Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Bear McCreary talks about the Caprica score

Caprica-City.de has a new interview with Bear McCreary. He mostly talks about his work on Galactica, but also mentions Caprica, Terminator and Eureka. He are the relevant bits:

"Caprica" is interesting because it's the first show that I'm completely creating music from the ground up. But even there, I'm not, because I need to acknowledge or not acknowledge "Battlestar". I mean, if I use taiko drums people go "Oh, he's doing 'Battlestar'", and if I don't use taiko drums people go "Oh, he's doing something different than 'Battlestar'". It's kind of the elephant in the room, it's like "Battlestar" exists. And with me scoring "Caprica", I have to acknowledge it. Now the fact is, you're not going to hear a lot of "Battlestar" music, so in many ways "Caprica" is the show that I'm creating from the ground up. But you'll hear some nods [to BSG] for sure.

"Battlestar", you have to remember, musically started out very simple. There were no character themes, in fact I was told not to have character themes. "Caprica" is very different because at this point, the producers know me well and they are more open to ideas. The score to "Caprica" in general is simpler, much more western. It's much more classical. I think I wanted to do something different and ultimately I was faced with this question, what is different than "Battlestar Galactica"?

Well, in "Battlestar Galactica" there is a lot of ethnic music, it's music from every continent, with instruments from throughout human history. It covered a lot of bases. What could I possibly use on "Caprica" that I haven't used on "Battlestar"? That's when it occurred to me, the way to make "Caprica" different is to make it more normal, really. "Caprica" should not sound so weird, more like what we are used to hear in film and TV.

And there's also a benefit to that. "Caprica" takes place before the apocalypse, not afterwards. In many ways, this event in the "Battlestar" miniseries, it kind of hits the reset switch. We've gone from this society to this rag tag fleet. The tribal drums and this ethnic instruments felt very appropriate. "Caprica" is very different, our society is refined and polished and the infrastructure exists. It's totally different. The music is more baroque, almost. It's not actually baroque in style, but it feels more constructed and more western, more symphonic. It felt appropriate.

And then, of course, this also gives me a place to go because should the series live on for multiple seasons, we know how it ends, where the series goes. The neat thing is, it gives me the opportunity to slowly evolve the score so that it becomes more like "Battlestar" the closer we get to the nuclear holocaust it ends with, or presumably ends with.

So I think people will hear that it sounds very different. There are also some musical nods to "Battlestar". I think people will recognize that it's me writing it. But as you can hear from that little snippet, it is a sad tone. It's also very lyrical like the piece that I just played to you. In "Caprica" I'm much more direct than in "Battlestar". The emotions are, at least in the beginning, more direct, a little more obvious, simpler.

Tonally the show is quite similar to "Battlestar". The characters are very dark, very conflicted and so it's the music that's a little different. More traditionally actually. I think people assume that I'm "Mr. Taiko Drum" will be surprised. I mean, I don't find it surprising because when you watch "Battlestar Galactica" carefully, you'll hear that there's a lot of very different orchestral inspired pieces in there. But I think a lot of people that assume that I just do taiko drum battle music are going to be surprised. We'll see.

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