1. Describe your latest soundtrack on Varese.
The original concept was to attempt to do and electronica type of score using mainly organic instruments. Either sampled or resampled, but to try and keep the original signal purely organic. From there, effecting or processing the samples as we needed. It has come quite far from that original idea. But the thought was to allow it to become anything over time, like it was having its own sense of evolution.
2. Did the director/showrunner give you any interesting instructions or feedback to help you create the tonal palate?
The showrunners did have a very large list of reference music for me to take a listen too. Not necessarily only from a tonal palette, but more reference to the characters. It ranged from hard electronica, to orchestral, pop, to the more esoteric, avant-grade type stuff. It really was a great starting point to get into spirit of the show. Over the first few months I went around the house with a little stereo Zoom recorder and created a huge library of sounds and spent quite a bit of time building those into my own sample libraries.
3. Since Orphan Black features a backdrop of a cloning storyline, how do you approach creating themes for the different characters?
I started with Sarah in the early episodes, everything was derived from her original palette. If you listen closely, not only do the clones have their own themes and palettes, but I often borrow from one and bring it to another (depending on the scene) but they are all related, theres a little Sarah in Helena, a little Helena in Alison, an so on.
Did you do anything different when one poses as another (i.e. when Sarah poses as Cosima, etc).
Not too much, but the themes and tonal colours do interweave throughout those scenes.
4. What kind of ensemble did you use to record the score?
I have over the years purchased some pretty eclectic instruments. They are a few that I use quite regularly on Orphan Black. I have a guitar Viola that was made for me by a luther in California (Jonathan Wilson), several Folktek instruments, a swarmatron, and recently for season three I’ve been using the ROLI Seaboard quite a bit. I also love to take sounds from around me and twist them into interesting pads and libraries. For example, I took my bike, sampled running a spoon over the spokes….dropped it a few octaves and slowed it down to make a low sounding metal percussion library…lots of that kind of thing.
5. Did you use any interesting or unusual instrumentation or soloists who deserve a shout-out?
Most of the playing, and sounds created have come from me. But I would like to thank Rebekah Higgs. She is the vocalist that has been featured, and woven into the score. She has added a beautiful human element to the score. And really made the season one finale a thing of beauty. Check her albums out…pretty cool stuff!!