For Variety’s first awards-season section on potential Oscar contenders in music, I interviewed Harry Gregson-Williams (The Martian), Daniel Pemberton (Steve Jobs) and Johann Johannsson (Sicario) about their use of technology in music-making: The Martian combines electronics with traditional orchestra and choir, Steve Jobs a unique three-part approach including 1980s synthesizers, Sicario extensive processing of acoustic sounds. A second story concerns composers Mychael and Jeff Danna creating a surprising and unusual soundscape for Pixar’s upcoming The Good Dinosaur.
Ridley Scott’s new film The Martian is not only getting great reviews, it’s his biggest commercial success in years. Last week I sat down with English composer Harry Gregson-Williams (Scott’s collaborator on such past films as Kingdom of Heaven) to discuss his music for The Martian. It’s for my partners at SoundWorks Collection and is our best video to date, incorporating scenes from the film, musical excerpts, and footage of Harry conducting a large ensemble in London’s Abbey Road. Harry talks about the hybrid nature of the score (partially electronic, partially orchestral, some choral work), how his musical approach changed during the scoring process, and why he likes to conduct his own work.