Movie Meltdown: Attack of Composer Erich Stem
This week we talk with composer Erich Stem about the music he was influenced by, as well as the challenges you face when trying to break into the field as a working film composer.
And as we discuss all the fun of alcoholism and early death, we also bring up… horrible MIDI, entering the NBA, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, an eleventh hour process, Alcatraz, musical sentences and sound worlds, Japanese internment camps, young composers, you’ve gotta MacGuyver this thing, I was always very interested in tearing apart the music that I learned, I would write her the hard parts, my dream as a composer is to do my own thing, a makeshift skateboard, the soprano saxophone part, Joel McNeely, write for orchestras in different cities, you are kind of combining a lot of different things – and putting a new stamp on it, the music being the guide to the film, and you could be crazy, I saw the movie and immediately thought… what a really interesting job, I just would spend hours at the piano writing music, a piece is very much like a film. You have that kind of shape, the early days of the internet, Mason Bates, Bainbridge Island, it could be anything that you wanted it to be, a compiled library of music, feeding me new styles or sounds, poverty inspires creativity, pretty amazing and chilling at the same time, changing my language based on my new exposures, violin duets, hope that you can still do more music, you and your stupid talent, you’re basically asked to write these wonderful pieces, that move a lot of people, post-minimalism, John Dugan, using sound, making it into one language and train sets.
“I believe that as a composer, and maybe this is true of filmmakers too, you’re giving your unique stamp to your art… but you are, in a way, an amalgamation of your experiences. And your reactions to those experiences.”