The Path: Making The Score (part 2)

When it comes to the music of The Path, Composer Jason Medwid has taken the time to share his side of the story

Being asked to compose music for The Path was definitely an honour and I approached the task with a mixture of excitement and fear. Sam and Justin have a well-deserved reputation for being exacting, temperamental artists and I knew a collaboration with them would be rewarding and extremely challenging. 

After watching a silent rough cut of The Path, I saw how its clearly articulated narrative and symbolic structure could be nicely mirrored and supplemented by the music.  Sam and Justin supplied examples of the kind of soundworld they wanted for the film (which ranged from modern film scores to what I can only describe as bizarre, Scandinavian funhouse music) and based on these, I quickly worked up a first cut of the first 90 seconds of music.

A couple hours after submitting the first draft of the music to Guerrilla, a five-minute long, expletive-laden tirade was left on my voicemail by person(s) unknown. Though it never referenced The Path directly (in fact, it made no sense at all),  I took the message to mean that the music hadn’t gone over well. I realized that we needed a different approach. I invited Sam and Justin over to Sounds Fine Studios and together we`d put together the sonic palette from which the score would be made. 

Guerrilla arrived at the studio ready to work. Sam arrived clearly agitated about something and he continued to get angrier as we worked. Justin, who arrived with his ever-present pink girls`T-ball bat in hand, seemed content to menace rather than communicate.

We agreed on types of musical elements the score should have and set to work trying to find the right sounds.  As the sounds were selected, Sam and Justin grew more enthusiastic. The descriptions of what they wanted also grew stranger: “I want this to sound like an avalanche of pasta smashing into a cabin”, “Could we get a sound like a helicopter flying through Jell-O?”, “We need a sound here that’s like the howl of a T-Rex at the height of mating season.” I did what I could with these eccentric suggestions and from what I could tell, Guerrilla was becoming satisfied with the sounds we were selecting.

I have to admit the whole process wasn’t some kind of wine and cheese party. There were definitely moments of tension. There was a certain point on which I wasn’t prepared to compromise.  I knew that midway through the film, if the music suddenly morphed into a slowed-down, psychedelic version of the theme from The Flintstones, it would really drive home the floating, unearthly atmosphere of the film. Sam and Justin rejected the idea (“No fuckin’ way” and “Christ, no” were two of the milder comments). But I stood my ground. Unfortunately, I forgot about the pink girls’ t-ball bat.  It settled the argument.

I lost the battle, but together, we won the war.  Sam and Justin were satisfied with the score and I was happy to have survived the collaboration.  Future collaborations have been suggested and it sounds like my participation isn’t optional.  I’m sure I’ll be fine...

 

-Jason Medwid

Posted on June 3, 2014 and filed under The Path.