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."
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."