From the Studio
by Tony Diana
I have written music for over 25 years and I love film music. It has such a quiet and long history most people don’t know about. So when I get a chance to go back in time and play with these forgotten concepts of film music, I really enjoy it.
In 2011 we made a film called “Attack of the Atomic Zombies” A retro 1950’s Sci-Fi spoof. I wanted the music to sound like that period of film making.
Back in the day the “Independent studios” outside the big three (Fox, Warner Brothers and Paramount) could not afford a full orchestra so they would resort to “canned” music (Pre-recorded music you could license the rights to for use in your film). It was a record you would get from the publishing house and then record the parts you wanted onto your final film reel. This practice still goes on today.
The reason I mention this is that often the music would not match in theme or structure, since they were using different composers from the publishing house. This is what I wanted to accomplish with Zombies, not that anyone would notice, but it was important to me to hear that nuance.
Once production started I listened to soundtracks of the era, Plan 9 from Outer Space, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Robot Monster and so on. I soaked in the orchestrations and moods then went to work. For the main theme I knew I wanted a Theremin in the mix. Nothing said 1950’s Sci-Fi like this instrument.
Next I focused on the character themes and wanted to make it light and plucky, so I went for 50’s commercials and used this for my inspiration. Already I had two different tracks that sounded like they were from the 50’s, but did not match scoring wise.
This is why I love film and film music. It has such a rich history of style and story all its own. If you want to discover more I suggest you check out these links.