The World's Finest pulled Producer John Takis aside to discuss his work on an assortment of 2016 DC Comics-based animated soundtracks from La-La Land Records, including the Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders score release and the massive Justice League soundtrack release. Takis digs into how these titles came together, shares his thoughts on an assortment of different score releases, and how crucial it is for fans to support these releases. He also teases what could be coming down the pipeline for upcoming DC Comics animated-based soundtrack releases. Please continue reading to learn more!
Click here to read the Justice League portion of this interview!
WF: Your latest project for La-La Land Records is the soundtrack release of Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. Can you tell us what your role as producer for this title encapsulated?
JT: As with previous projects, I took the raw material and worked with the composers and the label to come up with an assembly that everyone was happy with. You previously asked about the start-to-finish process on one of these DC releases-it was a lot like that! And there was the added wrinkle of this being a brand new film (with at least one sequel on the way, in fact) which meant taking extra care that everything we were doing was consistent with the promotional vision of the studio.
WF: This is the second major animated Batman movie soundtrack release this year-the third, if you count Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman. Given that each title has such a distinct background-one being based on Batman: The Animated Series, another an adaptation of an acclaimed comic, and the third inspired by the 1960s-era Batman-is it a substantially different task when putting together each title when their origins are so diverse? Is there a different kind of pressure to make sure these soundtracks properly represent their animated movie counterparts?
JT: You want every score release to be a faithful reflection of the film or series it represents. The art direction, the liner notes … it all ought to work together with the music to create a certain feel, a certain tone. You use some of the same tools along the way, but you always want to be mindful to tap into what makes any given project unique.
WF: How different is producing a soundtrack for an animated series as opposed to an animated movie?
JT: I imagine it's like the difference between editing a novel and a collection of short fiction. Practically speaking, the film releases are maybe a little more straightforward in terms of how the album will flow. There tend to be more moving parts with a series.
WF: What type of score were you expecting Dynamic Music Partners to return on Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, and were your expectations met? Any chance you can give us a tease on what might be some of the stand-out tracks and tell us why their score works so well for this movie?
JT: I was expecting a score that would have its own voice but pay homage to the sound of the 1960s, as typified by Neal Hefti and Nelson Riddle, and Dynamic Music Partners certainly did NOT disappoint! Kristopher's oustanding riffs on the iconic Hefti theme, Michael's spot-on source cues, and Lolita's seductive music for Catwoman are just a few of my favorite things about this album. Why does it work so well? Because the composers really know their stuff! This wasn't their first time delving into a Silver Age sound-they did some terrific scoring in that vein on Batman: The Brave and the Bold. And Michael McCuistion actually studied with Neal Hefti at one point. So they were very well-positioned to dive into this assignment, and they really delivered!
WF: Is there anything about the production of this soundtrack-be it from the research, putting it together, hearing the music, that surprised you or caught you off guard?
JT: I don't know that it caught me off guard, but as I was producing this album I was also writing brand new liner notes for La-La Land Records' reissue of Nelson Riddle's score for the original 1966 Batman: The Movie. So that was very fresh in my mind while I was listening to Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, and it reinforced what an excellent job Kristopher, Michael and Lolita did tapping into the fab spirit of the sixties!
WF: The score for Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders is now available. Please plead your case in why we should all rush out and pick up this soundtrack title?
JT: It's pure fun, and really is a perfect companion album to the Nelson Riddle score for the 1966 feature film. The audio master from James Nelson shines, and the art direction by Dan Goldwasser is all kinds of groovy.
WF: As we start to slowly wrap up this Q &A, can you name your favorite episode of the 1960s Batman ... and go! Why?
JT: I'm partial to the Egghead episodes-because Vincent Price! Really, do you need any other reason? (I'm also very fond of Roddy McDowall, future Mad Hatter of the DCAU, in his turn as Bookworm!)
WF: What can the fans can do to support these titles?
JT: First and foremost: buy them! The success of these releases is what enables us to produce more of them-and we really want to produce more of them! By supporting the label, you make it more likely that your next Holy Grail will happen. So maybe take a chance on something you may not be as familiar with, or go back and pick up a set you may have missed! You may discover a new favorite. Second, share the love on social media! There's so much cool stuff on the internet that it's easy for niche products to slip through the cracks. I want to personally thank all of your readers who have Tweeted about these releases, posted about them on Facebook, or discussed them on the forums-it really does make a difference!
The World's Finest would like to thank John Takis for taking the time to participate in this Q & A!
The soundtracks for 'Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders' and 'Batman: The Movie' are both available for purchase from La-La Land Records and through select digital outlets.
Interview conducted by James Harvey.