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Film Patrick Watson’s work on The 9th Life of Louis Drax was ‘fulfilling, exciting’

Patrick Watson performs during a concert in 2012.

Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Montreal's Patrick Watson has composed film scores before, but his original soundtrack to French filmmaker Alexandre Aja's supernatural drama The 9th Life of Louis Drax is his first large-budget project and the first of his soundtracks to be released as an album. The Globe and Mail spoke to the Polaris Prize-winning singer-songwriter about the process of scoring a motion picture.

On the collaboration process: "The director Alexandre Aja knew my records. He came to Montreal. I usually like to sit at the piano with the director and just get a first feel of it together. Then I know which language to play in. I enjoy the collaboration. I like to make a score that can fit just that film. That's important. That's my job."

On working with a live orchestra: "The musicians in London on this film were hand-picked film-score players. The experience was fulfilling, exciting. Everything you write sounds like a million dollars. To hear your melodies played with a full-on orchestra is like Christmas time."

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On coming to a film project late, during the editing stage: "It can be frustrating. The directors always get addicted to the temp music [a temporary, place-holding score]. It can tie your hands as a composer. For me the music is a bit of the language of the film, so I much prefer to be in on the process early. Otherwise, the director can get hooked on something and want me to imitate it."

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