If there’s one thing that composer Cliff Martinez shares in common with Jesse, the nymphet model of “The Neon Demon,” then it’s that both are soft spoken while rocking peoples’ worlds. For Jesse, it’s becoming a sensation that drives LA’s fashionistas wild with desire as The Next Big Thing. For former Chili Peppers drummer Martinez, it was creating a sound of alt. rhythmic minimalism that changed the face of indie scoring with Steven Soderbergh’s “Sex, Lies and Videotape.” But if Jesse has the misfortune of attracting equally gorgeous, if far more twisted people who want to absorb the blonde essence of her corn-fed enchantment, Martinez’s sonic spell has had the far more fortunate result of attracting creative agent provocateurs – perhaps none more twisted than Nicolas Winding Refn.
Film Music Magazine
Martinez’s music is simplicity at its finest- melodies that don’t so much describe his characters’ emotions as opposed to hypnotizing them to open up their inner thoughts. Angelic percussion has provided the sense of “Drive’s” brutal getaway man seeking deliverance. Siren-like electronic wails became “Contagion’s” nerve-tingling alarms for viral Armageddon. Calming, pulse rhythms and icy strings were the anticipation, and anguish of modern relationships in “Wicker Parker,” while ever-tensing, ethereal melodies became a business kingpin trying to weave his way out of a murder rap in “Arbitrage.”
Now on a new episode of “On the Score,” the soft-spoken Cliff Martinez talks about how he’s kept a style that stood for a new wave of musical experimentalism into an approach that’s as fresh, and mesmerizing as ever as it makes bad behavior into a thing of strange beauty. -Daniel Schweiger
Listen to the full interview here.
Daniel: It seems that you’ve been a go-to composer for unconventional thrillers. What do you think it is about your sound that’s right for movies about corrupted characters?
Cliff: Perhaps being one myself is useful. I’d like to think that I do both “dark” and “psychological” well. When working with a story that is built around a potentially unlikable character, you need to fill out their interior well enough to want to follow them around from beginning to end. A degree of typecasting plays a role also. I keep getting asked to do these kinds of films and I suppose I’m getting better and more experienced at it.
Daniel: What do you think it is about your sound that brings a new generation of directing blood to you, especially LINCOLN LAWYER’s Brad Furman?
Cliff: I’d chalk that up to having scored a stockpile of Steven Soderberghs’ early films like KING OF THE HILL. Directors are discovering little-known gems like these years later. Brad was also a big fan of PUMP UP THE VOLUME. Talk about my film scoring childhood! I think that was a first for me. – by Daniel Schweiger
Read the full interview at Film Music Magazine