Paul has contributed music to over 100 soundtracks. Among others, his repertoire includes Death Wish, the platinum-selling soundtrack "Breakdance" and of course, Superman IV. In this post, Paul speaks about how music creates the atmosphere in cinema and explains how he came to record the Superman soundtrack in his spare bedroom.
How has the time you have spent writing film scores influenced the way you write music?
Writing film scores gives you a bigger palette and a bigger understanding of what music is and how it is used to do different things. In films, you are using music to enhance and create the atmosphere. The classic example is when you show a scene and play completely different music against it. You then realise that the scene has a completely different feel to it.
In the 80s, I was involved in producing music for a film called “Lemon Popsicle.” It was made by an Israeli director. The album charted and the film became a phenomenal success. As a result, they made nine other films in the franchise. What was significant about it was that the entire score was based on using live music - on famous rock n roll tunes. The franchise licensed more than 120 songs and ultimately, the story was told through the use of music.
Another interesting example of music operating in film is "Clockwork Orange" which featured a lot of Beethoven. I doubt he would have ever predicted his music would be used against such graphic violence and sex. But it works and it is memorable.
I studied film composition at Kingsway College. It's another world to pop and many of my peers wondered why I wasn't writing classical music.
If you want to work with a larger palette of colours, then you get into film music.
Is it true you recorded the Superman IV soundtrack in your spare bedroom?
After we recorded the third Re-Flex album, Humanication, I went back to the studio and I met with the guy who owned it. He told me that I should come back and check out the updated control rooms.
I started to realise that I had done two albums in the last two years. I had actually paid for these desks and now, he wanted me to come back and pay for them again.
I had started to do some experiments with digital recording at home. I realised you could take a Sony video F1 recorder, which is like a VHS, and you could digitally record on it.
When I got the budget to do the music for Superman, I decided to use this system to record some tracks that became the album “Jamming the Broadcast” in my flat.
Instead of going to the studio, I tried to record at home. In the end, I recorded the Superman score at home in my spare bedroom. The thing that really dawned on me is that nobody could tell the difference.
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