeing „The Rocketeer”. However I trace back my earliest memories of film music to my youth. My grandfather worked for RCA all of his life so I was exposed to all types of music from the day I was born. I remember reading comic books while listening to the score to Alien by Jerry Goldsmith so I can honestly say film music has been with me for a LONG time. Those early records I was listening to had a profound effect on my musical ear and tastes.
Was the film scoring your choice from the beginning?
Yes. I would say it was. But the feelings were pushed aside when I got to college because EVERY young composer going to college in Los Angeles, was saying that they wanted to be a film composer. I think to be different I focused my energies on concert music, and specifically dramatic concert music such as opera (in my head it was an extension of film music for me). Once I finished my Masters from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, I outwardly pursued film music as a career.
It seems that you worked with such great composers like Bruce Brougthon and Christopher Young. Could you say something about it?
At the beginning of my career, I was working for many different composers; Elia Cmiral, Edward Shearmur and a few others. Bruce Broughton, I worked with at the Aspen music festival when he came to be the visiting composer. I had the rare opportunity to get to know him really well personally; not as a student but working side-by-side with him. I worked on four films with Christopher Young. In that situation, a friend (Jonathan Price), had suggested me to Chris, to help out. I worked on „Runaway Jury”, „An Unfinished Life”, „Spider-man 2”, and „The Grudge” with Chris. Chris Young is really great! I enjoyed working for him a lot and would do it again!!
You studied with John Corigiliano. Could you tell something about this?
I was accepted to the Aspen Music Festival on an ASCAP Fellowship to study film scoring with John Corigliano for the year 2001 (before returning the next year to work with Broughton). I had previously studied with Corigliano at the San Francisco Conservatory when he came to teach the students there; however, in Aspen, the studied were only about film music which is VERY unique. John is absolutely incredible as a teacher. He hears everything in his head from paper to the full orchestra and then can make the changes from there. Corigliano is just astounding to be around. He is and always will be a huge influence on my music.
Could you tell something about working on „Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles”? I need to admit, that I’m really impressed by this score. On your website you have provided an instruction how to interpret all leitmotives and whole score. As a critic I have never seen composer trying to explain track by track his music to avoid misinterpretations…
„Robotech” is a franchise of a TV show from the 80’s in the USA (as you already may know). There is a huge fan base built in. After a few conventions, interviews, and meeting with fans, I realized that they wanted to know more details about the music to the film – so I made the webpage. Also, that score is a „leitmotive” score (technique of writing music developed by Wagner with his opera where a person, item or idea can be represented by a musical theme). This lead to a need for me to illustrate the various themes as they are found in the score as presented on the CD. (Note- there is another 15 minutes of score that is yet to be released, news may soon be announced!).
Another score of mine, „Chasing Ghosts”, is also a leitmotive score. I thought of doing a webpage theme analysis for that one too. I think that type of score can get such analysis and be very entertaining. I would like to add somemp3 clips to those webpages someday, if I can find the time to do it! I do run the web page myself. It is a little ragged but seems to get the information across.
Do you think leitmotive compositional technique fit only particular genres like comedy, comic adaptations or sci-fi? Could it work in horror?
I think with a skilled composer, a leitmotive score can work in any genre, but is depends on the story. There have been a few films where I was thinking of doing a leitmotive score („Bone Dry” for example) but the film was a simple story between a few characters and it simply didn’t work. „Chasing Ghosts” and „Robotech” are VERY dense character-driven stories with a lot of complexity. For instance, I’m not sure I could have done that with the comedy „Taking Chances”.
Recently you have scored a few horror films. Do you like this genre or is it just work you have to do, and your dream project is completely different?
I like horror movies a lot. They allow me to really explore more extreme scoring techniques and use some of my custom sample work that I have created over the years. I think if I had a whole career of SciFi and Horror films I’d be happy! Lately I have been doing comedies and it is fun but somehow I resonate more with horror, SciFi, and thriller films. A dream project would be a big fantasy or SciFi film. All composers hope for a really great film with great acting and a great script in ANY genre, but if it happened to be a SciFi film that would be perfect for me!
One of your latest works is „Lo”. The music seems to quotes many classical composers like Saint-Seans or Paganini… Was it your idea? It sounds great!
Thank you! Yes, I came up with that idea after watching the film. It just seemed to fit where I heard the Saint-Saens piece in my head while watching parts of the film. I think it came together nicely. As for Paganini, I have always loved his work and for this film, his reputation of reportedly being in league with the devil was fitting. I think he was the first rock star with maybe Liszt right there too! I really owe a lot to Mark Robertson for the sound of „LO”. Without his wonderful playing I do not know if the score would have sounded as good as it does. Mark is great! He has played for me a few times – the end cue in „The Bridge To Nowhere” and on the score to „Hollywood and Wine” (both unreleased on CD and only „Bridge to Nowhere” available on DVD so far).
What do you consider as your greatest success in terms of film scoring?
Well, probably being able to record live with an orchestra. It has become so rare now with scoring films. It is all samples or fake orchestras now. I have even had a producer say „I know you can score this film without a live orchestra because other composers have told me that it can be done and still sound real enough”. So few projects have a budget to record live now so it’s really a luxury and will probably become a rarity in the future. What used to be the normal situation with scoring film is now the exception which I find terribly sad. Music budgets on films have simply disintegrated and even the composer’s fee has shrunk to an unbelievable (and unlivable) level. I wish I could say it all great scoring films in Hollywood but from a 'making a basic living’ point of view, it is a serious challenge.
Do you know any polish composers?
YES! For sure. I grew up listening to Penderecki! I love his work and if you listen closely you will hear it in my work (particularly „shining axe” from HACK! and „Incantation” from LO). Lutoslawski also had a HUGE influence on me, especially during my early years. Many years ago I had the fortune to meet Lutoslawski in person after the premiere of his 4th symphony with the LA Philharmonic. He was so nice to me, sat and talked with me after the concert, signed my copy of one his scores I owned, and could not have been a more generous person. A few months later when I was writing my Piano Trio, I heard he passed away. The middle movement to the Piano Trio is subtitled „a memorium Witold Lutoslawski” as a tribute to his greatness as a composer and his generosity to me that night I met him. Gorecki is also a big influence on my work, which can be heard on the „Interrogation For Violin” track on the Chasing Ghosts CD. His 3rd Symphony is a classic by now and was certainly the model I used when writing that piece; however, my music is very different in that it features a solo violin way above the orchestra. Then there is Wojiech Kilar. Another composer who I am deeply fond of, who is a tremendous influence on my work, especially with my score to The Gene Generation.
What about polish film composers: Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, Zbigniew Preisner, Christopher Komeda, Bronislau Kaper? Are they recognizable in Hollywod?
Oh sure! They all are. Recently I discovered Kaper while watching a film called 'Lili’ which I felt is a superb score! Without a doubt all very good composers and recognizable to me however, I cannot speak for the Hollywood community as a whole. I am only one composer here in town where there are simply hundreds of composers.
If not a composer, you would be…?
I am not sure. I’ve always wanted to be a composer since I was very young. I guess, maybe a chef! I have always admired good cooking but really do not do enough myself. I think someday I would like to go to a cooking school if I ever had some extra time. For now, film music keeps me very busy!
Could you tell something about you latest and upcoming projects or CDs?
My latest project is for National Lampoon called „The Legend Of Awesomest Maximus”. It is a parody of „Gladiator”, „Bravehart”, „Troy”, „300”, and just about every heroic epic film that has been made. My score is mostly a serious score but has some silly moments. It also features a wonderful singer named Laurie Ann Haus who I found through another composer, Neal Acree. I am not certain when the film will be released or if there will be an official CD release however I will put out a promo copy of the score.
Thanks for all answers and your time! Good luck with new projects!
For more informations about Scott Glasgow please visit his website:www.scottglasgowmusic.com