Soundtracking with Edith Bowman

Soundtracking with Edith Bowman

United Kingdom

In a unique weekly podcast, Edith Bowman sits down with a variety of film directors, actors, producers and composers to talk about the music that inspired them and how they use music in their films, from their current release to key moments in their career. The music chosen by our guests are woven amongst the interview and used alongside clips from their films.


Episode 25: Composer Justin Hurwitz on La La Land, Whiplash And The Musicals Of Yesteryear  

As double-bills go on a show such as this, it’s hard to imagine a more relevant combo than the director and composer of La La Land - the film that’s literally causing quite the song and dance the world over. In our previous episode we had the pleasure of talking to director Damien Chazelle about his musical masterpiece; this time round, it’s all about his composer and great friend, Justin Hurwitz. If you’re new to the show, the format is simple. Each week, Edith speaks to key figures from the world of cinema about the music in their work, with relevant examples of the cues we discuss woven into the discussion. So it is you'll be hearing extracts from Justin’s compositions for Guy And Madeline On A Park Bench, Whiplash and La La Land, all of which he scored for his Damien. The pair met in their Freshman year at Harvard, forming a band called Chester French who went on to have considerable success after they to make movies. But Chester French’s loss has been our gain, with Whiplash and La La Land in particular earning near-universal acclaim – not to mention awards and nominations aplenty …

Preview: La La Land Composer Justin Hurwitz On His Musical Themes For The Film  

How many piano demos does it take to find melodies for the soundtrack to a film like La La Land? Turns out quite a lot! Here composer Justin Hurwitz tells Edith exactly how much time he spent at the piano refining the themes for Damien Chazelle’s stunning musical. The full show is out on Friday 20th January. In the meantime, why not check out our previous episode with Damien by heading to the main Soundtracking page at Audioboom? He's predictably great company and most well-informed when it comes to music too.

Episode 24: Damien Chazelle On The Music Of La La Land And Whiplash  

If you've had the pleasure of watching Damien Chazelle's debut feature Whiplash, you'll know it's a hard act it is to follow. But follow it he has with La La Land, an utterly beguiling 21st century musical set in the city of angels. Having just landed 7 Golden Globes - including Best Screenplay and actress and actor awards for Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling - it's now been nominated for 11 Baftas. In the case of both Whiplash and La La Land, the music is provided by Damien's old college roommate Justin Hurwitz, who I'm delighted to say joins me next week. You’ll hear plenty of examples from both scores, as well as a spot of West Side Story and Singing In The Rain.

Preview: Damien Chazelle On The Musicals That Inspired His Multiple Golden Globe  Winning Film La La Land  

Well, this is seriously exciting … Fresh from La La Land’s stunning success at The Golden Globes (and its subsequent swathe of BAFTA nominations), director Damien Chazelle joins Edith to discuss the story behind his wonderful 21st Century musical. In this preview, he gives us an insight into the kind of films that inspired the score's tone for his composer and good friend, Justin Hurwitz. The full episode is out on Friday, and also features plenty of chat about Whiplash – not to mention a West Side Story!

Episode 23: John Michael McDonagh On The Music In War On Everyone, The Guard And Calvary  

Edith's guest this week is fast establishing a reputation as a filmmaker of wit, originality and imaginative flair. In his short career as a writer / director, John Michael McDonagh has brought us 3 features, all of which have been characterised by taut narrative, black comedy and whip-crack dialogue. First up was The Guard, starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, which is officially the most financially successful Irish independent movie of all time. Then came Calvary, a darkly humorous drama about a priest tormented by his community. Now he’s crossed the Atlantic with War On Everyone, another twisted comedy in which Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña play a pair of tearaway New Mexico cops. John’s heartfelt passion for music is reflected in the wide variety of artists he’s used in his work. During the course of our conversation, you’ll hear tunes from The Clash, The Fun Loving Criminals, REM, M.O.P and John Denver, among many, many others. We’ll also discuss his collaborations on score with Calexico, Patrick Cassidy and Lorne Balfe.

Preview: John Michael McDonagh Reflects Upon His Choice Of Song For The End Credits Of War On Everyone  

Edith’s guest this week is John Michael McDonagh, the man behind The Guard, Calvary and now War On Everyone, which stars Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña. We cannot begin to tell you what superb taste in music he has - and the wide variety of tracks he’s used in his films. Suffice to say, you’ll hear everything from REM through Ennio Morricone to Calexico and M.O.P. when the full episode is released on Friday. In this brief preview, John reflects upon the song he used for the end credits of War On Everyone – and the (perhaps unexpected) reason he settled upon the original versionover the cover, despite the protestations of his leading man!

Episode 22: JA Bayona On The Music Of A Monster Calls, The Impossible And The Orphanage  

Edith's first guest of 2017 is Juan Antonio Bayona - or JA for short - which we hope you'll agree seems a most excellent way to start the New Year. Since 2007, the Spanish director has made three critically acclaimed movies - all of which have had, in very different ways, children at the centre of the narrative. First came his superior horror flick The Orphanage, followed by The Impossible, which is about a family caught up in the 2004 tsunami and was inspired by true events. Now he brings us A Monster Calls. Based on the award winning fantasy novel by Patrick Ness, it tells the story of a boy who comes to terms with the terminal illness of his mother with the help of a humanoid tree. It stars Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall and Liam Neeson, and is an incredibly powerful cinematic experience. As with all JA's films, A Monster Calls is scored by Fernando Velazquez, while his foray into television with Penny Dreadful saw him collaborate with Polish composer, Abel Korzeniowski. You can expect plenty of extracts from both musicians' work, as well as pieces from George Delarue and Elmer Bernstein among others.

Preview:  A Monster Calls Director JA Bayona On The Music In The Orphanage  

Due to the shifting dates of cinematic releases over the festive season, this week’s episode of Soundtracking will be out on New Year’s Day. Edith’s guest is Spanish director JA Bayona, whose latest film is a wonderful adaptation of Patrick Ness’s award-winning children’s novel, A Monster Calls. In this preview of the show, he reveals the inspiration behind the score to one of his previous films, The Orphanage, which was composed by his regular collaborator, Fernando Velázquez.

Episode 21: Justin Kurzel On The Music Of Assassin's Creed, Macbeth & Snowtown  

In days gone by, it might have been considered a backward step to go from adapting Shakespeare to adapting a video game. Not anymore – with this week’s guest Justin Kurzel having done just that. Following his hugely well-received take on Macbeth, the Australian director has now turned his attention to Assassin’s Creed - a movie based on the video game franchise that has sold well over 100 million copies worldwide. Both projects are scored by his brother Jed, and both star one of the actors of the moment, Michael Fassbender. In the 21st Century, our brief here on Soundtracking applies as much to games as it does to film. Not only is the Assassin’s Creed series fully scored by the likes of Jesper Kyd and Winifred Phillips, but one of the trailers features a cover of Everybody Wants To Rule The World by New Zealand vocal sensation, Lorde. They’re more than just hackathons, too - with big ideas about morality, science, history and fate driving the narrative. Plenty, then, for Justin to draw inspiration from when transforming the games into a cinematic experience …

Preview: Director Justin Kurzel Shares His Thoughts On The Score For His Adaptation Of Macbeth  

Ahead of our next episode, here’s a clip of director Justin Kurzel discussing his brother Jed’s score for Macbeth. It’s a truly eerie piece of work - at once evoking the Scottish landscape, medieval backdrop and dark themes of Shakespeare’s tragedy. The full episode is released on Friday 23rd December, and features plenty of chat about and music from his latest project, Assassin’s Creed.

Episode 20: Gareth Edwards On The Music Of Rogue One, Star Wars, Monsters and Godzilla  

In cinematic terms, it may very well just be the greatest story ever told. With its ground-breaking special effects, unforgettable cast of characters and universal themes, the original Star Wars trilogy has inspired and delighted film goers ever since A New Hope blew everyone away in 1977. Among those to have felt its force is Gareth Edwards - the man charged with directing the latest addition to the franchise, Rogue One. And it goes without saying that music is central to the impact of George Lucas’s masterpiece – as are the iconic sound effects. John Williams’s score is one of the most famous ever written, while we all mimicked the noise of a Tie-Fighter or lightsaber when we played with the toys as kids. Gareth was only too aware of this sonic legacy, and reveals how he and composer Michael Giacchino acknowledged it in Rogue One. We’ll also explore his collaborations with Jon Hopkins and Alexandre Desplat on Monsters and Godzilla respectively, with plenty of examples from both scores woven into the conversation.

Preview: Rogue One Director Gareth Edwards Reveals His Favourite Cues From The Original Star Wars  

Ahead of our next episode, Gareth Edwards tells Edith which two pieces of John Williams' score for Star Wars: A New Hope are his personal favourites. He also explains why he thinks the Star Wars films (which inspired him to become a filmmaker) have such an enduring appeal. The full episode comes out on Friday 16th December - and has plenty more chat about the music of galaxies far, far away.

Episode 19: Sean Ellis Reveals All About The Music In His Films, Including Metro Manila And Anthropoid  

Having earned an Oscar nomination for his short film Cashback in 2004, British director Sean Ellis has since caught the eye with a stylistic approach that is urgent, visceral, and intense. With the help of composers Guy Farley and Robin Foster, he's delivered soundscapes to match. Following its run at the Oscar, Sean developed Cashback into a full-length feature before bringing us Anglo-French horror The Broken, both of which were scored by Guy. Then came the Philippine-set crime drama Metro Manila, which won numerous awards. His latest project is Anthropoid, which tells the true story of an unlikely assassination attempt on Hitler's second in command Reinhard Heydric - the so-called Butcher of Prague For these two most recent ventures, Sean predominantly collaborated with Robin, who we must thank profusely for his assistance in putting this episode together. Apart from anything else, we'd have struggled to identify the specific Bartok violin sonata that features in a key scene in Anthropoid without him! Interestingly, though, that sonata is one of the few cues in the film that's relevant to 1940s Prague, with Sean and Robin instead settling on a dark electronic score to evoke the all-pervasive atmosphere of paranoia that came with the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia ...

Preview: Sean Ellis On Developing Musical Themes For His Award-Winning Film, Metro Manila  

Ahead of our next episode, British director Sean Ellis discusses where he and composer Robin Foster found inspiration for the haunting score to Metro Manila. The full episode is out on Friday 9th December, and features an in-depth examination of Robin's score for Anthropoid, Sean's latest feature. We also get an insight into the kind of music one might hear on a high-profile fashion shoot with Kate Moss - what with our guest having been a photographer in a former incarnation.

Episode 18: Writer, Producer And Director James Bobin On The Music Of Alice, The Muppets And Flight Of The Conchords  

You have to go a long way to find someone who doesn't like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and the gang - or Alice of Wonderland fame, for that matter. With this in mind, it's a great pleasure to welcome James Bobin into the Soundtracking family. Not only has James directed two Muppet movies and steered Alice on a recent outing through the Looking Glass, he's played a very significant hand in a couple more pop-cultural institutions too. For having helped Sasha Baron Cohen create Ali G, Borat and Bruno, he then teamed up with Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie to bring the wonderful musical comedy Flight Of The Conchords to our screens. Indeed, Bret subsequently lent his expertise to both of James' Muppet movies. We'll be playing plenty of tunes from these films throughout the course of the conversation, as well as some classic Conchords. We also have the joys of hearing excerpts of Danny Elfman’s majestic score for Alice Through The Looking Glass - and a Strauss polka that was all the rage in the 1870s.

Preview: James Bobin On The Music Of The Muppets  

Edith’s guest this week is James Bobin, who seems to be making a habit of getting involved with pop-cultural institutions. Having recently directed Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway and Johnny Depp in Alice Through The Looking Glass, he also played an instrumental role in bringing us Ali G, Flight Of The Conchords and two Muppet movies. The Muppets, of course, come with a rich musical heritage that it’s at once important to reflect, protect and develop. As James explains here, it isn’t always easy to get that balance right. Profuse apologies in advance for playing – well, why don’t you listen for yourself … You can hear the conversation in full from Friday 2nd December.

Episode 17: Director David Yates Talks About The Music Of Harry Potter And Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them  

When you're invited to direct a movie adaptation involving one of the most-loved literary creations the world has ever known, you can be pretty certain you won't get a second chance if you mess it up. Thankfully, that's not a fate that befell David Yates. Not only did David take charge of the last four Harry Potter films, he was also asked to make JK Rowling's official spin-off Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which has been greeted with hugely positive reviews. With the budgets attached to the Potter franchise, it is of course possible to secure the services of the best composers in the world. David has taken full advantage of this privilege, variously employing Nicholas Hooper, Alexandre Desplat and James Newton Howard. He also collaborated with Rupert Gregson-WIlliams on The Legend Of Tarzan. You'll hear plenty of their work throughout the conversation, as well as that of John Williams - who provided scores for the first three Potters. We also find out a little bit about his earlier work, and get a blast of Mongolian throat music, which he used to great effect in his BAFTA nominated short film, Rank.

PREVIEW: Director David Yates On Echoing Themes From Harry Potter In Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them  

Ahead of our next episode, David Yates gives us a little insight into how James Newton Howard's score for Fantastic Beasts alluded to musical themes conceived by John Williams and Alexandre Desplat for the Harry Potter movies - the last four of which David directed. The full episode is out Friday 25th November, and features plenty more discussion about this remarkable triumvirate of composers, as well as reflections on David's early career in short film and television.

Episode 16: Christopher Guest On The Music Of Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind and Mascots  

Routinely cited as one of the funniest movies of all-time, This Is Spinal Tap is much imitated, oft-quoted, and as fresh now as it was when it first appeared in 1984. If you haven't seen it, you must buy it immediately. Directed by Rob Reiner, it takes the form of documentary following a shambolic heavy metal band as they tour North America. Though the band is, of course, fictional, their songs are very real, and very funny. One of the men behind both these songs and the razor-sharp script is writer, actor, director and musician Christopher Guest. As we'll discover, Christopher's musical background stood him in good stead for Tap, and also A Mighty Wind, his affectionate parody of the folk world. His latest directorial project is Mascots, in which he appears alongside Parker Posey, Jane Lynch, Chris O'Dowd and Ed Begley Junior among many others. As with all his films, there's no traditional score - with the tunes the mascots perform to provided by CJ Vanston. But he is a fan of film music, and in particular the quirky orchestrations of Italian legend, Nino Rota. Expect plenty of music from Tap, The Folksmen and Mascots, as well as the odd trip-down-memory-lane clip too.

Preview: Christopher Guest on the Music in Spinal Tap  

Ahead of our next episode, writer, director, actor and musician Christopher Guest gives us a little insight into the process of making the music for Spinal Tap. But really, it’s a good excuse to play you that clip about the band’s very special amp … Don’t forget to check out the full episode when it is released on Friday 18th November.

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