Born in Spain composer Sergio Jimenez Lacima became interested in music at a very early age and started to study at the age of 3, he graduated in Film Scoring and Video game Scoring from The Berklee College of music in Boston USA. He has a masters degree in orchestral conducting and two Bachelor degrees in piano performance and orchestral conducting which he received in Spain. He also graduated from the ASCAP Television and Film Scoring workshop under composer Richard Bellis. He has won various awards for his compositions for symphonic bands and chamber music and has also received several awards and nominations for his work in film, in 2014 he was a candidate for best original score at the Goya’s which are Spain’s equivalent to the Oscars. He also received Best Comedy Composer award at the LA web fest and was nominated at the ll Aragon Cinema Simon awards and was a finalist for the Vl Jerry Goldsmith awards. His recent assignments include, WAX, ANOMALOUS, SLICE 3 and VIRAL and although we maybe have not heard his name before the composer is well seasoned in the art of film scoring, he has written an exciting, powerful and haunting score for VIRAL in which he utilises symphonic and synthetic sounds. Lacima fuses these together seamlessly so that they compliment and augment each other, never jarring or overpowering each other and matching the horror perfectly in the movie but at the same time underlining the lighter side to the story. This is a driving and potent soundtrack that at times evokes the style and sounds of composers such as Marco Beltrami, Jerry Goldsmith, Christopher Young and Bernard Herrmann. The composers use of fearsome and rasping brass alongside urgent, hissing and searing strings is not only effective to create moments of terror and fear but has a chill that seems to run through it, these elements are at times propelled along and supported by thundering percussion making them even more foreboding and virulent sounding. With this imposing and commanding combination of instrumentation he creates a menacing and exhilarating work which successfully builds layer upon layer of sheer tension that literally oozes nervous adrenaline to become an unrelenting onslaught of forceful and imposing musical passages. Of course there are quieter interludes within the work and although these are fairly calming and melodic there is still an underlying icy atmosphere that purveys an air of uncertainty.


How did you become involved on VIRAL and how much time did you have to score the movie?
I contacted Lucas Figueroa, VIRAL director, some months before I actually scored the film, while they were still shooting the film. I received a call from Lucas in March and the film was premiering in April at the 2013 Malaga Spanish Film Festival, so I had 3 weeks and a half to produce the whole score, which included writing, orchestrating, recording and mixing. Fortunately, I worked with a great team, who helped me to have the 60-min score delivered on time. It was a crazy time but, at the same time, a great learning (and training!) experience.
What size orchestra did you utilize for the score and where did you record the music?
The music was recorded by the Budapest Art Orchestra in Hungary. Great orchestra and great people behind it who really did a stunning job on this score, specially considering our tight schedule. We had several sessions with a 34-piece string orchestra plus a harp and one session with low brass and French horns. We also did additional solo recordings in Los Angeles and Madrid.

Was the film temp tracked at all and do you find a temp track helpful or distracting and did the director have a hands on approach when it came to the music?
The film was already temp tracked when I received the cut. Considering the short period of time I had to score the movie this was somehow helpful because it helped me to see what the director and producer wanted in terms of the music. Some of the temp music worked better than other and that was also helpful since it made the beginning of the process faster. The temp tracks that didn’t work were easy to change since the mood and character of the music was already established with the ones that did work. Furthermore, Lucas knew what he wanted and what was working and was not, as well.
Concerning temp track music, in my opinion, it really depends on the project, the director, the context or even if it is the first time you work with that director, among other factors. Sometimes it’s helpful and sometimes it’s not. I’ve worked on films with temp track, like this one, that helped the process and some other films that didn’t have a temp and it wasn’t really necessary to have it.
In my experience, when a director or editor puts a temp track they do it for a reason, even if it’s not working, and you have to find out what that reason is. I think this is a big part of the communicating and “translating” process between the director/producer and the composer.

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What composers of film music would you say have made an impression upon you or maybe have influenced you in the way that you score a movie ?
This is a difficult question to answer because I think we are all influenced by everything we listen. Everything that is around influence us in some way, even when we don’t realize it. I could name a lot of composers I like. However, there are some of them that really made an impression on me when I listened to their music for the first time: John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Alexandre Desplat, Cliff Martinez, Alberto Iglesias and Roque Baños, to name a few. I remember listening to their music and having that exciting “discovering” feeling, something special that, of course, influenced me somehow.

Did you take an active role in the preparation of the music tracks for the CD release?
I definitely did. I selected 46 minutes of music for the CD from the 60 min score and reorganized some of the tracks so they can be more comfortable for the listener. I also like to master all the music in a CD album way, meaning that it’s going to be listen on its own and not with the movie. And, of course, I can’t forget the support and great work done by Godwin Borg to produce the CD release.


How do you work out your musical ideas, do you use piano or write straight to manuscript or do you take a more technical approach?
It also depends on the project and the style of the music you are going to write. If the score is more in the electronic/ambient style the approach is more technical, mainly based on the computer, synths, etc. If it is a more orchestral score sometimes you can sketch some ideas on paper and then translate them to the computer to make them sound. However, in my last projects the music has been more a hybrid between electronics and instrumental/orchestral so I basically worked directly on the computer. Besides my background is classical, I am really into technology and love how it can help us to develop different ideas with a different approach and in a faster way.

You conduct your music for film, do you also orchestrate all of your own scores ?
I do conduct whenever I can since I studied and have a degree in orchestral conducting and love to conduct. Also, interaction with the musicians is key in order to get your music sound as you wrote it and conducting makes this connection better and faster, in my opinion. And orchestration is other of my passions. I orchestrate my music since I really orchestrate while I write. In fact, when I have an idea I usually think of it in terms of orchestration and I write it like that. I work with a huge template on my computer that allows me to almost fully orchestrate the ideas I am writing. However, this also depends on the time frame you are working. Sometimes, under tight schedules, I can sketch ideas and add some comments about orchestration so another orchestrator can develop them and translate them to the physical score.


John Mansell 2015 (movie music international/ifmca)