Backstage - Christopher Drake Interview (#2)

Since we’ve previously interviewed you, let’s jump right to it! What are your thoughts on your score to Wonder Woman finally seeing a release (as both a digital download and on compact disc)?

It's just great to finally have it released - period! I'm really happy that its getting an actual "hold it in your hand" CD release, with cool liner notes... I appreciate the fantastic work from the good people at LaLaLand Records, who just wanted the best presentation for the score album.

Were you involved in the production of the compact disc release? If so, in what capacity? Also, is there a preference between compact disc and a digital download?

I worked for a bit with James Nelson who engineered the remaster for the CD. My scores are mixed a bit more neutral for use in the actual movie, so its not fighting for low frequency against the sound FX. James basically gave everything a nice polish, and sonic continuity to all the tracks.

As for preference? Compact Disc all the way! It's a really nice presentation. Also, personally its important for me, that I have give a credit in the booklet to all the people who helped and supported me throughout the score.

When looking back at the feature, and your work produced for it, is there anything you’d consider changing, or wish you approached differently?

Of course... I would be the George Lucas of film scores, if I had more time to tinker with it. I am my biggest critic, so I'm never completely satisfied with the end result.

Also, I've heard this music a billion times, so it usually takes a bit of time and distance for me to really evaluate my work, Having said that, I'm really happy with how "The Battle/Origins" and the WW theme turned out.

What type of limitations are you faced with when scoring for an animated feature on a limited budget? Is there anything you wanted to do when scoring Wonder Woman, but could not due to restrictions?

Well the biggest is the lack of a real orchestra performing your music. I have to do three times as much work to make the synths, sound like the real deal. Also for i>Wonder Woman time was really tough, I only had about three and a half weeks to score the picture.

What were your influences when creating the character theme for Wonder Woman? I imagine there’s plenty to consider, giving her rich media history, so what did you look to make your theme stand out?

I didn't really draw on anything from Wonder Woman's history in past mediums. I felt our story was something that hadn't really been presented before on screen.

I felt pretty free to do my own original Wonder Woman theme, unlike with Batman, for instance who has a very "dark" musical template that audiences would expect, with the long musical lineage of Elfman, Walker, and Zimmer.

Is there a specific draw to this character? Did you seek out Wonder Woman or were you offered to work on it?

No, Bruce offered me for the gig right after Batman: Gotham Knight.

You scored Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, as well. What is it like to step from an epic story like Wonder Woman to a political superhero team-up adventures like Superman/Batman: Public Enemies? I can only imagine the approach taken to create the score to Superman/Batman: Public Enemies was considerably different than to Wonder Woman.

Superman/Batman: Public Enemies was intended to just be a fun, non stop action thrill ride compared to the more epic, and operatic music landscape for Wonder Woman, which was about gods and monsters.. The direction from Bruce, Michael, and Sam was to treat Superman/Batman: Public Enemies as a fun action score, so It's really a pastiche and homage to my favorite 80's action composers and scores. The main titles for Superman/Batman: Public Enemies is my tribute to my composer idol Jerry Goldsmith.

To briefly touch upon it, your work is also featured in the Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths animated feature, as providing “additional themes.” Can you perhaps go into detail on what that type of work is, and how it blends with the score work of James Venable?

I was originally hired to be the composer for Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. Unfortunately as I started production on the score my best friend was coming to the end of a long battle with brain cancer. I needed to be a human being, and spend some time to deal with that, so I asked my good friend Jim Venable if he could finish where I left off.

At the time I left, I had finished writing the opening of the film and main titles all the way to Luthor on the Watchtower telling the Justice League about his Crime Syndicate problem. Jim picked up with a couple of my sketches for themes, and cues I was working on, and then pretty much did his thing for the rest of the movie.

I am forever grateful for Jim's help, he's a brilliant composer, and great human being. it was an honor to have the project transition to his skilled hands. I think the score and the film turned out pretty amazing!

So, as we head into the home stretch, why should fans plunk down their hard-earned cash to pick up the score release of Wonder Woman either on compact disc or as an iTunes download? Convince them!

Well, I think its great that there's both options. Some people just want the big battle music from the beginning, or the end title Wonder Woman theme, and that's cool that they can just download what they want.

For fans, and collectors there's the limited edition compact disc that has different "variant" art work from the download, as well as liner notes by noted film music commentator Dan Goldwasser. I'll be autographing a limited number of the compact discs, which will be available for order directly from LaLaLand online.

Personally, I'm just really appreciative that people have enjoyed the score, and that there's been so much positive interest in a score release..

Lalaland is a great label, that's been bringing us some fantastic film score releases, like Jerry Goldsmith's Inner Space, and Shirley Walker's Flash, and Batman animated scores.. if your a fan of film music, buying direct from them supports a great company, that keeps bringing us such treasured soundtrack releases.

So, as we bring this to a conclusion, any hints as to where we’ll see your work, in the DC Universe and beyond?

I should be starting a live action psychological thriller later this spring, but I just started Batman: Under the Red Hood, which is an amazing Dark Knight detective movie... darker than any animated Batman story I've seen!

The World's Finest would like to thank Christopher Drake for his participation in this interview.
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