These days, the music of Michael Giacchino and the visuals of J.J. Abrams are inseparable. But before he was a Bad Robot staple (and a Pixar Oscar-winner, for Up), Giacchino was best known for his work on the Medal Of Honour games, and was looking to break properly into movies and TV. “I got this email out of the blue from a guy named J.J. Abrams, who I’d never heard of, and it said, ‘Hey, I love your music, would you be interested in coming in to talk with me about the new thing I’m working on for ABC?’ And he briefly mentioned he wrote Regarding Henry and a few other things. I thought it was a joke from one of my friends at first!” But after a whirlwind meeting with Abrams at the Alias office, Giacchino was convinced to jump aboard. And he never looked back — the pair have since formed a close bond. So, perhaps he can finally dish the dirt on the man? “There’s no evil J.J.! The furthest you can go is,
I look at him as a brother and, like all brothers, we fight about stuff. But in the end, family trumps everything. And that’s a huge reason why we’ve all been working together for so many years.”
The close working relationship feeds into the music, especially given Abrams’ own musical leanings. “The great thing about him is, even though he can do all this stuff and has a great knowledge of music and loves doing his own thing with it, he doesn’t impart that on me in anyway; he gives me a lot of freedom to do it the way I want to. We make sure we have time prior to me writing to talk about the film, about the story and characters, about the underlying emotions. Because without that, we’re two separate entities and you don’t ever want to approach it like that. We’re then constantly talking on email and iChat or texting, so if I have questions, I can ask. A lot of our discussions have nothing to do with music, they have to do with emotion because the better I understand that, the better I can do my job.” At the time of talking to Empire, Giacchino is about to start recording the score for Star Trek Into Darkness. And Abrams has already been announced as the director for Star Wars: Episode VII.
Could Giacchino be taking the baton from John Williams? “I’m a huge Star Wars fan, but one of the things that excites me most about it coming back is the chance to hear new John Williams music, not new Michael Giacchino music based on John Williams music. I’m excited to hear what he would do, so however it shakes out, it would be great.”