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Interview with David Buckley

David Buckley

Here is our first interview!  (More to come!)

David Buckley – Composer of “The Good Wife” and The Town

FSC:  What inspired you to compose music?

DB:  I was brought up in the UK as a choirboy so I was surrounded by classical music.

When I was around 10, there was a competition to write a new Christmas carol. My

piece did not win, but it was broadcast on TV. I think I get a taste for it back

then, hearing a piece I had written being performed by professional musicians

and then broadcast. I also had some pretty interesting experiences during that

time including singing on the soundtrack of The Last Temptation of Christ, and

performing in an oratorio written by my friend and mentor Richard Harvey (a much

overlooked film/tv composer).

FSC:  What are the differences between movie, television, and video game scores?

DB:  I don’t think I change my spots when I approach a different medium, but I do

have to adjust my approach. Typically with tv, the schedules are very tight, so

you have to trust your instincts and try and come up with a good idea straight

away. Normally there is a bit more time on a film score, so perhaps a bit more

scope for experimentation – that freedom to wander off in strange directions

before hitting the sound the movie needs. The schedules on video games can be

quite long, but what I have found tricky when working in this genre is trying to

figure out exactly what I am scoring. With tv and film you tend to have a rough

version to work with, but with a game, where there are infinite possibilities

for how it will play out, there is a certain amount of uncertainty. It is not as

linear as the other mediums. Also, there is often a different approach to the

way music is implemented (namely one will often provide music in layers so the

piece of music gets more complex and intense as the player gets further into the

level), so one has to consider that too while writing. I suppose in each case

the job is the same – telling a story – but it’s a slightly different way of

doing it.

FSC:  Have you ever turned down a project you wish now that you hadn’t?

DB:  No, but I wish I had fought harder to get certain projects!

FSC:  What other composer do you see yourself as being most like? (Musically)

DB:  I have been very influenced by both Richard Harvey who I mention above, and

Harry Gregson-Williams for whom I worked when I first moved to LA, and he has

now also become a great friend and mentor.

FSC:  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

DB:  The daily struggle for me is trying to write music that I feel really good

about. Sometimes I have managed to achieve that, but often I haven’t. I hope as

time goes on I will continue to develop my voice.

FSC:  What is your favorite thing to do on a weekend with any free time?

DB:  Weekends, more often than not, are work days, largely because I know the phone

will not ring so I can get on with uninterrupted writing. Having said which, I

try and find one day a week when I close the studio door, leaving me to play

with my one-year-old daughter, cook, and enjoy the odd glass of wine! I also

find myself catching up with movies and tv shows. In an ideal world, I’d also

read a little, but I seem incapable of doing that these days!

FSC:  How much of a challenge is it for you to compose as much as you do while

trying to maintain originality?

DB:  It’s tough. There is so much music out there, and I have been on gigs which

require a hefty output. I was once given the advice that as long as you are

doing something that feels new to you then you are fine (even if others might

think it’s treading on familiar territory). I don’t think one should beat

oneself up if you don’t think that every piece you have ever written is utterly

unique, but it’s worth keeping a check on what one has produced in the hope that

there is an emerging voice.

FSC:  Is anything exciting coming up for you?

DB:  I’ve just moved into my new home studio having had my studio firstly at Harry

Gregson-Williams’ complex, and most recently at Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control

Productions. It feels nice to walk down the hall, open a door and be in my own

creative world. Early days, but that feels exciting right now! I have a new

video game coming out soon: Batman Arkham Knight, which I co-composed with Nick

Arundel, and I return to score season 6 of The Good Wife in September. Between

now and then I am going to be scoring a British independent comedy; I don’t get

to score much comedy so I am looking forward to this!

FSC:  If you could compose any movie, show, our game, what would it be? (Even past


DB:  Well, I love both the film and the score to The English Patient. I can’t fault

anything about it. Therefore I’d be a fool to say I would like to compose a

score for it, as I don’t know how I would transcend what Gabriel Yared did, but

there you go, it’s an answer. In general, I’d like to be called on to add

lyricism and beauty to a project.

FSC:  Thank you for your time.

DB:  Pleasure!

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