Fellow collector Steve Matthewman, I know has been a massive fan of all things Hammer Films, and Sci Fi, for many years. He is an enthusiastic and knowledgable collector.
Steve with composer Christopher Young.
Firstly, Why film music? and when did you first become aware of music in movies?
Since being child I have loved watching science fiction films , tv series, especially Star Trek, Doctor Who etc and even as a teenager although I used to watch Top Of The Pops and listen to the radio, I was never a kid to latch onto any specific singer or group . Yes, I used to enjoy ABBA ( who didn’t in the 1970/80’s )but I never used to buy ‘pop’ records specifically. I think the first single( soundtrack) i bought was the Doctor Who theme released by BBC records in 1973/1974 and I bought every record single release as the Doctor’s changed over the years. So my love of science fiction shows/films I think introduced me to film music. I recall watching Escape From The Planet Of The Apes on tv as a child, loving the whole APES saga , it was at that time I started to notice the music within the film. Also in the 70/80’s BBC 2 used to show late night horror films on a friday or saturday night, and my love of horror films started with those late night viewings. I recall watching my first Hammer Film on those horror double bills and of course the wonderful music for Hammer films just grabbed your attention.Also watching films like Jason and the Argonauts on tv as a kid, the whole Sinbad/ Ray Harrhausen films just grabbed your attention with the incredible effects and music, they all instilled the seed i think for what was to become my passion and love of film /tv music.
What was your first record, if not a soundtrack, what was the first film music you purchased?
As mentioned in my earlier answer the single of the Doctor Who theme ! However, my first full-blown soundtrack would have to be John Williams Star Wars.It was the big event of the 70’s and i started to hunt down other John Williams soundtracks and when i heard Star Trek was coming back to the big screen i read everything i could about the new film and who was doing the music. At that time i was ‘dipping my toe’ into the whole film music genre and i had not heard of Jerry Goldsmith ( not realising he had composed the music for my two favourite Apes films )So i bought the soundtrack to Capricorn One to hear what this composer could do and i liked what i heard and from then on especially with the release of Star Trek The Motion Picture and Alien i was hooked on film soundtracks, especially those of Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams and i devoured all of their soundtracks as quick as Silva Screen records could deliver them.
Before the arrival of the compact disc, how many LP records did you have in your collection?
I would say about 100 or just over on Vinyl. Once i had got the soundtrack ‘bug’ i used to visit my local record shop Hudsons In Chesterfield and look through the rack of soundtracks every saturday. I first noticed John Williams, Jaws in there and could not wait to save up to buy that ! I also used to get a soundtrack catalog from Silva Screen and used to love reading that to see what releases of Jerry Goldsmith I could save up for.
What has been your most expensive soundtrack purchase?
I think it would have to be two items, Jerry Goldsmith at 20th Century Fox , the epic release by Varese Sarabande , which i just HAD to have regardless of cost. I think it was just over £200 at the time if i remember correctly. even now , I think it is a stunning release. More recently the Star Trek Original Tv Series box set from La La Land Records, i must have as i grew up watching those original episodes and can recall every note of music so it was a must have purchase.
Do you still buy LP,s ?and what format do you prefer, LP,CD or download?
Yes, i still buy LP’s. I have recently bought various ones, some Hammer Film related Vinyl releases, Doctor Who re-issues ( even though i still have the original vinyl releases Doctor Who &The Pescatons !). I still love Vinyl, especially the ‘coloured ‘vinyl variants that are issued these days are glorious to look at and behold, really beautiful. I love the vinyl releases to Candyman and Candyman 2 especially.However i prefer cd, as it is just easier to listen to, you can play your soundtracks in the car everyday on the way to and from work. I think Vinyl is something that holds fond memories of growing up for me and i still enjoy slipping that Vinyl out of its sleeve and picking that record stylus onto the LP and hearing those clicks and bumps as it plays.
I don’t do downloads at all to be honest, just something that has never interested me, i would rather have a physical CD/LP to hold and look at !
Is there anything that you have been looking for, but have not been able to find?
I cannot think of anything specific, there are loads of soundtracks i would still love, for example the Fanderson Space 1999 releases but i cannot justify spending the amount they cost , even though they are well produced.
What composer or composers dominate your collection?
No doubt at all, Jerry Goldsmith. Since hearing those very first purchases on Vinyl, i was a Goldsmith convert. His music touched me in no other way other composers did. Don’t get me wrong , i still adore John Williams, John Barry, Basil Poledouris, James Horner etc but for me, Goldsmith was never afraid to ‘push the envelope’ a bit more than other composers. He was never afraid to experiment with new sounds, textures for his scores and i think he was the most innovative composer of all time.His action scoring was THE best. Every score had something that made it stand out, that special Goldsmith ‘touch’.
What is your opinion of the state of film music today, compared with the movie music of the 1940’s through to the late 1970’s?
I think the last few years have been on the whole terrible for film scores. I cannot recall that many recent visits to the cinema where a film score has stood out for me, with the exception of John Williams music to The Book Thief and BFG, both which were just beautiful. I do think there are some good composers still out there working today , the always reliable Debbie Wiseman and Rachel Portman always deliver and Daniel Pemberton is one of my favourites scoring today, it is just unfortunate some of the films he scores don’t seem to do that well critically, for example The Man From Uncle, King Arthur both of which were outstanding scores as was his score to The Awakening. At last September’s Fans Of Music From The Movies event in London at Angel Recording studios, i think the whole panel and audience agreed on the problem of current film scoring, that of no themes ! There is the problem, it has to change in Hollywood at producer/ Director level for people to say ‘write me a beautiful theme for this picture’ instead of all the wham, bam drivel that is instantly forgettable in current films.
If you were asked by a record company to compile a list of scores that should be released what would be on your list?
1,The Hound Of The Baskervilles by Michael J Lewis , he is composer who writes beautiful themes and action material and is under represented on CD at the moment.
2. North Sea Hijack – Michael J Lewis again !
3. The Passage – Michael J Lewis ( superb!)
4. The Gorgon , James Bernard . One of Hammer Films most gorgeous films and one of Bernard’s best films.
5, The Hound Of The Baskervilles , James Bernard. I love all of his Hammer scores !
6.Hammer House Of Horror , tv series, again some nice scores in these episodes including James Bernard !
7.The Curse Of Frankenstein, Hammer films first film and James Bernard.
8.Dracula by James Bernard, a must have !
9.Battle Beyond the Stars , James Horner, one of his most enjoyable scores.
10. Brainstorm , James Horner, badly in need of a re-issue/ expansion .