The maestro took some time to sit down with STARBURST to discuss Vangelis, music sampling and, of course, working with Fulci.
STARBURST: You’ve spoken in the past about how influential you believe Vangelis to be, and perhaps how he has never received enough credit. You’ve also talked about his style of keeping the same central theme running through a score. Could you talk about that a little?
Fabio Frizzi: The soundtrack I love so much is Blade Runner; it is my movie and one I’ve seen more than thirty times. Each time, though, I find something new – some new meaning or feeling. The music is perfect, a work of poetry. I love many musicians but here Vangelis was perfect. When I write I have one melody that is fundamental; something that you can remember. My search is always for that one interesting melody with one great harmony.
One of your scores, Stiamo Bene Insieme (Italian TV series beginning in 2002), features an incredibly catchy melody.
I’m happy to talk about this because for people like me, who write mainly for cinema, we never get to talk about our work on television. I’ve done so much on TV in the last fifteen years. For me, though, it’s the same as movies. You still have to do a lot of music, the process is the same, but with Stiamo Bene Insieme, I loved the story, about students living together. I am very proud of that music.
What you’re most known for is your music on Zombi 2, but the soundtrack to The Beyond is perhaps your most revered. Could you talk about your work with director Lucio Fulci?
My long relationship with Fulci is very important in my life. The Internet has now made those films and Fulci explode. No matter where you go in the world you find people who know those films and want to talk to you about them. Zombi 2 and The Beyond are the biggest two, though. Interestingly, we’ve just done a new and updated score for The Beyond which we’ll play live sometime soon. For the original recording, though, we had fifty-two songs! Not everything could go in the film which is why I wanted to revisit it. At the beginning, I’d never done a horror, though.
Why do you think directors and composers often have such a strong relationship?
What comes to mind first is Ennio Morricone and Sergio Leone. There were friends at school and throughout their life. For a moviemaker, the music is vitally important as it can change the sense of your project. If it works once, where the music and the movie go well together, then next time you work together again.
As someone considered a pioneer of electronic music, how proud are you that there are composers such as Mica Levi (Under The Skin) are still pushing the boundaries?
I have listened to Mica Levi’s score and it’s good. When I was younger, I was wilder and more experimental but now I’m older, probably not so much. Back then, every day there was something new; a new guitar or a new synthesiser. We tried many crazy things. With Mica, she is a sound composer more than a music composer, and it’s good to listen to new things. For me, I also listen to Bach or King Crimson for inspiration.
You say you were more experimental when you were younger so has your process for writing changed?
Everything is basically the same. Whether you sit at a computer or with a piece of paper, it’s still very similar. No matter where you are you can still compose if the music comes to you. You cannot do anything without a start, though. I love to work as I used to though.
Your music has been sampled a lot; what are your thoughts on that?
I think that you can look at everything in a positive or negative way. In Italy we have a phrase that means as long as they’re speaking about you, it’s okay. For me, it is kind of a symbol for success. Obviously, I’m happier if they ask first, either me or my agent, but I never ask for money as music is so difficult to make. On the whole, though, I’m always happy and proud.
For tickets or more information regarding Chills In The Chapel visit unionchapel.org.uk/events/29-oct-16-chills-in-the-chapel