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How the composer of Deadpool and Mad Max scores movies

How the composer of Deadpool and Mad Max scores movies


– This is the first sound you hear on Deadpool’s original score. – And this is the actual synthesizer that played that sound. – And that is Tom Holkenborg, the composer of the Deadpool soundtrack. – This is the ARP 2600, used a lot on Deadpool for these kind of riffs to filter it up and to filter it down. – Its always been about the combination of electronic elements
with organic elements. – I remember saying to Tim Miller, when I finally had in my head what Deadpool was gonna be – I said, picture
Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Miami Vice, but then on acid. – That’s your, that’s
gonna be you’re score. (glass shattering) (cars honking) – Tom Holkenborg does
it all. Originally known for his dance music productions under stage name Junkie XL. – He’s a DJ and producer
turned film composer. – He’s (inaudible) in traditional
or orchestral composition – As he is in these racks of analog gear surrounding him. – And that’s what makes him
so appealing to Hollywood. – He has written the scores of major Hollywood hits like Deadpool, Tomb Raider and Mad Max: Fury Road. – Mostly from this California studio. – I love to uh collect instruments and I’ve been doing it
since the early 80’s and I never sold anything that I bought. – It looks more like a lab it looks more like um a spaceship if you will. – When someone thinks about film scoring, this is not the type of environment that they would imagine
a score being made in. – No that’s true, but it has a lot to do with the fact that scoring is not my background, my
background is actually being uh an engineer and
a producer in the studio and then later on a musician. – Back in the late
90’s, a curly haired Tom wasn’t thinking about film at all – Until he heard one of his Junkie XL songs used in a certain vampire movie. – Blade 1997 – No! Wait, your song is
during the blood rave? – Yeah and the fights after that. – It starts with a remix of New Order and then it goes into my track (screaming) – When you hear your piece of music for the first time in an environment where it was not meant to be – And yes, every music
can play in the film but I didn’t make it for the film – I made it for something else. – Then I was so surprised by how it worked that I really got interested in pursuing it myself and then in 2002 I decided to moved to L.A. And to really pursue this full time. – Tom explained that in
the old days of film, the score was more of an after thought. – So the old school way
of writing a film score was that technically, the
film was already done. – The work methods with computers has changed film scoring drastically. – Before that, directors would never hear the score until they
got onto the (inaudible) and they would hear the orchestra actually play it live for the first time. – So now since, 1984/85 directors are able to listen the score what its gonna sound like – So that was the big
major change for that. – Now, a composer would
actually get notes on the score – Sometimes you work on a movie where so what’s the process, you have three completely different endings of the same movie and at a certain point they decide which ending they want. – But you have to write for all of them? – Exactly, so it’s this
wouldn’t happen in 1960 – It’s usually not a two way street unless you work with visionary directors. – For instance that’s the case with uh George Miller that I did Mad Max with. – There was once scene in Mad Max this very emotional scene and I think I’ve attacked that scene I think
twenty, twenty four times and George kept saying
no it’s not quite right it’s not quite right and uh so we were really getting up to the deadline uh to get this music
approved for the first recording session. – So we recorded a couple of these pieces – One piece really resonated with the conductor and they
did two versions of it and they did it really beautifully. – And the next day, I
just slided one of those those recordings in underneath that scene – An George walked in and
he said “What is this?” – I said it’s one of these older things that you didn’t like and uh we just – And he’s like its beautiful – And then the music continued but then ran out of sync with the picture. – And then George said “We should continue this vibe longer” – And I said well I can record another one – He said “No no that’s not what I mean” “I mean the picture” – And so he immediately
ran back to his wife and they started making
changes in the picture, lined it back up with the music – I did then did changes in the music – Then they changed the cut and eventually he was super
happy with the scene. (dramatic music) – I play four, five different instruments – I play multiple bands and I’ve always been a synthesizer freak hence the amounts – But there’s also twenty drum kits and huge amounts of guitars,
self made instruments. (guitar strumming) – It still has a little bit of the sound – Tom doesn’t just play instruments he makes them, including this one he built for 300: Rise of an Empire. – He calls it the piano from hell. – I took a piano, I
hacked all the wood away so now you’re left with
what they call the harp. With just the strings on it – I turned the harp upside down. – I put a new enclosure around it – And now I put bass and guitar pickups in front of the strings and I play it with sticks and with mallets. – The reason why this screen is here for instance that low piano note carries like I think three to five hundred pounds of
weight on one string – So if it snaps it can
take your head clean off. – You’d probably had to have protection – Well yeah, when I play this thing – I actually wear like
a riot protection helmet with thick plastic that
takes it to the chest – So if it snaps, that’s
why I have this here – The pickups will take the signal and turn it into like a whole different quality of sound so it starts to sound way more like a bass guitar and a guitar. – Tom records the piano,
and then samples it like this – So I use this actually for Black Mass that gangster movie with Johnny Depp. – It’s so interesting, I can
hear that metallic rumble – Yeah, yeah – Are these altered at all
or are they straight samples? – This is straight recorded not even treated. – Were there films that were more difficult for you than others to find – Every film is difficult for me. – Sometimes in a day the atmosphere might turn into such a vinegar that the fact that you play one note – Like one note is already wrong even though you know that on any piece of music you need hundreds of single notes to make a music piece. – Yeah it’s hard every time. – How do you think film scorers will continue to evolve? – What do you think they’ll, they’re going to look like in the future? – I think film scorers will become more and more interesting as more and more interesting people will enter the field. – For the longest time periods especially from the sixties,
seventies and eighties it always felt like, there’s only room for film composers in this world that have a thorough understanding how the orchestra works, like John Williams or Jerry Goldsmith or (inaudible) – And now we’re having a very interesting mixed bag of people with such incredible backgrounds – Even though it’s going slow we’re seeing more and
more cultural diversity. – We’re seeing more gender diversity so it’s getting there. (heavy synth music) – Hey all, this video was brought to you by aloft Hotels. – Different by design. – Hope you enjoyed and
please like and subscribe. – Thanks for watching.

Comments (54)

  1. What’s your favorite original movie score?

  2. First one to comment after berge

  3. Love to see such informative videos

  4. Btw junkie xl have his own YouTube channel where he teaches you everything about music

  5. The best superhero show right now is "THE BOYS" on Prime Video.

  6. Geniuses like him behind the scenes make movies such incredible and absorbing experiences.

  7. Welcome to THE music lab 😊

  8. Super cool and talented guy!

  9. Deadpool 1 score was waaay better than the Deadpool 2 score

  10. Really hoping the Director's Cut of Justice League releases and it has Junkie XL's score like it was supposed to.

  11. The man, the myth, the legend. Love your scores Tom. Keep doing what you’re doing. 👍🇳🇱

  12. What’s that control surface he’s using that’s on top of that keyboard? (It’s at about 6:40 in the video.) Want!

  13. I love this series! So nerdy, but in the right ways. Please keep up the great work.

  14. Diggin' the green frames. Can someone ID them?

  15. his soundtrack for NFS pro street was awesome…

  16. To me Music is also Soul of the movie So all musicians are adding life to the movies ;
    They need much more recognition and appreciation for their work

  17. i literally saw dani daniels written there… 😛

  18. Dutch, German guy?

  19. Such an interesting video ! Loved it !

  20. Thanks for coming by!!

  21. Sound Designers and Engineers are highly underrated in pretty much every motion picture that doesn't get the accolades of Oscar or Globes. The craft that goes behind the scenes from personal experience is equivalent to having to birth, innovate and structure a completely personal life of a project and breathe the story full of unique characteristics Envisioned originally through creative sound and music.

    The Technological Advancements and the mixture of Analogue is pretty much the key in tapping the Retro colours of the glorious past of sound design, and Digital does not exactly reproduce what Analogue could in it's glory days, but technological advancements are pretty uplifting.

    Although, the biggest problem is the lack of recognition, payment and negligence over other "visual" mediums. Often 99% of people aren't aware that Music is what captures the emotions of a pixel. In this ever increasing awareness rift, it's only productive to raise awareness and money for people who are masters of this craft. We need more people like Hans Zimmers, John Williams, Brian Enos, Ramin Djawadis etc to give the pixels an aural colour and fill their landscapes with the essence of Humanity which is Music.

  22. X gonna give it to ya!

  23. Truly amazing piece, great insights into this artists life. Thank you so much!

  24. Dani! I love this!

  25. Mica Levi's work on Under The Skin was incredibly unsettling. Perfect blend of music heightening atmosphere.

  26. Amazing piece! Please make this a regular segment

  27. I can listen to this all day and then some.

  28. I love this channel!❤️

  29. This was fantastic.

  30. Is this going to be added into the 'Future of Music' playlist?

  31. Brothers in arms from mad Max is up there with the best of soundtracks ever. It's very dynamic, rhythmically, emotionally. It is truly perfect for what it is amd what it is supposed to be

  32. Hey The Verge guys, I love this new series! Thank you so much, looking forward to new episodes!

  33. John Williams will always be the king of movie scores. I will be amazed if anyone ever tops him.

  34. Eh? Vangelis called and wants his credit back.

  35. THIS is awesome! I loved every moment of this interview. Wow! Tom is so creative and brings an entirely new perspective of film scoring into the forefront. Also, gotta give props to Dani for producing such an engaging and informative interview – I'd really like to see more like this. Brilliant. Absolutely.

  36. Miss his big beat days…

  37. all I can see is how she got her boots all on his sofa

  38. Thanks a lot for content like this!

  39. Nice one loved it !!!!

  40. Instrument at 7:32

  41. Devil is in more than the details that's why war welcomes females ,or so many think

  42. Batman v Superman is the best one

  43. You make such amazing music. Your Batman theme always stirs me

  44. This guy made x gon give it to ya?

  45. Great insight! I’ve seen all or most of his YouTube stuff. Lol. He is incredible!

  46. "he is as versed in traditional orchestral composition" Hahahaha you HAVE too be kidding!!

  47. The inaudible part is "as versed"

  48. Surprised to see a lot of ART equipment in his studio. Kinda budget hardware, right?

  49. If you want to hear an epic score in a film check out the movie "Annihilation" wow just wow.

  50. Get your shoes off his couch!!

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