Doing crazy things – Interview with Víctor Reyes

Víctor Reyes grew up in Spain, and the 2010 spanish thriller film Buried put him on the path to wide recognition among film-music fans. However before 2010, Reyes wasn’t an unknown: after the Lisboa, the En la ciudad sin límites and the Ana y los 7 he quickly became one of the most sought-after young composers at home. We had a chance to ask him about the very interesting Grand Piano, and his other projects as well.

First of all, please tell to me a bit about your project, called Grand Piano. We can see in the focus a pianist and his concert evening. How would you describe the difference between composing for this story than the other features?

This is a good question, and I’ll try to explain it in the best possible way. Usually, music in films describes the emotional “state of mind” of the characters. The music helps the audience to understand how the characters feels the story, it refers to something which is inside their minds. In this cases, the music helps the audience to understand what’s happening, pictures and dialogs “are” the action. In Grand Piano, the action takes place during a concerto, and it’s a substantial part of the drama, and needs to seem being a “real” piano concerto, composed by a “real” composer. Now pictures and dialogs helps the audience to understand what’s happening, because the music “is” the action.

We can find on the soundtrack album three long movements. How did you came up with the specific score for this movie?

As I just said, we needed a real concerto, more or less aesthetically and musically belieable. It has to sound as a classical concerto, with different themes, expositions, variations, etc. Three movements is a very usual patch into piano concertos. 

The „Grand Piano Main Titles” is a very dark and sinister track. It was the first thing what you wrote for the movie?

Actually, it was the last of all. This piece is something different that I wrote in the rest of the music. Is the only piece that doesn’t sounds during the concert, and I wrote it just a few days before deadline time. I thinked it was a good idea to do something very much different of the style of the piano concerto, introducing the “real” main character, the piano, into a thriller style.

In general, you involved in the production of the soundtrack CDs?

I work personally on every aspects of the production of my soundtracks. From first note to final masterization, I watch over all artistics and technical processes of production.

On many of your scores (like Lisboa, Buried and Grand Piano), you play also on piano. Why do you insist on playing this instruments?

Not only piano, but every keyboard instruments, percussions, synth programming, etc. I record a previous version of the music with my computer, having the opportunity to play the part with a lot of small details, in order to give the best possible performance.

Please, tell me a bit about your musical education.

Is a mix of classical studies and pop music experiences. Actually, I’m graduate in superior studies of piano and classical music, but I began to play pop music in local bands since I was a teenager, so, part of my education it refers to pop music.

To the mid ’80, you work together with the band Mecano, and work together many big names, like Placido Domingo, Ricky Martin and Montserrat Caballé. What made you choose to becoming film composer?

Being a film composer was a dream for me since I have rememberings. My father was a good music fan and I remember myself listening Morricone’s spaghetti western movies music back in the 60’s. I wonder about what was this strange thing “composing for films” since then.

What is the happiest thing about pursuing a career as a film composer?

Girls. You have a strange “aura” being a composer. Ha, ha, ha..., it’s a joke. Is it? Seriously, I don’t know... I think that being a film composer you learn a lot of things, knowing interesting people, searching in different ways to express the same feelings...

At what stage are you drawn into the production?

Usually when the edition process is finished. On the contrary, in Grand Piano we started to produce the music before even the shooting began. We needed the music to be played by the orchestra.

What is your writing process? Do you sit down at the piano with a pencil and paper, or you use samplers?

I work on computer directly. I programme the whole music beforre I go to the studio for recording orchestra.

Buried brought international recognition to you. It’s an claustrophobic movie with an exciting and dinamic music. Why did you choose this line when you writing the music?

Well, the whole picture takes place into the coffin, so, the only option to get any dynamics to the picture was try to illustrate what’s happening outside the coffin. As the director said, this is Indiana Jones into a coffin. Actually, it's an action movie.

An other popular score is the Red Lights which movie also directed by Rodrigo Cortés. You had been worked with Cortés several times from the short film, called Dirt Devil. How did this collaboration start?

I started working with Rodrigo before Dirt Devil, actually, in his first film, The Contestant. We are good friends, we understand each other, and we try to do crazy things developing crazy projects. This binomia works fine in the most of cases. He participates very much in creation of the music of his films.

You worked parallel with your movie projects many series – like Génesis, en la mente del asesino, Pirates and Hospital Central. Could you tell us some words about the working process of creating the series’ musical background?

Television is different that cinema, but only in some aspects. Actually, the process is the same, I receive one episode and I compose some themes that I can use in other episodes, but the studio -my studio- is the same studio, my computer and samplers are the same computer, etc.

Which is your favorite movie score from your own body of work? 

I don’t have any preferences about my own scores. Each case includes a lot of suffering and hard work. Maybe Buried. It was very difficult to find a way to write music for a picture like this one. 

Thank you and regards to all of your readers.



Photos: Grand Piano scoring session
March 30th, 2014

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