Enjoy this latest edition of 5 Questions with Hangman composer, Frederik Wiedmann!
1. Describe your latest soundtrack on Varese.
Wiedmann: The story of this film is rather complex. One the one hand we are dealing with the relentless serial killer and his victims, and on the other we are slowly learning about the dark past of both of our main characters (Pacino and Urban). So throughout the score, you will hear these 2 parallel threads weaving through the Album - the emotional decay of our characters, as well as the increasing horror caused by the serial killer, as his murders become more gruesome and personal. This is a thematic score, with lots of interesting sounds and melodies, that will hopefully truly represent the mood of the Hangman.
2. Did the director give you any interesting instructions or feedback?
Wiedmann: Johnny and I started talking about the film at very early stages. When I read the script I immediately had a sense of what this film will have to feel like. So Johnny and I brainstormed way ahead of the shoot on basic ideas on the music. I didn’t start writing much prior to post-production, but when we started we both had a pretty good idea on where we need t go musically. We looked at similar scores of other films in this genre (like Zodiac, Se7en), but made the determination that we have a much stronger emotional component in the film that the score cannot ignore. There is a rather tragic backstory of our 2 detectives that we slowly learn about, that really captured the emotional core of the story. Johnny and I spent a great deal of time refining this thread.
3. Which scene did you score first and why?
Wiedmann: I started off at the very beginning of the film since here we introduce Archer (Al Pacino), our protagonist. Whatever theme was introduced here would drive his story arch, so it felt like a good way to get started. The next theme I composed first before scoring to picture was the Hangman suspense theme - it reappears on every crime scene, and eventually in the end during the intense final scene.
4. What other soundtracks of yours were released on Varese? What does it mean to you to have you music released by this label?
Wiedmann: Varese will always have a very special place in my heart - mostly because they released the score to my very first soundtrack in my career (Return to House on Haunted Hill). I will never forget the faith that Varese put in me when they decided to release this CD. I will be forever grateful to Robert Townson and Varese. Since then I had 2 more scores released by Varese, The Hills Run Red (Dir. Dave Parker) and Hostel: Part III (Dir. Scott Spiegel). Varese had released Hostel I + II, so bring the 3rd one into the mix with this label made perfect sense. Hangman is a very special project for me, so I am beyond thrilled that Varese decided to take this one on as well - couldn’t think of a better home for this Album.
5. 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?
Wiedmann: A lot of the score features a standard orchestral palette. I did however use fair amount of solo cello, haunting solo vocals (by Ayana Haviv), and a heavy set of sound design/electronic elements, for a more modern sound. The orchestra ensemble was a 40 piece String Orchestra. I also spent a fair amount of time processing my captured recordings with all sorts of tools, to give the score more edge, and to make it more unexpected and eerie.