What does film music mean to you, tell us what your feelings, emotions and passions are when it comes to film music or indeed any kind of music?
Film music is very often the main element that keeps me sitting down and not fidgeting around when I m watching a film. If the score fails to please me I rarely am entertained by the film. Good film music has to work with the picture, and ideally also work out on its own as well on record. All music regardless of genre has to evoke feelings, if it fails to do so than it’s not good music.
I was once told that as collectors we are music addicts and we can’t stop listening and discovering film music old and new, would you say this pretty much describes a film music collector or at least some of us?
I think this a common trait to a good number of collectors, not sure how many but it is a common trait in many collectors of whatever they collect, from music to miniature scale models. I love discovering new stuff, be it old or new and it is always very exciting. I would not say I’m on a quest to discover new stuff, it just happens all the time though.
Are you in favour of all these so-called definitive releases of scores that have already received a release, sometimes the definitive editions containing seconds of extra music, or do you think that less is more when we are used to a certain release?
I’m usually the “only more is more” kind of guy however all these definitive editions, as you correctly put it that have nothing more than a cue or 2 than the 14thousand previous editions of that album, in that case I honestly believe that is taking advantage of the collectors’ compulsive need to own yet another version of X or Y. Sometimes there is editions that really are worth doing again but that is not the case most of the times.
What was your first soundtrack purchase?
Star Wars by John Williams.
KRONOS records has in the past few years grown its catalogue of soundtracks, adding a number of superb soundtracks that would ordinarily would not get a release, do you think it is important to release both popular and obscure titles?
I always was, still am and very likely will be the underdog and underdog fan till the day I croak so give me obscure titles anytime. Nothing wrong with popular titles don’t get me wrong, cause very often I pick an obscure title and end up giving it a sort of second life and a hint at “popularity” it never had but what I care for is not popularity but acknowledgment. There are so many outstanding recordings that never saw a release and for as long as I can I will keep working on releasing these obscure gems that deserve to be known and appreciated by more people who care for good music, not for popular music…
Are there any soundtracks that you have wanted to release and have not been able to for whatever reason?
Oh yes there have been a few, some because the sources were gone, others because the publisher could not be tracked, but yes like other labels I have my titles that never were.
The Italian soundtrack market never ceases to amaze me, there is always it seems a title coming out that has never been released, do you find that Italian film music creates more of an interest than movie scores from other countries?
I would not know that for sure, however I have released many Italian scores and there is really a gold mine that still yields a lot of musical wealth! Some Italian names are amongst the most known in the film music. Let us not forget that not every country had its Cinecitta, its Golden Age like Italy who has titles big enough to be known by both connoisseurs and the everyday chap.
What made you take the decision to establish KRONOS?
The fact that so many gems I cared for and no other label seemed interested to do, at least back then would be the main reason.
You have released a number of Italian scores, the Italian western is always popular, but I guess that that particular area of the market is pretty much exhausted as far as new titles or unreleased titles are concerned, titles such as GODS GUN, A MAN CALLED SLEDGE etc wont ever see a release will they?
Never and ever are not two words I often use so my friend never say never but for various reasons some titles are more likely to make it than others.
Is the process of re-mastering and re-storing a difficult one?
Depends on the state of the masters, if they are in good to fairly good condition it is yes time consuming but still standard procedure however is the state of the master was not a good one than it’s a completely different story!
How do select the titles that you release, is there a catalogue of titles available, or does it involve tracking down each one via film or music companies?
I prefer to do previously unreleased scores, occasionally I also do reissues of long sold out scores, and when possible adding as much previously unreleased good music to them as possible. In most cases you have to track them down one by one but some publishers also have lists of what they have.
Do composers have a say in what tracks that you release, or is it a case of they have finished the project and the music is then the property of the film company?
It depends on the projects really. When I deal directly with the composers I give them a lot of say, we discuss and together decide what to put in the finished record. When dealing with the production or publisher it’s a different story however even there, there is often the chance to discuss what will work best.
The Peplum is a genre that must be popular as you have released several of these, what would you say is the most popular genre of film soundtrack?
I love doing Peplum because I grew up watching Peplum (along Spaghetti Westerns) and there are still lots of peplum scores I watched that don’t have a score release on CD so you already know I ll be doing more of that. Every title is a different beast, with a different target audience, there are fans of peplum, fans of drama, fans of horror, spaghetti westerns, erotic movies, animated, comedy…I have covered a lot of genres along peplum, they all sell well in their specific niche but perhaps drama is the most popular.
How long does it take to release a soundtrack from start to finish and is the art work owned by the film company or by the artist etc?
It takes more than many people would think and less than others would imagine but at least in my case it always takes a few weeks from the very early stages; from acquiring the rights and licenses, work on the master, the artwork. It’s not a short process really.
Artwork often is owned by the film company but there are also agencies who own various items of artwork, so again every title is a different beast.
You normally do limited editions of 300, do these always sell out and have you ever ad to do a re-press?
Yes because the market is what it is nowadays. Sometimes they sell out, sometimes they don’t. So far I have repressed only 2 titles and only because there was a lot of demand. Once the run is out, it is out and I will not do a repress.
Would you consider entering into the market to release scores from the new movies such as blockbusters like STAR WARS or are you happy to release music from older movies, and concentrate on these?
Definitely happier to work with the older more obscure titles, even though STAR WARS is no teenager anymore now, however it is not obscure enough, is it?
Who is your own personal favourite composer or composers?
My all time favourite composer since 1982 and until the day I die is BASIL POLEDOURIS. Other composers I hold in the highest esteem MIKLOS ROZSA, BERNARD HERRMANN, ALRED NEWMAN, JOHN SCOTT, JAMES BERNARD, JERRY GOLDSMITH, BRUCO BROUGHTON, JOHN DEBNEY, TORU TAKEMITSU, AKIRA IFUKUBE, MASARU SATO, FRANCESCO De MASI, BRUNO NICOLAI, A.F.LAVAGNINO, ENNIO MORRICONE, CARLO SAVINA, CARLO RUSTICHELLI, RIZ ORTOLANI, GEORGES DELERUE, PHILPPE SARDE, MAURICE JARRE and more classics, more contemporary ones like CHRISTOPHER YOUNG, ROQUE BANOS, CARLES CASES, RACHEL PORTMAN, THOMAS NEWMAN, MICHAEL GIACCHINO and a “few” more.
When you look at a score to release what do you take into account?
I have to like it, if it gives nothing to me than it’s a no go. Than if Ideally I can manage to sell it to other fellow film music lovers even better so Ideally I can break even and make some profit to fund future releases, it’s that simple for me.
British movie music from the 1960’s I think is not represented that well, music from the films of AMICUS and TYBURN for example should be released, as it is just so good, do you think this is something that KRONOS might consider for future projects?
As you know I m always in to do some good music but it is never easy to get things going, from personal experience I know that certain titles are sadly bound to keep piling up dust until they turn to dust themselves, either thanks to someone forgetting about them or to someone who asks an unrealistic amount to license it. However Kronos has done already a good couple of titles many deemed impossible and as I said before, never and ever are not words I use often or even like!
The Gold series is a popular one, can you tell us if there is anything being added to this in the near future?
Yes a good bunch of titles are in the pipeline and all will be revealed in due time, but I can say there is something for everyone, or almost so hang on in there and keep your ears on the ground and await the tremors.