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
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.