07 August 2007

Les Simpson Le Film - Interview d'Henry Jackman, part 1/3

C’est la pire catastrophe que Springfield ait connue, et tout est la faute de Homer, de son nouvel animal familier - un cochon - et d’une fuite dans un réservoir rempli de déjections… Une foule folle de rage se dirige droit sur la maison des Simpson. La famille parvient à s’échapper de justesse, mais ses membres se retrouvent rapidement séparés après s’être disputés.
Cette fois, plus que jamais, les citoyens de Springfield
ont toutes les raisons d’en vouloir aux Simpson. La catastrophe a attiré l’attention du Président des Etats-Unis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, et du chef de l’Agence pour la Protection de l’Environnement, Russ Cargill. Sous prétexte de contenir le désastre, Cargill va révéler sa vraie nature ainsi que ses véritables objectifs, et mettre au point un plan diabolique qui menace l’existence même de la ville...

Alors que le destin de Springfield et du monde entier est en jeu, Homer se lance dans la plus grande aventure qui soit : sauver la planète, mais plus difficile encore, obtenir le pardon de Marge et rassembler à nouveau sa famille !

Après 18 saisons, 400 épisodes et d'innombrables récompenses et prix dans le monde entier (dont 23 Emmy Awards et le titre de «Meilleure série télé du XXe siècle » décerné par le prestigieux « Time Magazine », « Les Simpson » ont franchi le pas du grand écran et sont aujourd'hui les stars de leur tout premier film. Ce qui était essentiel car il fallait bien la taille d'un écran géant pour saisir l'infinie bêtise de ce pauvre Homer !
Mais il a ses fans, et parmi eux le compositeur Henry Jackman. Aux côtés de Hans Zimmer, il a su transmettre sa passion pour cet univers loufoque au compositeur de Pirates des Caraïbes, tout en lui apportant une qualité nouvelle qui sied à ce nouveau format.
Quand un petit chanteur de St Paul débarque dans une famille d'américains moyens...
credit photo: veroniqueroblin.com
Can you tell me about you, your training and your background?
I’m 33 now. I started playing the piano when I was 4 and then I probably had piano lessons about a year after that. When I was 8, I went to a very monasterial English school which is the choir of St. Paul’s cathedral. From the age of 8 to 13, I was singing as a chorister at St. Paul’s cathedral. I mean matins and evening songs and all the holidays, singing Tallis and Palestrina, all the traditional English church music. After that, I got a music scholarship to go to Eton College. There I didn’t sing so much. I played the French horn in the orchestra, and carried on studying the piano and composition. At the age of 18, I completely abandoned all my classical training; I bought a computer and started doing electronic dance music. I pretty much ignored classical music for quite a long time. I went to Oxford university, but the time I got to the third year, I left because I was becoming more interested in actually making records instead of writing essays about 13th century music which is what the course mainly consisted in. It’s very traditional and I got very bored with it and I started making records instead. That would be the quick history of my, actually, institutional education. That was fine, but I preferred being in the real world working with musicians. On top of that, I had my father, who is a composer and an orchestrator, and my uncle, who is a recording engineer. So I had two sets of education at the same time. The interesting point is that, from 21 to 29, you wouldn’t know I had that training because I was very involved in pop music. But it’s not that unusual for classical kids to end up experimenting a bit.

How would you describe your musical style during your 20s?
It’s an interesting question since from 20 to 28, I was considered as someone lost! Making dance records was a kind of a reaction against my classical training. And I don’t think I found my style then since I worked in so many different styles. It was an apprenticeship in a way. If you have a classical training, in order to find a style that you’re comfortable with, you’trying to synthesize a whole lot of information. And then if you start getting involved in electronics, then you’re incorporating a whole lot of textural information –Brian Eno and things like that, colors- in order to understand how those guys make very beautiful sounding electronic music. So, if you listen the stuff I did during this period, it’s all over the place, depending of who I’m working with. The very first time I did something that managed to incorporate all these influences was an album I made called Transfiguration which had orchestra in it with elegant orchestration and electronics and vocals. It was like a sort of a combination of all the things I had learned in the previous years. So it was probably the first time it all came together.

Crédit photo: Christine BLANC

How and why did you come to film music?
It came from Transfiguration. I spent two years making this album and I said to my manager at that time : “if I stand under a bus and die tomorrow, the only thing I’d really want anyone to hear would be this album because everything up until then was trying to find my way”. My manager being a good sort of a women, somehow got a copy of the cd on Hans Zimmer’s desk, not long after I finished it, and he listened to it. I hadn’t really thought about film score but when most people listened to Transfiguration, they told me: “you shouldn’t be messing around with pop music. You should be doing film music, because it’s very panoramic, it’s bursting out of the pop structure and kind of moving to film music. Yet I had done nothing in the field of film music, nothing for tv, nothing for picture. And when Hans Zimmer got to the third track of this album, he picked up the phone, called me up and said : “Yes, Henry, I’m listening to your album. I’m doing a little movie called The Da Vinci Code and I’d like you tp work on it because your album sounds great.” And that was my first gig to picture!

That could have been worse!...
Yes! (laughing) But, you know, you can be skilled in music, but doing things to pictures, it’s not just about writing music, it’s about a million of other things and I obviously had no experience in that. But I survived the experience!

Do you think your very rich background in matter of both orchestral and electronic music facilitated your integration within the Remote Control Production system?
I think so, because if you look at Hans, he’s overly capable of delivering Wagnerian orchestrations, in the most traditional sense. But the guy grew up as a synth genius. If you walk into his studio in Remote Control studio, the first things you see is a dozen of synths, up to the walls. He’s not old school, he’s completely plugged into electronic music. He understands production, too. And even if I was a novice on Da Vinci Code, my role was to bridge the gap between sound design and orchestra. So I would be doing texture stuff and a little bit of orchestral stuff. And after that, I went crazy doing orchestral stuff! So, yes, I think that what makes Hans and I get along together is that mixing of classical and electronic music. Take the upcoming Batman film for example. We’ll have this sense of danger and darkness with the double basses, along with electronics. But it’s electronics that fits with harmonically moving classical music. It’s not just about loops. You have to see in both camps what’s going to work, what’s appropriate and what won’t gonna date very quickly.

How would you explain the role of a composer of additional music in a film scoring process?
It depends very much. It can be a light involvement or an extremely heavy involvement. In The Simpsons, I had a much stronger involvement. In a way, Hans is the captain of the ship. Nothing is gonna come out of Remote that isn’t in someway guided by him. It’s like during the Renaissance, you had schools of painting. Before Raphael became famous, he would have a whole bunch of artists and there would be a certain style coming out of that. But there was a figure at the top that would subtly infuse the style to this particular house and to various people within that, who would one day emerge and set his own kind of thing. I think that at Remote, it’s a bit like that. It depends. On Da Vinci Code, I sort of felt that Hans was doing the whole thing. For The Simpsons, he wrote a tune for Homer Simpson which is so perfect in capturing his personality. He did that on the piano. He did a piano mock and gave it to the director who found it sounded pretty cool. But not being a musician, he couldn’t quite see it. So I came in and made a 6-minute orchestral suite based on that tune and exploring different ways. And then the director said : “OOOh, it’s gonna work!” So it all depends. Hans has different relationships with his composers, he knows what they’re good at and if he feels that you have an understanding on something, he steps back and just lets you do your thing. He’s very flexible.

Merci à Jérémie NOYER - http://www.media-magic.blogspot.com/
Merci à Isabelle - Warner Music

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