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David Holmes On The Making Of Out Of Sight
'I watched the film... the music was all over the shop'

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David Holmes On The Making Of Out Of Sight


The phonecall about Out Of Sight came when I was driving down Sunset Strip. It was like something out of a movie. I'd never even been to LA before - I happened to be there for a gig - but it was the head of music at Jersey Films, Anita Camarata, on the line, asking was I was interested? They didn't even know I'd scored films before, they just really liked my album Let's Get Killed. So we met in a hotel room and she told me they were working with Steven Soderbergh and that "he did sex, lies, and videotape". I was like, "I know!" So they put me up in this suite at the top of the Universal Hilton and I got the full-on Hollywood experience. I was picked up by limo, driven to the airport and got on a private jet with Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. This whole world was so new to me that I was just trying to keep it together.

I watched the film, which was overwhelming because the music was all over the shop. But there were certain key tracks that stood out for me: It's Your Thing and Fight The Power by The Isley Brothers, Spanish Grease by Willie Bobo, One Note Samba by Walter Wanderley and Ain't That A Kick In The Head by Dean Martin. There was a bunch of great music in there that worked together in this weird way, so my pitch to Steven was to look at the instrumentation of this music and from that create a score from what we already had. So the Rip Rip theme is heavily inspired by The Isley Brothers and the love theme was inspired Portishead's Roads. They asked me to demo, so I got my team together in my home studio in Belfast and we just jumped into it, trying to get a continuity that wasn't there before while remaining really true to this great library of source music.

With that and Steven's blasé approach to experimentation - which is one of the reasons why he's so amazing - it was just really fun and easy. Me and the players lived in the Sunset Marquis, the studio was in the basement of the hotel, where we did Ocean's Twelve too, and the bar was upstairs so there were a few parties. I was in my mid-20s in this city I'd never been to before, working on this really cool film and had been given a license to make great music. That's lost in Hollywood these days, where it's all become kinda predictable.

The Greatest Movie Soundtracks - Empire's Music Celebration

Interview by Phil de Semlyen

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