Can you tell us about your musical education?
My musical training is fairly classic. From my childhood I played piano and classical guitar. I studied guitars with several soloists including Alexandre Lagoya and Julian Bream. I also received several first prizes unanimously in this instrument but also in harmony, chamber music, counterpoint and followed the teaching of music of the twentieth century of orchestration and Indian music at the CNSM in Paris. My meeting with young directors pushed me to create my own music.
Was it music for film that you were always focused upon doing for a career?
Artistic creation has always been present with me. But it is true that the work of creation in the image has always been very natural for me … a shot, a camera movement suggests musical ideas to me. I don’t think as a career, but rather what will enrich me artistically. Cinema has this incredible diversity of creation.
One of your latest scoring assignments for film is on the movie Delicious, it’s a beautifully crafted score, did you research into the style of music from the period in which the movie is set, and what size orchestra did you have for the score?
I did indeed do some stylistic research to see how to approach a historical film from this period. What roles did the piano and harpsichord have, how to write the strings. I did not want a large staff to keep a writing of chamber music. I opted for a string sextet with double bass and a few solo instruments including the harp which we found very original for the film. Children’s voices were also a driving force in the writing of this score.
Staying with Delicious, did the director have any specific ideas regarding the music and where it should be placed?
I had great freedom with Eric Besnard. I composed long musical tracks, several themes were born, and I was left the freedom to place the music in the film. We then refined the tempi and orchestrations to exactly match the state of mind of each of the characters in the film.
Were any of your family musical in any way?
My father was a musician, pianist, and my mother is very fond of music.
Le Sens de la Famille, is an entertaining score, is it more difficult to score say a comedy as opposed to a drama or action movie?
The writing is not at all the same when you compose a comedy compared to a historical film. The latter allows important and developed musical ranges while the difficulty of comedy consists in being in perfect harmony with the rhythm of the text and the actors … two different but very interesting composition exercises.
What composers or artists would you say have influenced you in the way that you write?
Many over time have made me evolve. James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith have had a lot of influence on my way of composing, as has Ennio Morricone. I was fascinated by the orchestral sound of Thomas Newman and James Newton Howard. The Beatles always made me create melodies, things I think are the hardest to do.
Do you like to see a movie more than once when you are spotting it, or do you prefer to work on first impressions?
I really like to compose my themes when reading the script in order to let my imagination guide me.
Is orchestration an important part of the composing process, and do you do all your own orchestration work, or is this not possible sometimes?
The orchestra is part of my way of thinking about my original themes. So I orchestrate all of my scores in order to give them the colour that seems most correct and original to me, and not to fall into an orchestral stereotype.
Adieu les Cons, is another recent work of yours, again this is a totally captivating score, how much time are you normally given to work on a score for a movie, maybe use this movie as an example?
My collaboration for the films of Albert Dupontel is captivating because we have a rather long time of research and musical creation. so we can go to the end of our ideas. Some films are composed in two months others in six months, that depends on the evolution of the editing and the post-production.
There are a handful of your film scores available on digital platforms, when your music is to be released, do you have any input into what music goes onto the release, or is this something that is out of your control?
I have a look at the construction of the soundtrack when the music is are released digitally or physically because some songs are reworked specifically for this output and the stereo mix is different from the cinema mix.
Your music is I think very thematic, which is something of a rarity these days in movie scores, do you think it is important to have themes and motifs within your scores and what is your opinion of the current trend to use noises or sounds rather than actual music with melodies in movies?
Any musical approach is respected. It is true that I am very drawn to the melody. I am fortunate to work with directors who are looking for that. We retain a melody of Ennio Morricone or James Horner. It seems to me a strength for a film, doesn’t it?
Mes Heros is a tender and haunting work, how did you become involved on this project and when you are working out your musical ideas for a film how do you work, with pencil and manuscript, guitar, piano, keyboard or by using more technical elements?
My Heroes is indeed a score of great tenderness. the piano is often the first instrument I use and I orchestrate the themes quite quickly surrounded by computers, because nowadays, getting as close as possible to our final colour is essential. I rarely take the guitar, except for “Adieu les cons” by Albert Dupontel and for Eric Besnard a few times.
Joyeux Noel, had a score by Philippe Rombi, you are credited as additional crew, what was your role on the movie?
On this film, I was just a chorister for the passage of the choirs. The film supervisor asked me, and it was a lot of fun to participate in this recording.
Have you a preference as to where you record your film scores?
I really like recording at the Guillaume Tell studios in France, the place is quite magical. My last scores were recorded in this mythical place. I also really liked the Davout studios where I recorded the film “Au revoir là haut” by Albert Dupontel.
Do you conduct your scores, or do you prefer to supervise in the sessions and ensure that the correct sound is being created?
I conduct each of my scores because I orchestrate them myself, unlike other composers, and know exactly the result I want to have. My team also knows the sound I want. I have been working with them for over twenty years, and my company HYPARKOS takes care of the musical supervision and executive production of my music (this was the case on “Delicious”)
What is next for you?
Two new films “Adieu Monsieur Haffmann” by Fred Cavayé, a historical film on the war of 1939-1944, and also the next film by Christophe Offesntein “Canailles” will be released soon. At the same time, four films are in post-production and in January 15, 2022 my song album “The girl with the purple smile”, which is the link www.thegirlwiththepurplesmile.com, will be released.