Star Trek composer Michael Giacchino was the guest speaker at a recent ‘Zocalo Lecture’ at the LA County Museum of Art, where he talked of his path from a kid creating his own soundtracks to working with Spielberg on video game scores. Giacchino said that it was JJ Abrams who took him from games to TV and movies. He also talked a bit out how daunting it is for him to be taking on the Trek score.
A fateful email from JJ Abrams
Giacchino spoke about how after working on a number of high profile video games he was still struggling to break into TV and film, saying "no one would talk to me." Then he got "this crazy email" from JJ Abrams saying Abrams played all of the games Giacchino had scored and loved the music and wanted to know if he wanted a job. After working out that it wasn’t a joke Giacchino soon became the composer for Alias (for which he won an Emmy) and the long collaboration between the Abrams and Giacchino began. Giacchino and the moderator also talked about how Alias brought back using live orchestras for TV scores, with Giacchino noting that "outside of Star Trek of course, it wasn’t being done at all."
Scoring Star Trek is ‘scary’
Giacchino has recently wrapped up his work on the score for Speed Racer. Post-production has just started on Star Trek and so his work has yet to start, but Giacchino clearly taking it very seriously:
At this point still pretending that I don’t even have to write it. Because talk about things that you love, another one of those things was Star Trek for me. It is very daunting. It is a big hill for me. Because James Horner and Jerry Goldsmith in particular are two guys who I have enormous respect for and I am huge fans of theirs. Of course I would listen to Star Trek Motion Picture soundtrack and Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan endlessly as a kid and to be here on the verge of starting work on this with JJ is very scary.
Giacchino’s Cloverfield "Roar" to be released on iTunes
For the hand held camera movie Cloverfield, JJ Abrams did not want a score. Giacchino recounts how he loved monster movies and wanted to do a score so badly he talked Abrams into adding the "Roar" theme that runs with the end credits. There is no soundtrack obviously, but Sountrack.net reports "Roar" will be released on iTunes on April 29th.
There is much more in the interview about his scores from Alias, Lost, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Speed Racer. Listen to the entire interview at Zocalola.org.
(or at KPCC scroll down to "Composer Michael Giacchino on How to Score Big in Hollywood")
Numero Uno !!!
I am REALLY looking forward to hearing what he writes.
No pressure ;-)
“At this point still pretending that I don’t even have to write it. ”
That’s a bit scary for us, don’t you think? :)
I really hope that as well as the TV series theme, that the ST-TMP fanfare makes it in too. My favourite soundtrack of the ST films.
I have a feeling this will be the first unique trek soundtrack in quite awhile without goldsmith. I hope he doesn’t use goldsmith’s theme, and sticks to what star trek originally was.
Perhaps some of his Speed Racer motifs will be useful as we see the Young Kirks motoring around on their dad’s Riverside, Iowa farm… ;)
Good luck, Michael! At least you know what SOME of the notes are already that HAVE to be in the film…
I hope that the TMP Klingon theme gets a revisit anytime Klingons appear in the movie… But the Romulans still need a good theme. Maybe that’s where the ‘immortality’ could lie, coming up with “Nero’s Theme”. Probably it would have some fiddle in it. :)
I have total faith in this guy. I studied film scoring at university and I have since analyzed some of his scores, most notably The Incredibles. The score is in really good hands.
Yeah, I’ve been listening to Giacchino since first hearing his MOH scores years ago, and I have every one of his CD’s except the Alias soundtracks. I still get a little choked up listening to the tracks ‘Pegasus Bridge’ from Call of Duty, and ‘Arnhem’ from Medal of Honor-Frontline. Very moving stuff. The man is a master of his craft and we’re in very good hands here.
I can’t wait! His work on Lost is excellent! He knows how to use moods like Goldsmith did.
He’s gonna score.
If he loves the The Motion Picture and Wrath of Khan scores I feel we’re in good hands
Giacchino is a god, just in case you guys didn’t know that.
I’m kidding of course, but seriously, the man is a GENIUS. He has tremendous talent and is an expert at either copying older styles, or borrowing obvious influences from the past while at the same time adding modern influences. And…if only JJ Abrams had as much love and respect for Classic Trek as Giacchino does!!
Judging from his past work (especially on “The Incredibles” and the awesome in-ride music for “Space Mountain”), his score will undoubtably be THE best part of Abram’s movie – if not the ONLY good thing to come from this movie.
Michael Giacchino should set up a meeting with Alexander Courage who is still alive and is about 88 years old. I’d love for some of the old incidental music to be worked into the score of the film
Hope he’s familar woth those more-than-classic TOS scores…. this movie needs to echo some of the best melodies somewhere.
I would love to see him take a lot of his musical cues from the Original Series. How cool would it be to be sitting in the theater and suddenly hear an unmistakable riff on the Planet Killer theme, or any of the other signature pieces from TOS.
TMP AND WOK!!! Good ones, Giacchino!! :D
Roar and Incredibles give me such hope that I’m probably going to go in expecting to love the ST soundtrack, and therefore love it.
But it’ll probably also be genuinely great. Giacchino is the real deal.
It would be cool to here that theme from ” Amok Time” that was also in Jim Carrey’s , “The Cable Guy”.
If you read this Mr. Giacchino, I just want to say what a great job you did on the “Mission: Impossible III” score, which is one of the BEST film scores I’ve ever heard. I loved the way that you honored and IMPROVED upon one of Mr. Schifrin’s best TV series cues, “The Plot.”
I am sure that you will do a likewise MAGNIFICENT job scoring ST:XI and I hope that you will honor “Star Trek” scores of the past – TV and film – in the same way that you did on “M:I 3.”
Well, let’s be positive here: at least we know the score will be good. ;)
Everything is sounding good for the new movie. :-)
I loved the music in ‘The Incredibles’. I hope he will include some themes from the series.
#11. I’m pretty sure they’ll at least use Alexander Courage’s “Where No Man….” motif. Otherwise, it wouldn’t really be Trek, right? Even the Next Gen movies have used it. Loved Courage’s work, though. If you like his stuff, check out his “lost” score for 2001 (before Kubrick went with classical composers). His music has a dreamy, “new frontier” quality. Very interesting. It’s on CD; check it out on Amazon (I got mine a few years ago at Barnes and Noble; haven’t seen it since). But, I welcome a new composer to the franchise. Look what James Horner brought to the mix, following Jerry Goldsmith’s magnificent score for ST-TMP (a tough act to follow, but Horner’s TWOK score went for a more nautical, ‘tall ship at sea’ direction; and with invigorating results).
Hearing some of those original Courage themes, if only a few bars at a time, would be the ultimate easter eggs for Trekkers. If only…
I love both Goldsmith and Horner’s work on these films. If he respects their work, it makes me feel better about what he might come up with. Star Trek 1, 2, 3, & 5 were probably my favorite films for music. I hope its so good I’ll have to buy the CD.
#21- It was Alex North that did a score for 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not Courage. I also have the CD and all I can say is I’m glad Kubrick went with known music.
How could anyone not love the soundtracks of TMP and TWOK? These were two real high points for two composers who consistently put out superior work.
I like Giachinno’s work, and I’m looking forward to hearing what he brings to Trek music.
#23 I didn’t care for Alex North’s score, either. As it turns out, Kubrick’s first instincts were correct.
#13,20 – There is a lot of good incidental music from TOS that Giacchino can work with. I would think it would great if he would keep a retro sensibility ala The Incredibles in his compositions for Star Trek. If you listened to the party music from “The Conscience of the King”, the glamor / romantic theme (from “Mudd’s Women” among others) and many other examples, you hear alot of themes he can do a lot with. I am very much looking forward to the music, and I think Michael Giacchino will do an awesome job.
He’s right- James Horner is THE man!
James Horner is A man.
Jerry Goldsmith is THE man.
This guys gonna suck..theres just no one else out there who can even come close to Goldsmith. Having said that Jerry had alot of miss’s too..the Nemesis soundtrack was awful aside from the ending cue of the space dock scene in that movie.
I think “Nemesis”-Soundtrack was great.
Besides “Alien” it was Goldsmith`s only score to combine Space with “Darker Music”.
The End-Theme is so moving.
My other all-time favourite on the Trek-Scores is Star Trek VI – TUC. Cliff Eidelman did an incredible Soundtrack. Like an Opera.
I really hope Giacchino is up to the task. The Music in a Star Trek Movie is very important. And after all, I do own all of them (except ST:IV).
Star Trek VI – TUC had an incredible score. Very impressive and perfect for the feel of the movie.
Also when someone says Star Trek music, the theme for TMP will come up first. The theme was reused for TNG and is the most recognizable and known theme.
Giacchino’s overture for Cloverfield, as mentioned above, is absolutely awesome and captures the mood of the movie perfectly.
In my opinion the guy has the big chance to make shine the glorious Alexander Courage theme and book a place in Trek history working on that line. The TMP fanfare is a wonderful theme, I love it but in a TOS movie it will be out of place. Plus, it has become more and more tied to TNG. Giacchino can move in an undiscovered country.
I love the BONGOS in the TOS theme!
I Want BONGOS!
Great. I look forward to hearing the full, unedited 12 mins. 15 secs. ‘Cloverfield’ ROAR overture when it’s released on iTunes, as it was unfortunately shortened to 9 mins. 45 secs. for the end credits of the actual Movie.
This guy is a very talented composer who will make this score something special. However, I hope that he will endevour to weave in SOME of the many fantastic cues heard throughout some of the classic TOS episodes, rather than only including a reference to the Alexander Courage score. If he doesn’t, I’m sure we will still get a memorable score for this Movie.
The TOS theme is very hard to adapt to modern cinema, that’s wht it was used so sparingly I think – they were only ever to use some pieces of it slowly in TMP and STIV.
I would love something that feels like the music from WNMHGB – very cold, creepy and evocative.
I of course meant to write ”rather than only including a reference to the Alexander Courage MAIN THEME’.
I gotta say, one of the high points I my excitement for this movie came one day when I was watching The Incredibles and being blown away by the music, as usual, and realizing that Star Trek might just have a score that’s as damn cool as that one. The music in that movie just gets me so excited! And heck, I’d be happy if this score is *half* as awesome, fitting, and moving as The Incredibles. So don’t worry about it, Mr. Giacchino– we have confidence in you. :)
I loved the Incredibles. It was like a m jazzy mix of Bond and Jonny Quest. I really hope the great music arrangements of TOS inspires Mr. Giacchino to do something with similar flare and originality. The whole John Williams- big orchestra- arrangements are getting pretty tired now, especially with the Trek scores. All too familiar…and more often that not, way too forgetable. You should come out of Trek 09 saying, wow, what a great movie…and that music kicked ass!!
Despite Berman’s feelings for his Treks, this fan WANTS to hear the music. I WANT to buy the soundtrack.
Time to mix it up and get back in your face, TOS style.
Agree with both. I hope they don’t go the Goldsmith route. I feel that actually worked against the latest Superman movie, rehashing Williams’s tuff.
I have always been in the minority but I loved Rosemann’s work in STIV. Because it was largely comedic, the score was more upbeat, less minor keys.
I also loved Goldsmith’s main TMP track and was thrilled when TNG picked it up as their own.
I have little familiarity with this guy but he obviously has a lot of experience and I perceive he has a great attitude towards Trek and this project. Looking forward to it.
#23 Braxus, my bad! OOPS! Having yet another senior moment! North’s music is interesting as an alternative; but I, too, MUCH prefer the Strauss and Ligeti used in the film. That, to me, IS 2001. Much as Courage and Goldsmith’s music defined Star Trek. Leonard Rosenman’s score for the Voyage Home is a note-for-note rehash of his 1978 Lord of the Rings’ score. A shame. Goldsmith’s score for TMP and TFF (two of the lesser-liked Treks) are ironically, two of the BEST scores for the movies.
I agree, TUC is my favourite soundtrack. I love ‘Cast Off All Moorings’.
He’s going to do a fine job, I’m pretty sure. I mean, okay, it’s almost impossible to beat Goldsmith, but Goldsmith’s style may not even fit with the new film, so no sweat… and as long as Giacchino doesn’t horner his way through the film, it could be some great music. Just don’t use Goldsmith’s Star Trek theme: a) it wouldn’t fit; b) it’s one of Goldsmith inferior compositions.
But damn it: Giacchino has so much time! Pure luxury. Just don’t make the same mistakes as Yared and the team on “Troy”. Yared had almost one year for the score, and obviously there wasn’t enough feedback with the director/producer etc., and the whole thing went into the completely wrong direction. E.g., I think it would be wrong to simply rehash the 60s kind of film music. It’s great, wonderful music, but it simply wouldn’t fit… you know, it would be the “Troy-route” for the new Star Trek film. Modern audiences are used to monotonous, stuporous sequencer-scores, coincidentally played by an orchestra and live percussion.
So I guess that it *will* be quite a task to make this one unique. Think of what B.T. did in some cues for “Stealth”, which was an outstanding score for a funny, crappy little film. Extrapolate that into SciFi & StarTrek. Maybe a few 60s-patches here and there, some old-school allusions could work. And he should definitely use the Courage-theme!!! Make it new, modern… let it shine!
PS: maybe they can hire Courage for some great old-school source music compositions. You know, on Earth, when Kirk is still young etc.… car radio, whatever… that would be a nice addition to the film, and also a nod to a great Star Trek composer.
PPS: I didn’t know that Giacchino scored video games. You should check out Bill Brown… he does a lot of video game scores, and he’s a true wizard: billbrownmusic.com … I’d love to hear his work in a large Hollywood production. Btw: at the bottom of the music page he’s got links to a lot of free score excerpts from his archives. I especially like what he did for RTCW. Amazing score!
Giacchino ought to read this thread whenever he feels insecure. He should, however, just skip over TrekOfficial (#28), which is a ridiculous post (and sadly lacking in apostrophes). He won’t suck. He is incapable of sucking. He’s written some of the richest, most entertaining and emotionally evocative orchestral scores out there. So there. Ppplll.
I’m sorry. That wasn’t very mature of me to add the “Ppplll” at the end of my post. Consider it retracted.
#35 You’re absolutely right. Courage’s TOS theme is hard to adapt. It’s 60s TV theme style music, with congas, drums, harmonic progressions that are quite unusual nowadays etc. The only way to weave it in would be to break it down and paraphrase it. In it’s intirety I can only envision it as a sweeping, lush, emotional, slower version, maybe for parts of the end credits or the grand finale… a bit like some of the Williams-themes for the Star Wars films (Han&Leia etc.). But the suspended horn fanfare opener would be no problem, I think. It has to be in the film. It’s *the* trademark.
An inspired musician can do everything with a musical composition. In my opinion, Courage’s TOS theme can be revisited and adapted so that it sounds fresh and faithful to the original. Congas can be removed, the pace can be made slower and the whole thing can become dramatic and emotional.
#47 Exactly. That’s what I meant. (^_^)
I think all in all we are in great shape for the movie. He seems to be a big fan of star trek as well and thats what makes me feel better.Knowing that he loved tmp and twok and the music is great. I also had those two cassestes and listned all the time. Now of corse my ipod has them.(does any one remember the casseste player)I know. The dark ages)Any way im looking foreward to the movie and the score. The music of star trek is very inportant and can realy set the tone for the movie. So i believe we are in great hands.
wait a tic- movies have music all the way through them???
arrrrr… learn somethin’ new every day…