Interview: Composer Jeff Russo Talks About The Challenges Of Scoring ‘Star Trek: Short Treks’

Jeff Russo at the Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 red carpet premiere

Star Trek: Discovery stars and producers walked the red carpet last week in New York to celebrate the premiere of season two. We continue to bring you interviews from the event.

We were able to briefly speak to composer Jeff Russo–due to the nature of the hectic red carpet, we only got a short time with him.

The Star Trek; Short Treks are all so different. How did you approach each one?

I approached each one independently. I needed to look at what the story was, and sort of take it for what it is. Except for the one that takes place a thousand years in the future [“Calypso”], which we sort of – I didn’t know what to do, I was like, ‘Well how am I going to treat this? Am I going to still keep us in the same sort of world, am I going to try to make it a little different?’ But then there was the whole dance sequence with the hologram—or the AI or whatever you want to call her—and I found it really interesting to try to do something a little different.

The dance sequence from “Calypso”

Especially, we were just talking about in the Mudd episode [“The Escape Artist”], where Alex was like, ‘How do we get Disco involved?’ I did a new main title for the Trek shorts, and I thought, ‘Well, how do I make the Trek short main title for just that one, like do a Disco thing, and how do I bring that back at the end?’ And it was fun, I mean, I don’t really get to do that kind of thing on Trek, so, you know, doing that was very—and when I watched it back I was like, ‘Okay, so I think this is great. This is either really wrong, or, we’re all just thinking at a really really super high level.’ And I’d like to think that it’s that. I’d like to think that we ended up being in the right place, because it felt right to me.

The final scene from the Mudd-centric Short Treks, “The Escape Artist”

More from the season 2 premiere

Our interviews with Jeff Russo and James MacKinnon posted today are the final two of our coverage from the coverage of the season 2 red carpet premiere in NYC. Check out all of our interviews here.

Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else. The second season debuted on All Access and Space on Thursday, January 17th, 2019, and on Netflix January 18, 2019.

Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.

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I’m definitely one of the few here, but I really enjoy his theme for Disco. The extended version is really quite beautiful.

My only wish is that it would evolve. The themes darker elements worked well for season one bit the theme needs some brighter queues as we move into a season of exploration.

Looking forward to seeing what he does this season.

I’m with you Dan.. The theme is refreshingly different. I really like the end credits for the Mud episode. I find it amazing that after 50 years, people will not let Trek evolve (new music, cast, storylines, etc…) As greedy as the studios are (and some actors as well) we should be thankful we get new Trek at all. And one day hopefully there will be another 3hour SCI FI – Friday!

They should have hired Bear McCreary. That was a missed opportunity.

Bear’s never again produced series TV scoring as strong as his work on BSG. I feel like producers are under utilizing him and asking him to produce wallpaper – in other words, “pulling a Berman.”

That’s an insult to Berman when that remake of BSG was a travesty.

His theme for Black Sails was very good I think. Kind of unusual, but gets you in the mood to set sails for the high seas.

The theme is truly uninspiring and a mess (sounds like three different pieces of music loosely stitched together). The music during the episodes themselves isn’t that bad, I suppose. Like other areas of production, Star Trek Discovery is sadly blighted by mediocrity… and I’m being generous!

Have you heard the rejected themes of the guy who did star trek VI, they are not much better. None of it sounds like Star Trek.