The Walking Dead composer shares somebut not too muchinsight into the upcoming season.
If the name is not familiar, it should be.
Bear McCreary has been scoring some of the best action/sci-fi shows of the past few seasons on television. Starting with "Human Target" and "Battlestar Galactica," McCreary is the main composer for Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and the iconic The Walking Dead. The composer was able to spend a few moments with the Messenger to share his thoughts on the upcoming season.
Topanga Messenger: A big theme for season three in The Walking Dead was escalation between the prison camp and those at Woodbury. How would you describe the theme for season four and how does that reflect in your score?
Bear McCreary: This season is more about long-form evolution character arcs, which I find to be very rewarding. Think of it like painting on a larger canvas. The payoff isnt only for the eighth episode but also for the eleventh episode. (Current showrunner) Scott Gimple is very precise but allows the freedom for the score to grow in different musical directions that therefore evolve into bigger musical ideas.
The Walking Dead obviously has a very ominous and iconic sound to it. How do you find new sounds to work with, within that palette?
I think its been an evolution from the start. Working on the pilot with (Original showrunner) Frank Darabont and that first season was about emotion, an exercise in restraint. In the second season, the group assumes no security. No score is truly the same. Thats how you keep it interesting for forty hours. The theme for season three was definitely about escalation but there is more to explore in season four. There is the Governors theme for example. It has this definite ominous sound that is the characters calling card, like Darth Vader. I kind of just stumbled onto it but thats room for exploration that leads to new things.
Youre also working on Marvels Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. What is the adjustment level going from something dramatic and intense to a show with a broader appeal?
Youd think it would be about striking a balance but, ultimately, no. There have been a lot of great scores already in the cinematic universe and I feel this is memorable in its own fashion. With a television series, there are more characters and more screen time and just so much more to play with. Definitely room for call and response in regard to sound. Im definitely thinking long term with the series but its certainly in line with the cinematic universe expectation with regard to style, humor and story.
What is your favorite film score?
Its more like three. Star Trek, for one. The main theme is so breathtakingly gorgeous and really does help carry the film. Conan the Barbarian, the original, is another. The melody is stunning and has beautiful orchestration. Its timeless, comes from the soul and every time I come back, it really moves me. To Kill a Mocking Bird is a fascinating listen for me still because it feels so modern. People dont realize what a game changer that was. Really, my lifes goal is to create one piece as perfect and timeless as that.
What has been your favorite scene to work on so far in season four?