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February 16th marked the cinematic premiere of director Christian Lo’s newest feature film LOS BANDO, which was also nominated for the “Crystal Bear” this February at the Berlinale.
Crafting the music of LOS BANDO is without doubt my most time-consuming gig for a feature film so far. This is largely due to the fact that the film is about a band. So obviously, we need to find out what the band sounds like, and the band also needs its own songs. And the sound of every instrument in the band has to be painstakingly sync’ed and matched to the music performances in the film. We’ve therefore had frequent band rehearsals with the film’s magnificent young cast, beginning a whole year before shooting.
Then, there is also the more traditional film score, which features a kind of “chamber pop” sound, with strings, clarinets, accordion, keyboards, guitars, drums and glockenspiel. And as the icing on the cake, I’ve also made a great deal of the film’s “source music” (diegetic, in-universe music), including karaoke bar songs, Scooter inspired “Jesus techno”, growl-based black metal from a noisy neighbour, and old school hip hop beats for a “beat boyz” dance performance. I was also involved in a kind of “music supervisor” role early on, helping to track down some of the other (existing) songs for the film’s soundtrack, by some of the greatest Norwegian bands and artists (we’re talking everything from Motorpsycho and Kvelertak to Didrik Solli-Tangen here). Heck, I have even spent some hours in Photoshop creating graphics for a fictional “Autotune” plugin, which can be seen for approximately two seconds in the film. It’s all in the details!
Having immersed myself in a project to such a degree for so long, investing so much blood, sweat and indeed tears (tears largely because the film’s young actors are so incredibly good), it is obviously a great relief when the film is as well received as this one has been – with wonderful reviews in some of Norway’s biggest and most important newspapers, and an unbelievable reception at the Berlinale! And it is still running in Norwegian cinemas (and soon in 14 other countries). You know what to do!
Today, five weeks after LOS BANDO, another film with my music premieres in Norwegian cinemas; BRILLEBJØRN PÅ BONDEGÅRDEN, the first feature film with every three year old’s favourite bear. It’s a great pleasure to work with the incredibly talented BRILLEBJØRN team and be a part of this journey – and take part in actually creating something good for the youngest of cinema goers. In my opinion, the high quality of the TV series and the sky-rocketing popularity of Brillebjørn as a character speaks for itself. In this film there are several “dance-along” sequences with variations over the already existing theme for the TV series BRILLEBJØRN, made by yours truly a little over a year ago – which means you actually have to stand up and dance at several times during the film! This is a new kind of “interactive cinema” for three year olds (and parents who aren’t afraid of acting like three year olds). Which makes for a lively audience, large masses of flying popcorn – and lots of work for the cleaning personnel. Actually, the only “new” music I made for this film is an “orchestral reworking” of the same main theme, for the film’s grandioso intro sequence. All in all I worked on BRILLEBJØRN PÅ BONDEGÅRDEN for approximately three weeks, right after working on LOS BANDO for six or seven months (spread out over one and a half year).
Still, I get to say that I’ve had two feature film premieres in the span of five weeks, which is kind of fun.
ABOVE: Me trying to nail some accordion tracks. More photos from the LOS BANDO recording sessions here on my Facebook page!
BELOW: Brillebjørn himself helping me with the final mix.