Daniel Licht (Composer - 'Dexter')
'A Musical Portrait of a Killer'
Milan Records recently released the soundtrack from Season 1 of the hit Showtime Original series "Dexter," featuring music by composer Daniel Licht this past on August. Along with Licht's score, the soundtrack features the theme song by Rolfe Kent and a diverse collection of songs from the first season of the hit TV program.
Licht's talent and experience allowed the composer to create a unique sound for "Dexter," as his music contributes an eerie yet ironic pulse to the show. Licht has already begun work on Season 2 of "Dexter" which premiered this past September.
Based on Jeff Lindsay's novels 'Darkly Dreaming Dexter' and 'Dearly Devoted Dexter,' the show tells the story of protagonist Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) and his life as a forensic blood spatter for the Miami Dade Police Department. Based on a code instilled in him by his foster father, Dexter hunts down people who have escaped justice and makes sure they don't get away with a crime again.
Dan Licht has been writing music for film and television for over twenty years. His credits include such films as "Hellraiser Bloodline," Stephen King's "Thinner," and "Permanent Midnight" starring actor Ben Stiller. Licht has also written the music for several TV series including "Jake in Progess," and "Kitchen Confidential." Most recently, Licht was awarded the BMI TV music award for his work on the first season of "Dexter."
Taking it from the top and what were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your compositions today? Daniel Licht - "I started out listening to motown as a kid, being that I am from Detroit, and then was introduced to jazz by a high school teacher. In college I was exposed to orchestral music and world music , which really added to my perspective. Everything I've ever heard influences my writing for film and TV."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your BMI TV Music Awarded 'Dexter - Season One' CD soundtrack, how would you yourself describe the audio moment they were to encounter? "Sublime?? No, kidding aside, I think audiences will be pleased by what they hear on the CD, It's not slashing music as you might expect, but a moody and introspective score, seeing as Dexter is a sensitive serial killer."
For your work on this wonderfully eclectic 'Dexter' soundtrack, it seems your eerie tones have joined forces with a Cuban and Latin feel also. So, was there any point in your compositions that you felt you had to Miami-ize any of your said-mentioned compositions, perhaps? "I have been using hand percussion often, for chase cues, ambient tension , and even sex scenes. As well there are some recurring themes that are latin flavored but with strings playing pizzicato, and tuned percussion instead of a more traditional group."
How easy (or hard) is it to constantly create a new, vibrant, admired-by-the-public movie backing track that both builds on and (possibly) surpasses the musical wonderment's/accomplishments/arrangements that preceded it within the industry? "Sounds really hard when you put it like that. It's the same as any art form, it's very hard to find a new way to express yourself and have an audience be right there with you."
Having worked on such films as Hellraiser: Bloodline,' 'Soul Survivors' and 'Stephen King's 'Thinner' is it easier for you to create these eerie strains over happier, more jovial ones, perhaps? "Having spent time writing for more broad comedy (Jake In Progress, Kitchen Confidential) it has felt a bit like a homecoming working on Dexter. One thing I do like about the thriller genre is there isn't anyone asking if the music is hip enough appeal to a youth market. The idea is just to scare the bejezus out of them."
Has work begun yet on any new soundtrack projects that you can discuss at this time, perhaps? "Some things are in the works. I don't want to Jinx them by mentioning."
In life, how does a composer, who obviously puts a lot of care, attention and hours into a film score handle the aftermath of any said worked-on-film tanking within the public eye - therein leaving their score (for all intents and purposes) to go down with the ship also? Does it become personal? "Scores don't always sink with the ship. I've had many scores released from films that will never see the flicker of a projector, but have found a small but loyal audience of listeners. That is of course every film and TV composers hope and wish."
Lastly, and throwing out a jovial curve ball here, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "Of course, who doesn't. I prefer them with a honey-mustard sauce. Black and white and yellow all over!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
'Dexter' CD Purchase Link
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