Tonight, the Season Eight premiere of The Walking Dead airs on AMC, marking my 100th score for the series’ 100th episode. This season promises “all out war,” as Rick and his armies battle to free themselves from the iron-fisted rule of Negan and his Saviors. These upcoming episodes will live up to this promise, and more, as they deliver all the intense action, drama and revelations that fans have come to expect from this juggernaut worldwide hit series.
This weekend also marks an important personal milestone: the long-awaited release of my original score soundtrack album, thanks to a joint partnership from Lakeshore Records and Sparks & Shadows. The album is available digitally, on CD, and also on vinyl, with a limited run of signed CDs available from La-La Land Records (UPDATE: by the time I finished this blog entry, the signed copies sold out!). And for those of you in Los Angeles, I will be appearing at a signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank on Saturday, October 28th. If you’ve been waiting for this album to come out for a while, there are, at last, plenty of ways to get your hands on it! (more…)
The Walking Dead returns to AMC tonight, for the premiere of its sixth season! I am incredibly excited for fans to see and hear what’s coming, because I think this is probably our strongest season yet.
The creative model for this series has been to reinvent itself every eight episodes, with each run taking on a unique tone, and following our characters on a specific arc. Of course there are larger macro narrative arcs that span the entire series as well. This richly layered drama creates a unique challenge for me as a composer. With each season I strive to integrate elements from my previous seasons’ work into new themes, sounds and styles. My task is always to tell the immediate story at hand, but to also help thread the entire series together, to remind viewers they are taking part in a story that goes all the way back to the first episode.
After a thrilling third season, “The Walking Dead” returns for a fourth season! The third season finale built to a climactic confrontation between Rick and The Governor, each the leader of their own ragtag armies. For that episode, I pulled back on some of the horrific and dissonant elements in my score and pushed for a more thematic approach, composing an elegant new theme for piano and strings. If you missed my video blog from last spring, you can check it out here:
By the fourth season of any series, the instrumental palette and body of themes has been firmly established. I tend to look for opportunities to shake things up. For “The Walking Dead,” this shift in the music evolved naturally because the series itself introduces new characters, story arcs and a fresh perspective on the source material. (more…)
The third season of “The Walking Dead” followed sweeping new story arcs, brought our heroes to the brink of desperation and introduced new players on both sides of a classic showdown between good and evil. To keep pace, I expanded the sound of the score from the earthy, intimate timbres of the first two seasons. Tonight brings us “Welcome to the Tombs,” the final episode in the season and one that presented me with a number of challenges. As you ‘ll see in my video blog, in addition to writing the score, I also made myself responsible for playing one of the featured instruments!
WELCOME TO THE SPOILERS: Be warned, do not read beyond this point until you’ve watched the episode! Major spoilers lie ahead…
The first half of “The Walking Dead” Season 3 draws to a close with tonight’s epic Made to Suffer. In addition to writing score to bombastic battle cues and gut-wrenching emotional moments, I contributed a piece of source music for the first time in this series. The cue, my arrangement of a two-hundred year old English lullaby called “Bye Bye Baby Bunting,” was featured during the scene between the Governor and his daughter. The vocals are performed by Raya Yarbrough, whose voice was frequently heard in “Battlestar Galactica” and can currently be heard in my score to “Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome.”
I detail the process of producing this track in this week’s video blog:
The score to Made To Suffer features an all-out war between various musical themes. The synth pulse Governor Theme that was introduced last week charges through the instrumentation, undulating beneath the strings, banjos, dulcimers, autoharps and other instrumentation that we’ve grown accustomed to. This new, foreign musical element helps us feel what Rick feels — trapped in an alien environment. (more…)
Until now, the third season of “The Walking Dead” has been structured as two parallel stories: Rick and his crew at the prison, and the Governor and his crew at Woodbury. In last week’s Hounded, that boundary was finally broken. Tonight, in When the Dead Come Knocking, these two worlds are irreversibly careening towards one another and inevitable conflict.
The series is beginning to branch off into unexplored territory. The score, too, makes an unexpected departure tonight, by introducing a relentless synthesizer pulse as a new layer of The Governor’s Theme. Hear it in action in tonight’s video blog:
Sampled, synthesized and otherwise manipulated sounds have been an essential ingredient in my “Walking Dead” score from the beginning. However, this is the first time that I’ve brought one of these elements to the forefront like this.
Tonight’s episode of “The Walking Dead”, Killer Within, is among my favorite hours of television I’ve ever scored. This episode also contains one of the more challenging cues I’ve ever had to write in my career. I detail the process of writing it and the various themes I used in this week’s video blog. But, be warned… MAJOR SPOILERS ARE AHEAD. Do not watch this video until you have seen Killer Within.
All caught up? Then, enjoy this week’s video blog. 🙂
This week’s episode of “The Walking Dead” introduces us to the screen version of one of the most memorable characters from the comic, The Governor. Tonight’s video blog is all about how I wrote his theme:
SPOILERS BEYOND: “Walk With Me” lays the groundwork for the major story arcs of the season. This episode is important not just because of what happens, but because of what will happen down the line. As a result, I had to write a theme for The Governor that would prove malleable in the future. His theme had to fit the dramatic scenes in tonight’s episode and, at the same time, have enough musical DNA to expand into more menacing variations when the time comes.
SPOILERS BEYOND: The last two minutes of the season premiere left us with some pretty jarring cliffhangers: Herschel had his leg chomped on by a walker, chopped off by Rick and then Daryl discovers that the prison has human survivors. Picking up immediately where we left off, Seed, starts with an adrenaline-laced scene as they rush to treat Herschel.
The wait is finally over! The third season of AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead” begins tonight!
I don’t want to give away some of the surprises in the premiere, so I’m welcoming you guys back with a relatively spoiler-free video blog about the score.
This season you will hear new sounds and themes, in response to the new characters and locations. Tonight’s episode, “Seed,” touches upon a handful of them, but you will hear even more in the coming weeks as we meet The Governor and learn more about the town of Woodbury.
As I discuss in the blog, tonight’s episode is all about the prison and predominantly features the Prison Theme that was hinted at in the Season 2 finale:
In addition to expanding upon the Prison Theme, “Seed” also allowed me to get back to basics. Despite strong character arcs, this series is, at heart, a horror tale and tonight’s episode features some of my most suspenseful writing to date.