Interview with Jeff Russo

Jeff Russo

 Jeff RussoFargo and The Surface


FSC:  What inspired you to compose film music?

JR:  I was asked to play guitar on a film score and that experience really got me interested in doing that. I really enjoyed coming up with music to support the narrative.

FSC:  Congratulations on your Emmy nomination!  What has that experience been like for you?

JR:  Thanks so much. It’s been quite surreal. It’s so thrilling to have your peers say “hey, we think this is really good work.”
FSC:  When you were composing the first notes for Fargo, what were you trying to capture?
JR:  In the initial conversation that I had with Noah (Showrunner), he had mentioned wanting the score to sound cold and lonesome. So, that was the feeling that I was really trying to capture.
FSC:  What are the main differences in composing for television versus a feature film?
JR:  Schedule. That’s really the biggest difference. You have way less time to write and record and mix in TV. Your first idea is usually your only idea.
FSC:  People have commented on your musical versatility.  How hard do you try for that, if at all?
JR:  I don’t think you can try for versatility. I just try to write what is appropriate for the picture.
FSC:  What did your experience with Tonic do to help prepare you for your composing career?
JR:  I think the process of songwriting and collaboration really helped me in this part of my career. I look at narrative the way I look at a song. The dialogue is like the lyric,  and I just have to let it say what it wants and support that.
FSC:  How do you feel about your work on The Surface at this point?
JR:  This was a really great project. I had so much fun writing it. I was able to just take my guitar out and play while watching the picture, and come up with parts while experiencing the movie.
FSC:  What is your favorite score from another composer?
JR:  Brokeback Mountain. Fantastic score for guitar!

FSC:  What is your most memorable moment with an orchestra so far?

JR:  The first time the orchestra played the main theme I wrote for “Fargo” was such a memorable moment. Hearing the melody played by the violin really made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
For more, check out Jeff’s website at www.jeffrusso.com

Jeff Russo


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