(10/14) Check out Bill's recent interview with FilmAndGameComposers.com Excerpt:
FilmAndGameComposers.com: Q: What are your thoughts on “the death of the theme” in film music?
Bill Brown: "These days atmosphere is king. Maybe people have become more attuned to themes, and in doing so, we’ve had to evolve into a more subliminal world. But still, even if its motivic, we use ‘themes’ all the time. I still develop minimal things through narrative, and sometimes have opportunities to really open up and introduce hummable, singable themes..”
(12/12) Check out Bill's recent interview with BuySoundtrax.com Excerpt:
BuySoundtrax.com: Q: I’m especially impressed by the orchestration of BROTHER’s KEEPER, which develops a very pleasing contemporary-styled ‘Old west” score to suit the feeling of that film and its personalities. What element(s) of the film did you key in on to center your score around, and how did you arrive at that approach?
Bill Brown: "The story is set in the 1950’s in the south, so it was nice to be able to incorporate acoustic guitars, dobro, mandolin, banjo, dulcimers, cello and live orchestra throughout. The overall score needed a lot of gravity and emotion, so orchestra was key. Instead of approaching the action sequence (track 3 “The Attack”) with the expected orchestra staccatos, percussion and brass, I decided to use close, live recordings of acoustic stringed instruments along with timpani. My overall goal was to create unexpected harmonic and melodic material throughout. A lot of my piano writing was purposefully angular to create a sense of unease within the beauty of the sound of the instruments.."
(12/12) Check out Bill's recent interview with 8Dio Excerpt:
8Dio: You have done music for games, movies (including animated movies) and TV now. Which is your personal favorite? What would you like to do more of?
Brown: "The amazing thing about working in all of these mediums is that I feel like I’m approaching each one with new perspective and new tools every time I start a new project. That’s the beauty of being a composer is that there are these opportunities to expand and grow. I’d like to do more of all of them. The projects themselves are rewarding in different ways, and it keeps things interesting writing in different styles.
(7/12) Check out Bill's recent interview with The Audio Spotlight Excerpt:
The Audio Spotlight: Any tips, hints or motivational speeches for the readers?
Brown: "If you’re not having fun with the material you’re creating, it’s most likely no one else will either. If you love it, there’s a good chance others will too. But don’t be attached to that part of it while you’re working, just have some fun!"
(7/11) Check out Bill's recent interview with GameSpot.com Excerpt:
GS: Tell us about the music of Captain America: Super Soldier. What kind of research went into coming up with the right tone and mood for the game and what was your process in creating it?
Brown: "We started this project over a year ago when Next Level Games (the developer) sent me some preliminary artwork--storyboards and that sort of thing--and I started thinking about the palette and tone of the score. They had temped the first demo levels with my score from Wolfenstein, as there were similarities in the location and WW2 era, and it was working well, but it was missing that aspect of the score that needed to support Captain America. I also wanted to bring more of a thematic/motif-based structure to this game where Wolfenstein was more of an atmospheric score..."
(11/10) Check out Bill's recent interview with CSI Files
(12/09) Check out Bill's recent interview with Film Industry Network Excerpt:
FIN: What can you say has helped you in having a successful career?
Bill Brown: "I think career for anyone is about relationships, and about creating opportunities through the quality of work you do. I honor my friendships, and I always do my best work. I put my heart and soul into it all, and I think that is what makes the difference."
(9/09) Excerpt from Bill's recent interview with Daily Film Music
DFM: What were the official guidelines you received at the beginning of the show about what the music should sound like / achieve?
Bill Brown: "I hadn't really watched the series up to that point, so before we got started, I rented every season of CSI in existence at that time and watched every minute of every episode, and honestly, I was hooked. CSI had this wonderful mood about it. Everything contributed to it; the writing, the cast, the direction and pacing, the music, the locations.. Everything. I was honestly a big fan of the show after watching it for something like a week straight on DVD. Once I was hired to score the pilot for CSI:NY, I learned our goal was to bring something really fresh to the franchise, and to take it in a totally new direction. The producers for CSI:NY were already listening to a lot of orchestral film music in preparation, and when I came on board we folded all of my orchestral music from games into the mix of ideas (some of those cues even became temp score for the pilot and subsequent episodes). There was definitely something darker and grittier about the pilot of CSI:NY compared to the other two shows and the score needed to reflect that.."
(7/09) What iF Score Picks: 'DEVIL'S TOMB' ONE OF THE TOP SOUNDTRACKS TO OWN FOR JULY 2009!
The Devil's Tomb www.buysoundtrax.com soundtrack review
"Terror is let out of the box most explicitly in Hallucinations, as percussive shards of and relentless, string-driven cadences stride viciously through dark, echoing corridors. Quiet harmonies of cello and choir and varying timbres give 'Do You Believe?' its chilling quietude, while Rumblings takes on more an attribute of stark thunder with cyclonic swirls of synths and strings, gruesome howls of horns, and soul-hammering pounding drums."
Read full review
www.buysoundtrax.com CD Review - The Devil's Tomb "Bill Brown, known for his prolific and high-intensity scores to video games like the Ghost Recon, Castle Wolfenstein, and Command & Conquer series and his music for five seasons of CSI: NY, has composed a dark and exciting orchestral score for Jason Connery's science fiction/action thriller The Devil's Tomb, starring Cuba Gooding Jr, Ray Winstone and Ron Perlman, about an elite group of soldiers on a covert mission to retrieve a scientist from an underground lab who encounter an ancient evil in the facility. The rousing score combines orchestral parts recorded in Prague, along with sampled choral elements, pounding rhythm programming, and atmospheric electronics. Released on CD and digitally by MovieScoreMedia, the score ripples with progressive atmospheres, beginning with a 4:26 overture that introduces Brown's primary musical elements. Shifting layers of orchestral sound are enhanced with sheets of synth tonality that drift hauntingly nearer to evoke a mysterious and compelling sonority. Sandstorm is more of a percussive action cue, staunch keyboard notation over electric guitars and driving percussion; you can almost feel the heat and stinging of the sand splitting the skin of your face and arms. After some rather standard percussive cues for the initial military mission music, the score really gets going when the ancient evil makes its wicked presence known, starting in Track 8. With its haunting textures, exuding reflections from massed choral and synth reverberations, and malevolent sonic mysterioso, What is That? instantly and excellently evokes the flavor of Goldsmith's Alien music, opening into an onrushing blackness charging hugely closer, Brown's clear toned growling synth tones piercing flesh and his heartbeaten drum cadences sounding out what may well be someone's final cardiac rhythms. Afterbirth fumes with massive intonations of chorus, while The Temple progresses steadily with layered textures and furtive movements into large shifting strata of heavy sound. Terror is let out of the box most explicitly in Hallucinations, as percussive shards of and relentless, string-driven cadences stride viciously through dark, echoing corridors. Quiet harmonies of cello and choir and varying timbres give Do You Believe? its chilling quietude, while Rumblings takes on more an attribute of stark thunder with cyclonic swirls of synths and strings, gruesome howls of horns, and soul-hammering pounding drums. You might not want to listen to this score alone at night. Return of the Father and God's Plan wax more eloquently with brooding and spiritual synth and string atmospheres as the story takes on a haunting metaphysical turn; in Incantation/Escape, disturbing whispers and creepy, scuttling electronica textures open into smooth-walled atmospheric chord progressions and finally a headlong flight of panic and hysteria driven by frantic drumming and revolving synth/string and a dazzling slow glissando of sound that rises to a feverous intensity and suddenly dissipates like black vapor. Resolution provides a warm sonority of relief and survival, as the dark horrors depart with the rising light of the theater auditorium. A potent and likable horror score with moments of fine expressiveness as well as sheer panic."
(7/09) Check out Bill's recent interview (and a suite from the upcoming score) at ScoreNotes.com! Excerpt:
ScoreNotes: Can you take us behind the scenes on The Devil's Tomb and tell us about the orchestra and choir you used for this project? From the performances, it seems like it must have been a robust and productive scoring experience!
Bill Brown: "We recorded the strings in Prague and I recorded and sequenced the remaining parts in my studio in LA. The main titles sequence in the film ("The Message") gave me an opportunity to let the audience know there would be something big, dark, sinister and even religious in nature to come later in the film. That was a lot of fun for me because we still hadn't officially spotted the film, and no one had thought of really leaning into the title sequence in that particular way. I was taking a chance in writing this full-blown orchestral / choral piece (in Latin) programming and recording all of the choir myself (with the help of the East West Symphonic Choirs), which was pretty time consuming! Luckily, it paid off, and everyone liked it..."
(6/09) Check out Bill's recent interview (and a track from the upcoming score) on the Wolfenstein IGN Blog! Excerpt:
IGN: What can players expect from the music in Wolfenstein?
Bill Brown: "Big, dark, angular, intense, dense orchestral music that feels sonically like it could have been imagined and created in the 1940's.. You might feel a connection to the music from Return to Castle Wolfenstein, but it has all been taken to the next level.. just like the game..."
(5/09) Check out Bill's recent interview with USA Today: Game Hunters Excerpt:
Game Hunters: Is there a personality or flavor that you have brought from 'Return to Castle Wolfenstein' to the new 'Wolfenstein'?
Bill Brown: "There is a dark, sci-fi edge to Return to Castle Wolfenstein that definitely exists in the new score for Wolfenstein, but I think that is mainly because they did such a great job of staying true to the dark, supernatural atmosphere and haunting World War II context in both games.. With Wolfenstein, of course the technology has evolved, and so has the score.. and they really took the game play to the next level, so it truly feels like a sequel, and it feels fresh at the same time. Where the music for Return to Castle Wolfenstein was more atmospheric, you'll hear more themes and a big 1940's 'modern' orchestral influence in the score for Wolfenstein. I was originally listening to scores like Raiders of the Lost Ark for inspiration, but I found that Wolfenstein just naturally fell into more of a Bernard Herrmann-esque, 20th century, dark angular orchestral vocabulary..."
(8/05) Music4Games interviewed Bill Brown (composer), Tim Bennison (producer), Scott Morgan (audio director) and Eric Holmes (lead game designer) about Bill's score for The Incredible Hulk and their session with the Hollywood Studio Symphony at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Bros. Studios, Los Angeles. Excerpts:
Scott Morgan, audio director at Radical Entertainment: "Working on The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction music with Bill Brown was an incredibly fun and exciting experience. Not only was it a pleasure to work with such a talented composer but to witness his score come alive through the recording of a live orchestra (The Hollywood Studio Symphony) was certainly the icing on the cake.
Tim Bennison, the game's producer: "Bill's music gives the game a huge boost in cinematic feel; you actually get swept up in the feeling that you are playing the main character in a superhero movie. The first time I heard some of Bill's music in an early build of the game, when all you could do was jump and climb around an empty city, I couldn't believe how intense the emotional response was to the visuals and the movements of Hulk the music was the emotional connection to the character, even at this early stage."
Eric Holmes, lead game designer: "We stated our needs and Bill's music hits the spot... I think it's fair to say that the impact of Bill's work surprised us all, and I wouldn't trade the final music for any other - it's perfect. When you've finished the project, isn't that the best spot to be in?
(read the full interview)
Bill Brown's Comments (not included in article): "Working on this project was truly an act of grace from beginning to end.. I flew up to meet with Scott Morgan, Tim Bennison, Eric Holmes and the rest of the Hulk team at Radical, and we took some time to begin to shape the direction of the score and how Scott would implement it in the game. I was really impressed with the engine they had designed to create a reactive audio experience - in tempo and in multiple layers. Eventually I would be delivering the score to Scott in multiple stems. He took those stems and created a score that reacts to the player (Hulk) throughout the game interactively in layers.
When I got back to my studio and began writing, this particular set of chromatic-median scales surfaced, a whole-tone, half-tone angular melodic approach that I felt suited the Hulk nicely. Then the weighty heroic sound came from using smaller sections of those scales - distilling them into more muscular shapes. There were three or four distinctive themes that happened in and around the hour or more of action material that I was writing in the span of about 4-6 weeks, including the in-game cinematics or cut-scenes - which came in slowly as I was writing and mocking up the score. To give the percussion for the score an extra edge, I enlisted the help of Kurt Wortman, known for creating the sample libraries Percussive Adventures 1 & 2. We spent an entire day at Signet Soundelux Studio A recording percussive beds which I edited into stems and imported into Logic later to add something unique to each cue.
As it turned out, my mock-ups were so good - we didn't need to record the whole score live, so we widened the orchestra players in numbers and focused our time in on those cues that I thought needed that extra breadth the orchestra brings - which included most of the cues where the string section was really breathing, knowing how they would bring the cues to life. Every little bit helps - especially in regard to the number of string players available while covering the rest of the orchestral bases, as it were. The next step for me after choosing which cues would go to the stage was to send the midi files with my mocked-up orchestrations over to my orchestrator/conductor James Sale so he could create the full score and parts for the orchestra. James and I have known each other for so many years, he basically reads my mind, which leaves me more time to hang out with the producers and tell jokes and such in the booth, which is nice. The process was so graceful - I was lucky to have such a wonderful team. I created the score in the most easy and fun collaboration I think I've ever had. Scott Morgan was excited about the music, offered insight into the game play and narrative and helped me take the music to the next level with each new idea. Then I handed the cues off to my assistants to create the Pro Tools sessions from my Logic sessions for recording at Warner Brothers, and sent the midi files to James. Mike Farrow - an old friend that I recorded with previously, was nice enough to join us and mix/engineer the session. And we were blessed to have the A-list of LA players with us that day with the help of Leslie Morris, our music contractor. They brought the score to the next level for sure.. as they are so apt to do.
And the rest is "in the game"... for you to hear.. I'm grateful for the opportunity to create this score, and so glad I had the chance to work with everyone at Radical and at Universal/Vivendi."
Listen to a sampling of Bill's The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction music.
(Hide full interview)
Listen to a sampling of Bill's Lineage II: the Chaotic Chronicle music.