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Empire Meets... Hans Zimmer
From Going For Gold to Man Of Steel

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Hans Florian Zimmer has gone from The Buggles to Burbank in 30 incident-packed years. An inspiration for a generation of movie composers, he's on speed dial for directors of the calibre of Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott and Steve McQueen. The diversity of those filmmakers is testament to his sheer versatility and capacity for invention and reinvention. Abandoning Inception's 'BRRAAAMMM' motif to a legion of imitators, he's since decorated Rango, Man Of Steel and, most recently, 12 Years A Slave with his mighty compositions. He's also a thoroughly nice man who kindly agreed to take Empire through the key moments of his career to date.

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Hans Zimmer


"Let me tell you why I love Going For Gold. Going For Gold truly meant that I wasn't starving, and I could pay my rent and I could pay the electricity bill. If you want to be an electronic whizz-kid synthesiser composer there's nothing worse than when the electricity gets cut off, which kept happening to me frequently in those days for non-payment of bills. And Going For Gold, God bless them, they kept me alive!

TAFFIN (1988)

"I didn't know what I was doing. I had no idea! I ran into Pierce Brosnan a couple of years ago and I said, have we ever worked together? And then I suddenly went, 'Yeah, Taffin!' I was still Stanley Myers' (British composer whose work includes The Deer Hunter and My Beautiful Laundrette) assistant really. When I listen to some of those things all I do is shudder with embarrassment, but at the same time if I cut myself a little bit of slack I have to say yes, you've got to start somewhere and you learn. Hopefully I got a little better since then. At the same time all you can do is be grateful to people for giving you a chance and putting up with all the mistakes you make, all the obvious stuff that you shove into these movies before you learn to be a little bit more subtle about it.

RAIN MAN (1988)

Rain Man

Rain Man soundtrack "It was surreal to be nominated (for the Oscar) for Rain Man. The whole thing came about in a really surrealistic way: I'd done a small but really great English movie called A World Apart, and Barry Levinson's wife Diana had seen the movie and bought him the CD, and he loved the music and had temped it all over Rain Man. He was in London and I think it was 11pm, and there was a knock on my door because he had my address but he didn't have my phone number. There's this guy standing there going, 'Hi, my name is Barry Levinson, I'm a Hollywood director. Would you like to do this Tom Cruise/Dustin Hoffman movie?

At first I didn't believe that he was real, nor did I believe that this was ever going to happen, but eventually there was this aeroplane ticket so I went over to Los Angeles and saw the film. I didn't know my way around, I didn't know anybody there so the whole score was done in Barry's office, just a bunch of synthesisers and me. It was a very un-Hollywood approach, so to get the nomination was really strange. I just think they made a mistake! To them, 'German composer' sounds like somebody who's paid their dues, not a rock 'n' roller who's having a go at writing a film score. I think they thought I had toiled away on arthouse movies for 30 years. I just think it was all a big mistake, but it was really exciting!


True Romance

True Romance soundtrack "I grew up in Germany, and one of the things that was de rigeur in German schools was to do this sort of Carl Orff music technique, where all the kids were banging around on xylophones and marimbas and those that didn’t want to bang around had to play treble recorder. There is no sound worse than a whole classroom of kids playing out of time, really loudly, all blowing into treble recorders. They have no dynamic, it’s on or off, like piercingly loud or whatever. But there’s such an innocence about it, it’s such an absurd sound.

Tony (Scott) was making this movie which was so tough, you know, after Christian Slater goes and kills Gary Oldman and [Patricia Arquette] says, 'That was so, so, so...', and you think she’s going to say something terrible, and she says 'romantic'! There’s a childlike quality about it and all I kept thinking was what a dreadful, horrible, violent racket those marimbas were. But they weren’t really, so if you did something really really simple – it actually took me a really long time to write this thing, it’s a three-chord tune but it took me forever to make something that was that simple. I just didn’t think the movie was a movie that wanted an orchestra, and Tony loved it. He loved it whenever I would go against the grain. He lived by the motto “weird is good”.

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1 Hans Charm
Hans self deprecating charms always make up for producing a wholesale store of scores under his and his banner in RC related staff. Among some kinda interesting scores he has many that are flat out bad and not that inspired, and droning and non-musical and extremely repetitive. The Batman trilogy was the most droning unspired boredom of score endlessly repeated. But I suppose it goes with the malaise of lifelessness of the world that Nolan created, where even victory over the bad guys is tinted with depression and death and ennui, that is what the score sounds like too. Hans nicely admits that Days of Thunder is a terrible score. I cannot really believe Spielberg listening to Crimson Tide for 8 hours, and it was pretty much a rip off, or tribute perhaps to Basil Poledouris superior score to Hunt for Red October. Out of his camp of composers I would agree with Darren that John Powell is the superior, to Hans and all the others. Hans is a endlessly charming person in interviewMore

Posted by ado123 on Wednesday March 26, 2014, 20:03

My personal Hanz Zimmer fave. Kung fu Panda 2 with the criminally underrated John Powell. More

Posted by Darren47 on Friday March 7, 2014, 00:58

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