The Old Way is a western that has just been released, the music which is exceptional, is by composer Andrew Morgan Smith, who scored movies such as Jeepers Creepers 3, You Might be the Killer, and more recently has worked on the film Presence and has just completed scoring The Old Way and Bunker, which is coming to cinemas in February. The composer spoke to MMI about The Old Way.
When you were asked to score The Old Way, did the producers have a specific sound or style in mind for the movie, or did you pitch them the idea of having a more traditional sounding score?
Initially the team was thinking about going in a more modern guitar driven direction. That’s what the movie was temped with, but it wasn’t giving the scope and feel they wanted. It ended up making the movie feel smaller in size than they needed. Once I was officially on the film, they had started to experiment with some other older western scores in the temp.
Following that, I pitched going for a “Classic Studio Western” sound with an updated edge to it. Then it became my challenge to figure out what that actually meant.
It’s a symphonic score very much in a style that we readily associate with westerns from the 1980’s and 1990’s. I am thinking Silverado in particular. In the score you utilise banjo, guitar and fiddle (violin), to great effect who were the soloists. And what size orchestra did you have for the score?
Yes, trying to create that “Classic Studio Western” was definitely a reference to these 80s and 90s movies. I wanted to do something that still gave us that feel, but had a modern edge. After brainstorming I came up with pulling inspiration from Rocky Mountain Folk music. Since this takes place in Montana in the late 1800s, I went back and listened to period music for inspiration and thought, ‘Why not try adding in some of these instruments and idioms into the score?’.
That’s when I brought on Stephen Rees on fiddle. He’s a tremendously talented instrumentalist and long-time friend who I’ve collaborated with on numerous occasions. Stephen suggested using Seth Taylor on banjo and guitar and he was amazing!
We recorded with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and they did a fabulous job under Francois Rousselot. The final group was about 60 player’s total.
The soundtrack is due for release on BMG is this CD or digital or hopefully both?
As of right now, I think we’re only releasing on digital, but hey maybe if there are enough letters we’ll get a small run of something.
How much music did you write for the movie and is the complete score going to be on the soundtrack release?
In total there is about 1 hour and 8 minutes of score in The Old Way. I usually try to make soundtracks more digestible than the unabridged score. The soundtrack release is going to be about 48 minutes long. Hitting all the big themes and moments with a few other things here and there.