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My Life In Soundtracks: Joe Cornish
Exclusive: Hollywood's great and good on the movie music that defines them

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My Life In Soundtracks: Joe Cornish

The first soundtrack I bought...

When I was eight I was under the illusion that I'd bought the 'Star Wars' soundtrack, but I discovered I'd actually bought some knock-off eastern european orchestra murdering a selection of Sci Fi Themes that happened to include Star Wars. I'm still furious about it. My first authentic soundtrack would have been 'Flash Gordon', on vinyl, circa 1980, from WH Smiths in Streatham. It was full of samples from the movie and I still know every word and can do all the voices and sound effects. Only in mono though.

The soundtrack that most inspired me...

I love John Carpenter's scores for Assault On Precinct 13, Halloween and The Fog. I love how minimalist they are, how much suspense and atmosphere he gets out of ticking percussion and riffs that can be played with one finger. You get an pretty unique sense of single-minded authorship when you're watching a movie whose script, direction and score all come from the same brain.

Soundtrack currently on heavy rotation...

I like to have soundtracks playing when I'm writing, so I make long playlists of mood-appropriate stuff. It's easier to get into the swing of the work each time you sit down to write if you're always listening to the same pieces of music. Kind of a Pavlov's Dog thing. Currently on heavy rotation are Vangelis' Blade Runner, mixed with Cliff Martinez's Solaris and a bunch of Frank Ocean.

My soundtrack guilty pleasure...

It's not really a guilty pleasure, but Riz Ortolani's score for Cannibal Holocaust is an unexpected delight. It includes a lovely jazz funk number called Drinking Coco which, given the title of the film, might not be the activity you think it is.

The Greatest Movie Soundtracks - Empire's Music Celebration

Interview by Phil de Semlyen


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