Ryan Shore Talks "The Shrine"
Thu, 09 Feb 2012 15:09:43
Composer Ryan Shore utilizes classical structure in order to conjure an elegantly evil atmosphere in The Shrine. He did such an incredible job that he rightfully has been nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award in the category of "Best Score Soundtrack". Shore infuses a classical sensibility into a groundbreaking and modern process that's decidedly his own. It's what makes each one of his compositions so special.
Just before the Grammy Awards, he sat down with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief and Dolor author Rick Florino for an exclusive interview about The Shrine and more.
What exerts a bigger impact on a film's score for you, the characters or the plot?
I would think they both inform the music equally, and they are irreversibly intertwined. I suppose, in a way, the characters tell you what the music is, and the plot tells you what the music does.
How did you begin scoring The Shrine? Did you know you wanted certain themes throughout?
I did. I began by composing the main theme, which is constructed around an interval in music known as a tritone. Hundreds of years ago, that interval had a connotation of being associated with the devil, so I thought that would be an appropriate place to begin musically. I then chose a palate of sounds to compose for -- full orchestra, mixed choir and sound design elements. I mostly scored this film in chronological order, starting from the main titles and continuing to each scene in order from there. This isn't the way I would always score films, but it felt right for this film since the film really plays as one long slow burn, so I wanted to feel that in the pacing of the composing.
When approaching the film, did you get to try anything musically that you never had before?
Yes, I had never composed an entire score based on only one two-note interval (the tritone), so it was a good musical challenge for me to use that as the foundational building block for the entire score.
Was there a scene that instantly spoke to you which lent itself to music?
The first piece of music I wrote was actually a piece heard far off in the distance in one countryside scene coming from a church. It actually functions as source, as opposed to score. But it came to me right away, and I thought why not start here since it comes directly from within the geographical center the film is set in.
What was your reaction when you first received the Grammy Award nomination?
I was quite surprised and of course happy. I had to reread the list of nominations a few times just to confirm my name was really written on it.
Who shaped you musically? Who's on your iPod now that you've been listening to since you were a kid?
My uncle Howard (Shore) has been my largest influence on me first getting into music and choosing it as a profession. My creative influences are incredibly diverse -- from Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Mozart -- to Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley -- to John Williams, Elmer Bernstein, and Bernard Herrmann -- to James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Elton John. I could keep going on and on into different genres and decades. I've been listening to all of this music since I was a kid. Usually when I'm listening to music for fun nowadays, I'm often listening to jazz. Being a saxophonist, jazz was my first true musical love, and it was the context from which I started to learn music.
What's next for you?
I'm quite excited to be scoring my first video game, and I'm having an absolute ball composing it.
Have you heard his music?