By Jim Beard and Ryan Penagos Following up on our story on the iTunes debut of music from Marvel's animated films, we tracked down composer Guy Michelmore to answer some questions about his work, influences and what he's working on next.
And at the end of the interview, head down and check out a few sample mp3s we snagged from the films!
Marvel.com: Who are your film composer inspirations?
Guy Michelmore: I think every composer working in commercial films draws on landmark composers like Bernard Herrmann, John Williams, Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer, all of whom have taken the genre forward in their own way. I'm a big fan of John Powell and Harry Gregson Williams who are both at the top of their game at the moment. Ennio Morriconne is one of the greatest living film composers, "The Mission" was a huge achievement. Most composers have also been influenced to some degree by minimalists like Steve Reich, Phillip Glass and John Adams.
Marvel.com: Are you yourself a comic fan? Do you read up on the background material before composing?
Michelmore: I wasn't when I was a kid but I am now and yes I look at the comics when I'm getting into a movie. Many of these animated features are very close to the spirit of the original comics and so I try and draw some inspiration from the source material.
Marvel.com: Which of your Marvel scores has been the most satisfying for you?
Michelmore: In a way "Dr. Strange," as he is not the classic super hero. It was very nice to work on a blank sheet of paper as he'd never come to the screen before so he didn't have a "sound".
Marvel.com: Which of the characters was the most challenging for you to capture with music? The easiest?
Michelmore: Captain America was quite tough as he was a '40s man in a future world. Strange was hard at first, Iron Man just came straight away as did Black Panther as I have done a lot of work with African musicians in the past so I could draw on that.
Marvel.com: How do you want viewers to "get" your scores? Should they be subconscious or on a higher, more direct level?
Michelmore: Like all movie scores, they are the servant of the greater project and if it makes the film work as well as it can then that's it. The scores themselves I think really stand up by themselves and they are quite epic and uplifting I hope.
Marvel.com: What parts of the Marvel scores did you like best, as far as action scenes, character-defining, quite moments, etc.?
Michelmore: The first film, with Hulk going mad was great as it was the first big action scene I scored for Marvel and it sort of set the tone. The Mothership battle in "UA2" was great, Iron man whooshing out of the volcano, Lee May's theme in "Iron Man" and all the '40s stuff in "IM." Dr Strange's main theme I really like and the cue where he walks off into the snow is really great.
Marvel.com: Tell us a bit about what you're working on now and what Marvel project you'd LOVE to do.
Michelmore: I've just finished up with "Dr. Strange" and I am now on a 52 part series for Discovery Kids called "Growing Up Creepie" which is hilarious about a girl being brought up by a family insects. There's a LOT coming up in the next year or two. I love the animated features but I would also love to do some more live action again.
Until 4 years ago I hadn't scored a note of animation, so I would love to do a Marvel live action movie, particularly maybe the lesser known characters who haven't yet had their personality and sound defined.
Listen to: "Hulk Loses Control" from the Ultimate Avengers soundtrack
Listen to: "Mothership Battle" from the Ultimate Avengers 2 soundtrack
Listen to: "The Volcano" from the Invincible Iron Man soundtrack
Listen to: "Dr. Strange Main Title" from the Dr. Strange soundtrack