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Interview: Mychael Danna

 
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 12:26 pm   Post subject: Interview: Mychael Danna Reply with quote


We will be interviewing composer Mychael Danna, and would like your input.
Please post your questions for Mr. Danna here by Wednesday, 9/20.
______________________________________________________________

Mychael Danna’s official website.

______________________________________________________________

FILM COMPOSER MYCHAEL DANNA
SCORES "LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE"
Four Weeks in the Top 10, #3 Box Office
Soundtrack release from Lakeshore Records

(Los Angeles, CA) Award winning film composer Mychael Danna, most notably recognized for scoring Oscar-winning "Capote," creates an emotionally poignant score to Fox Searchlight Pictures' "Little Miss Sunshine." The Fox Searchlight release starring Golden Globe nominee Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Steven Carrell remain in the top ten after two months in theaters, taking the film by director Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris to #3 at the box office. Film composer Mychael Danna is a pioneer in the combination of non-Western sound sources with orchestral and electronic minimalism. For "Little Miss Sunshine," he collaborated with folk-indie rock band DeVotchka. Danna's score sets the mood for the sardonic tale of an American family determined to succeed, whilst enduring with each other's discernible neuroses. Soundtrack is available on Lakeshore Records.

"Little Miss Sunshine" is a comedy-drama directed by the husband-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and this is their first feature. The movie has had high praise and acclaim, including winning the Best Feature - World Cinema Audience Award at the 2006 Sydney Film Festival, and standing ovations at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.

Mychael Danna began his film music career with his score for "Family Viewing" for director Atom Egoyan in 1987. His music received the "Best Score" award from the prestigious Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. Danna is most markedly recognized for incorporating ethnic influences into the body of his contemporary film scoring aesthetics. This fame led him to work with acclaimed directors such as Ang Lee, Scott Hicks, Gilles MacKinnon, Mira Nair, James Mangold, Joel Schumacher and Denzel Washington.

In addition to his film scores, Danna has proven his versatility from scoring Moroccan music in "8MM" to Americana in "Ride with the Devil" to European medieval and Persian music in "The Sweet Hereafter," as well as "Where the Truth Lies," "Arafat," "Felicia's Journey," "Exotica," "The Adjuster" and "Speaking Parts." Danna is currently working on the much anticipated feature, "The Nativity Story," which will be released on December 1, 2006.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 11:30 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


What or Who inspired you to become a composer?

Is there any particular genre you'd love to compose music for that you haven't already?

What kind of advice can you give a struggling artist?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:20 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Can you describe the process of writing scores to Sweet Hereafter , Felicia's Journey , Exotica and Ice Storm?

Do you think that someday you will get a chance to write an action score?

Do you plan to use more female vocals as you did in Felicia's Journey with amazing Kate Crossan?

What are the lyrics to this ballads in Felicia's Journey?

Why your scores have very often an exotic sound ?

Can you describe your relationship with a director Atom Egoyan? Do you have a new project?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:31 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


What kind of music do you like ?

Who's your favourite composer ?

What's your favourite instrument ?

Who's your favourite singer ?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:17 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Danna is awesome! Just wanted to say I'll post a bunch of questions when I get back home later this evening.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:25 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Looking forward to reading them, BP.
Thanks, Asri & Bluevelvet! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:56 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Since you've developed a close collaborative relationship with Atom Egoyan, what is unique about working with him as compared to other directors? Do you feel like you can take more creative risks?

On Water, I was wondering if you got to talk with A.R. Rahman about ideas or if you were composing separately? How did you develop some continuity between his songs and your score?

What kind of dialogue did you have with Deepa Mehta about Water before you began scoring, and what kind of musical sensibility does she have as a director?

I think it's cool how you find a way to add influences from different regions into scores that might not necessarily call for them. For example, Ice Storm has the Indonesian gamelan, 8MM has a Moroccan influence and Little Miss Sunshine has some Eastern European sounding parts. How do you decide which regional influences to draw from when composing for such American stories?

For The Nativity Story, were you inspired by earlier epic biblical film scores or did you take a different route? I'm thinking about scores like King of Kings, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Ten Commandments, etc.

By focusing on European instruments, early Christian melodies, and Gregorian chants, are you concerned that it will privilege a Western take on the nativity story rather than drawing people from other cultures in through the music?

What are your intentions and hopes for how the music will be interpreted with The Nativity Story film?

What's your favorite part of the whole film scoring process?

What type of musical challenges do you want to take on or try in the future?

What other projects are you working on?

Last edited by zirael on Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:29 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


Many of your works feature unconventional instrumentation like the middle eastern and African elements in Exotica and 8mm and the underlying electronic textures for period India in Kama Sutra. Could you explain your motivation behind these?

Were there any influences in your earlier days that got you to explore world music? What instruments do you play and are you experimenting on anything particular now?

Could you tell us how it was working on a project like Atom Egoyan's Ararat which featured a movie-within-a-movie? It seemed like your music captured the ethnic influences and yet blurred the distinction between time periods as the film switched between them. What kind of orchestra did you use for it?

You have scored for a number of Indian themed films with Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta. Could you tell us about your background in indian (Carnatic and Hindustani) music?

Could you tell us how the Celtic Tale series with your brother Jeff came about? Are there any non-film albums that we can expect from you in the near future?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:23 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


Thank you so much for posting your questions! I'm really looking forward to this one.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:39 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


First of all - thank you for your music! Smile

What three words would you use to describe your own music?

To date what has been the most satisfying project you’ve worked on?

What is your most productive time of day for writing music?

Do you sometimes listen to your music for pleasure?

How do you prepare for your composing? Do you have a particular working method?

What's the best memory of your career?

Is there any filmmaker that you would like to work with?



All the best to you in your upcoming projects!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 11:07 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


Asri, Bluevelvet, Zir, BP, & Pingu -
I know Mr. Danna will be so pleased with your insightful questions. Thanks so much for taking time to post them.

*thread locked*
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 6:38 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


12-31-06

Our interview with Mychael Danna is now available in the Interview section.

I wanted to clarify, however, that even though we submitted all of your questions to him, he responded to most but not all because of his incredibly busy schedule. I think you'll find his answers very interesting and enlightening. Enjoy!

And thanks again to all who contributed. Very Happy
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