1) LYLE, YOU HAVE NUMEROUS DROOLWORTHY FILM/TV CREDITS AND YET YOU CAME TO THE SCENE FROM THE WORLD OF ROCK’N’ROLL. HOW DID THE MOVE COME ABOUT AND DO YOU SEE A TREND OF ROCK PERSONALITIES CROSSING OVER?
First off thank you for having me among your illustrious group of composers in this forum. In 1997 I moved to Los angeles to pursue more steady session and touring work but was also interested in writing in a variety of settings. A series of gigs and connections led to an independent film and shortly after, I met an music executive at Universal who championed my work leading to placing music in a film Judd Apatow produced. After that I scored Judd Apatow’s first theatrical film as director, “The 40 Year Old Virgin”, which paved the way for several more of his productions, as well as opening the door to other film and TV work.
Time will tell if we’ll be seeing a growing trend of rockers (or the like) crossing over of into scoring, or at least into full time composing. It is interesting to note that many composers do come from either rock or jazz. with composing coming later in their careers.
2) YOU ARE A LONG TIME COLLABORATOR OF DIRECTOR JUDD APATOW. CAN YOU PLEASE COMMENT ON THE LONGEVITY OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP? IT’S NOT JUST YOUR MUSIC CHOPS RIGHT?
Out of the gate Judd’s films were very successful and I was very fortunate to be part of that team. At the outset it was a great collaborative environment and a fun working relationship. I attribute that to the longevity, along with him being very loyal. Thankfully he enjoys what I bring to the table and to this day I feel huge gratitude that he gave me a chance when I was pretty much unknown as a film composer.
3) YOU HAVE RECENTLY SCORED THE SECOND SEASON OF THE HIT NETFLIX SERIES ‘LOVE’. DO YOU PREFER SCORING EPISODIC TV ON A WEEKLY BASIS OR THE WAY NETFLIX DOES?
Even though every season of a Netflix show is released all at once, we still keep to a post schedule pretty much the same as a network show that airs weekly. The delivery is still weekly or bi -weekly. So there is very little difference on the post production side of things. I’m set to begin scoring season three of Love sometime in the summer and wrap in November-ish for the total of 12 episodes.
4) YOUR SCORE FOR ‘SUPERBAD’ BECAME A COMMERCIAL SUCCESS. CAN YOU PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR COMPOSITION/RECORDING PROCESS FOR THAT?
Well. that was a special one for sure, and I still pinch myself over working with those iconic musicians. From the outset, 60’s and 70’s soul, R&B and funk music was to be the sound of the score. I started by demoing all the cues, bringing in local players to record. Once all those demos were approved, and in an effort to make the music as stylistically legitimate as possible, we called in the James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic bassist, Bootsy Collins, as well as bringing in the original James Brown drummers along with a few other funk legends. We had the horn section that played with Earth Wind and Fire and countless other amazing records, led by the great Jerry Hey. The whole group recorded together at Capitol records in Los Angeles. That was the band for Superbad.
5) YOU HAVE WORKED WITH ARTISTS AS DIVERSE AS BECK, STING AND TONY WILLIAMS TO NAME JUST A FEW. HOW DIFFERENT FROM THE SCORING WORLD ARE THOSE COLLABORATIONS?
I’ll start with the similarities. in most of the non-scoring work (where I am not writing) the biggest common denominator between the two worlds is that I’m providing a service. I’m there to serve their music and vision. Certainly in the case of Beck, he has a very clear idea of what he wants. Often that is similar to working with a director, although much more conceptual.The tools used for different camps very widely but the broad mindset is connected.
The biggest difference between the two areas is that in one environment, I’m writing music from scratch and in the other, I’m performing already written material or in the case of session work, adding to various stages of a material in progress. I enjoy them both for their similarities and differences. With composing there is a much bigger responsibility and there’s more places to explore as a writer, particularly in the orchestral domain which is always the biggest thrill for me personally. But I also love working on a record or playing shows where it’s more immediate. Collectively, they feed and nourish the other. The work I’ve done outside of scoring has helped me tremendously as a composer. Having had a couple of decades under my belt of performing, touring, and writing in a variety of styles and genres, it has been an invaluable resource for composing.