5 Questions with Tim Jones and Vik Sahay of CHUCK

A special double-edition entry of “5 Questions” as Varese chats with both composer, Tim Jones, and actor, Vic Sahay, in conjunction with the long awaited release of the Chuck Soundtrack.

Q: Describe your latest soundtrack on Varese.

Tim:  Chuck was a spy adventure comedy.  The score covered a very broad range of styles and instrumentation.  I wrote a main spy theme for the show, and I wove throughout the series in many different guises.  Most of all, I was going for a sense of fun in the music.  The characters were quirky and interesting and I tried to capture that in the score each week.

Q: Were you given any interesting instructions or feedback in creating the palate for Chuck?

Tim: The show was really a hybrid of many different genres.  My instructions were to bind them with a score that would bring together all the disparate elements.  I was given almost carte blanche in choice of instrumentation.  Nearly every episode saw the introduction of a new sound or feel to match the action. It was a great deal of fun to write because it never got dull.

Q: Can you describe how your involvement in the Jeffster storyline came about?

Vik: Well, initially, it came up as a wee subplot for me and Jeff, in us wanting

To play at Ellie’s wedding. Once we had done a song or two, we performed at Comicon and i feel like that really “made” it. Something happened there that is very hard to describe. Beauty and mania.

Q: Were you a singer before Jeffster, or is that your performing debut?

Vik: Not a singer, then or now, by my own estimation. Though I had been cast in a couple things where I had to sing. It has always terrified me, truly. Maybe in a past life I was some kind of singer who got shot by a fan. I dunno.

Q: Were you involved in the selection of songs?

Vik:  I’d put my hat in the ring, make suggestions. But Mostly, they just picked, and I think picked great. The only song I picked was ‘Fat-Bottomed Girls’.  I love how we kind of did one of every genre. Rock, folk, soft pop, hip hop…no brand whatsoever, just fans themselves, really. The songs they love.

Q: Which scene/episode did you score first and why?

Tim: I wrote a 5 minute piece of music around a :45 piece of temp which was later replaced.  They were editing the picture, and needed something to expand on the only feel that was working.  Eventually, my piece was cut into a large action scene in the beginning of the pilot.  For those that know the show, it was Bryce Larkin’s escape from the intersect room (track 1 on the CD I believe.)  At the time I wrote it, I didn’t have picture or even know what show I was working on!  So initially, that first piece wasn’t technically scoring, but it ended up being a big part of the sound nonetheless.

Q: What kind of ensemble did you use to record the score?  Did you use any interesting or unusual instrumentation or soloists who deserve a shout-out?

Tim: The score was a wide blend of acoustic, synth and ethnic sounds.  One person I love working with, is Steve Tavaglione.  I don’t think I have ever worked with a more purely creative person.  In addition to being an amazing, tasteful and intuitive player (Woodwinds, EWI), Steve created some truly brilliant sounds with his electronic rig.  His sounds and textures inspired me to write some of my favorite music from the series.

Q: What is your favorite Varese title in your collection?

Tim: ‘Rudy’ by Jerry Goldsmith.  Just a perfect score in my opinion.  We miss you Jerry.

Q: What is your favorite Jeffster moment?

Vik: Too many to pick from, but today I’ll say: When Lester was having massive stage fright and Jeff talked him down off the ledge.

Q: What is it like revisiting Jeffster now?

Vik: Sweetly surreal.

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