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My Life In Soundtracks: J.J. Abrams
Exclusive: Hollywood's great and good on the movie music that defines them

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My Life In Soundtracks: J.J. Abrams

The first soundtrack I bought...

Airport '75 was one of the first soundtracks I bought. I used to go to a second-hand record store in LA called Disc Connection and buy these demos with holes punched out of the corners. They cost a couple of dollars because they'd been sent to radio stations as promos and then shipped back for sale. I'd go in with 20 bucks and buy soundtracks that had a composer I liked, even when I hadn't seen the film or had any idea what the story was about. I'd go home, put my headphones on, lie on my floor and listen to them, just looking at the artwork or reading the liner notes, and imagine what the movie was about. Years later, when I'd seen the movies, I discovered that I couldn't have been more off-base!

The soundtrack that most inspired me...

Jaws was an incredible soundtrack. It had such a primal quality to it, but the sequence when all the boats go out like a regatta has this incredible seafaring note to it. John Williams did so much incredible stuff, his score to The Fury for Brian De Palma stands out, but Jaws was something else. I remember listening to it as a nine year-old and finding it as scary and as intense as anything. Another of my favourites is Run Lola Run.

A soundtrack currently on heavy rotation...

I've been listening to Cloud Atlas - I'm a big Tom Tykwer fan - which is pretty cool. I always find inspiration in movie soundtracks. I listen to classical music and I also love to get lost in the subversive swirl of electronica. Michael Giacchino is unbelievable too. His score for Star Trek Into Darkness is crazy brilliant and what he did with the first 10 minutes of Up is preposterous.

My soundtrack guilty pleasure...
There are films I loved that had these weird scores, like Murder By Death, which was crazy good. One score I remember was from a movie called Rabbit Test directed by Joan Rivers. That had a really good score, but they never released it. I always wonder what that sounds like now.

The Greatest Movie Soundtracks - Empire's Music Celebration

Interview by James Dyer


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