Mark Snow (Composer - 'X-Files 2')
'Finally, The Truth Is Right Here!'
Award-winning composer and “X-files” theme creator Mark Snow returns to the paranormal with “The X-Files: I Want to Believe.” Directed by “X-files” creator Chris Carter, the film reunites original cast members Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Andersen).
For his score, Snow incorporates an 80-piece orchestral rendition of his iconic theme as well as an original underscore. Last year Snow was also the only American nominated for a Cesar award (think French Academy Award). Snow also has several upcoming films and currently scores CBS’ “Ghost Whisperer” and the CW’s “Smallville.”
Taking it from the top and what were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your compositions today? [Mark Snow] "My main musical influences, from when I was a music student at Julliard in New York, I loved early music and seemed to cut out all of the romantic music in between that and the modernist. Some of my greatest influences include Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Ravel, Schoenberg and all of the avant-garde composers like John Cage and Stockhausen. These were all very important influences for me. Especially the real avant-garde music of the day when I was growing up, which has really helped develop my sound for the “X-Files".”
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 think the latest “X-Files” movie “I Want to Believe” which is just out on Decca; I would suggest that highly. I would also suggest “Private Fears in Public Places” which is a French score I did. Those two would be really great companion pieces. Also, a score I did for a movie called “Disturbing Behavior".”
For your work on 'X-Files 2' you incorporated an 80-piece orchestral rendition of your already iconic theme as well as an original underscore. How easy for you was it to re-create such an iconic theme and did you yourself suggest the 80-piece orchestra? "The “X-Files” theme is a simple musical piece. It was just having the imagination of an orchestrator, to be able to realize how to arrange it for a full 80 piece orchestra which made it special. I wrote out a sketch for the theme and gave it to one of my orchestrators and he did a great job changing it into this lush orchestral version."
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? "The job as a professional film and TV composer is that you are always expected to come up with something great. As we know, no composer throughout history has ever wrote his absolute greatest music all the time, but we all aspire to do is to do an eight or nine out of ten, and to never go below a certain level. Composers need to find some inspiration to keep our creativity going strong. It is a very internal struggle so much of the time, trying to find that elusive creative spark. Luckily for myself, that spark has not been put out yet."
You also, which I don't think everyone knows, score both 'Ghost Whisperer' and 'Smallville.' I see how 'Ghost Whisperer' falls into the "ghostly" musical score idea of your prior work, but 'Smallville' is a little out there. How did you get involved in TV work and have you ever turned down a TV project only to regret it later? "I have never turned any TV project down that I regretted. “Smallville” is more of a traditional kind of orchestral sound with samples and electronics, while “Ghost Whisperer” has more simple emotional music, depicting when the character cross over to the “other side".”
How long did this 'X-Files 2' score take to create and were there any technical glitches that occured due to one reason or another? Did you meet with David and Gillian on the project and did they have any musical (verbal) input, perhaps? "Interestingly enough David directed two maybe three episodes of “X-Files” the TV series and I met with him back then and discussed the music. Gillian directed one and I met with her. They only directed those episodes."
With the movie there was no input from them. I think they respected that I would make the right choices for their scenes. All the direction I had was from the producer, Frank Spotnitz, and the director, Chris Carter. There were no technical glitches but there were some technical challenges that incurred combining all of my sampled music with the live orchestra and how all that through the sophisticated electronic gadgetry would work."
"So there were some, I had a couple of assistants who were very valuable just for those technical aspects. I would imagine it took about a month to create that score."
Are you working on a new soundtrack as we speak, perhaps? "Chris Carter has finished doing another entitled “Fencewalker” that I will be doing. It has nothing to do with the “X-Files.” He shot it in his home town Bellflower in California. I am sworn to secrecy as you know. I can’t say much about it. I am also working on this other movie called “The Incident” directed by the French director Alain Resnais that is coming out right after that. So, I am quite busy."
What classic film score would you love to rearrange today in your own style if you were given the chance? "That is a funny question, because all the film scores I love I wouldn’t want to touch and the ones I didn’t like I wish I had done from scratch!"
And throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine love Penguins ... do you?! "Penguins? Love Penguins? I love Penguins! In fact, if you have any pictures of penguins, I would love for you to send them to me!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
So, if you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of the new 'X-Files: I Want To Believe' soundtrack signed by Mark Snow himself, just answer this easy question: Mark Snow's wife, Glynn, is the sister of which well-known pair of actors?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful AUTOGRAPHED CD soundtracks by Mark Snow! Just send us an e:mail here before October 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: SIGNED X-FILES 2 CDs to: email@example.com
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