BACKSTAGE - INTERVIEW - FREDERIK WIEDMANN
With Green Lantern: The Animated Series - Original Score from the DC Comics Animated Television Series now available to own on CD courtesy of La-La Land Records through the label's website - and going wide via online and retail vendors starting August 21st, 2012 - The World's Finest caught up with Green Lantern: The Animated Series composer Frederik Wiedmann to discuss his work featured on the already-acclaimed soundtrack release. Weidmann covers a host of topics, including track selection, how an episode is scored, and what is coming in the future. Keep reading for more ...
The World's Finest: First up – have you had the chance to listen to the soundtrack CD? Are you happy with the selection of music featured?
Frederik Wiedmann: I am very happy with it - I put the selection together for the most part. I think it is a very nice "Best of" of the first Season. You may notice the tracks are not necessarily in the order of the episodes, but we wanted to make sure it provides an exciting listening experience.
WF: When it comes to creating a soundtrack, can you run us through the process of what you keep and why? Or what gets cut?
FW: When I make the music selection, I tend to focus on the pieces that are most interesting to listen to on their own, without the picture or dialog. There are always a handful of cues that are more for scene transitions, tension beds, etc., and those might seem a trifle boring when you listen to them out of context. I also try to incorporate all the themes of the characters on a CD such as Green Lantern: The Animated Series, especially in this case since we have a lot of them. I also always welcome fans requesting certain cues to go on a soundtrack. On this first Green Lantern: The Animated Series CD I had two requests that I gladly honored - one was "Aya's Birth" and the other "Razer saves Kilowog". And these requests I usually receive via email through my website, and I just love reading those kind of emails.
Then I try to focus on making the CD a good listening experience, so you don't get bored with too many action cues in a row and so forth. I try to keep it very dynamic.
WF: Is it possible for you to run us through how you score an episode? How do you decide what type of music goes where, when to hold back, or go all out, etc.?
FW: First, I meet executive producers Bruce Timm and Giancarlo Volpe at Warner Brothers and we spot the episode. We talk through the entire show, and discuss every little detail that the music has to accomplish. There is never a temp score so all dramatic ideas are conveyed to me verbally. This is really fantastic since I can use my own sensibility to accomplish the dramatic needs of the episode without being locked into another piece of music that someone else wrote. It allows me to be more creative and unique. Then I go home and compose the episode for a full week, followed by a bunch of live recordings (i.e., with electric violins, cellos, trumpets, ethnic woodwinds, etc.). The we meet again and go over notes and finalize the score. Shortly after we do the final mix, and we're done.
Generally, on this type of show, I write from beginning to the end. I don't jump around much in the writing process, it helps me to really shape each 22 minutes of story.
WF: What type of instruments and equipment did you have handy when scoring Green Lantern: The Animated Series? Can you also explain how a show’s budget plays a role in just how said show is scored?
FW: I do most of the score on a computer (Mac Pro 3.0 Ghz), in Logic Pro. Besides all the state-of-the-art sample libraries, I utilize many soloists. Let me introduce them to you:
Ayana Haviv: Vocals
Julie Pusch: Electric Violin/Viola
Victor Lawrence: Cello
Chris Tedesco: Trumpet/Flugel Horn
Peter Gordon: Ethnic Winds
Chris Bleth: Ethnic Winds/Reeds
MB Gordy: Percussion
Jimmy Mahlis: Ethnic Guitars
Hyesu Yang helps with the orchestration, and I do all of the programming.
There was a time when animation series had full live orchestras (Batman: The Animated Series), but this is not the case anymore. A lot is done electronically these days, so we composers do our best to get the best result possible for the budget. I like to use as many live musicians as I possibly can.
WF: Can you tell us how you came up with the specific character themes and how the emotions represented by each color (red for rage, sapphire for love, etc.) played a role in determining how each theme would sound?
FW: These themes start to emerge from the first few cues that I wrote. A lot of them are introduced in the first two episodes and then developed further as the season progresses. Razer needed a theme that is not necessarily full of rage, but more filled with pain and dread (given his past). He also comes from a planet far away in the galaxy, so we chose the electric violin as his instrument since it sounds slightly unusual and other worldly. You can hear this instrument [on the soundtrack] in track #6 "The Red Knight".
The Star Sapphires had to be seductive and sensual. We decided that haunting female vocals would be ideal for them, and Ayana Haviv does a fantastic job on those very detailed vocal performances.
The Guardians (especially Ganthet) have solo duduk as their instrument ([heard in the track]"Dead Man Walking"). To me, this instrument somehow conveys wisdom and honor. It felt right for these characters.
Hal Jordan's theme is heard in the main title, and many times throughout the show. We wanted his theme to sound noble and heroic, but not like typical "hero" music. The challenge was to walk that fine line.
WF: With the second season currently in production, are you getting the chance to explore new themes?
FW: Absolutely. For reasons that will make sense once you get to see it. I am also taking certain existing themes into new areas. I guarantee you will recognize many of them again in Season Two.
WF: Getting back to the CD, do you have any thoughts on the positive reviews it has been getting, specifically for the “surprising” emotional side to it?
FW: I am extremely thankful for the great response I have been getting for this music. Especially when fans express how well they think it works in the show, it means the world to me. The emotional aspect especially in this series is very important to me and the creators. There is a lot of character development going on and the characters are dealing with not only menacing Red Lanterns, but also other personal issues, which have to be complimented by music in the right way. I think it brings the audience closer to the characters.
WF: Any favorite tracks you’d like to specifically point out on the soundtrack, ones that you would consider ‘must listen?’
FW: I really like them all - but I always loved #3 "Battle of Betrassus", #22 "Carol Sparks" and #36 "Victory".
WF: If fans want to hear more of your Green Lantern: The Animated Series work, what do they have to do? How can they show their support?
FW: If we do well on this soundtrack release (which will also be on iTunes at some point, so available digitally), we can release a soundtrack for season two, which I would be really excited about! I always welcome direct emails with fan requests (contact info on my website www.frederikwiedmann.com). The more interest there is, one way or another, the better the chances for another 70 minutes of Green Lantern: The Animated Series music. Thanks so much for listening!
The 'Green Lantern: The Animated Series - Original Score from the DC Comics Animated Television Series' soundtrack CD release retails for $15.98 US, and is currently available to order through the official La-La Land Records website and other online specialty vendors. The release goes wide on August 21st, 2012, available through an assortment of online and retail vendors.