Over the past ten years, television has become a major creative medium for composers. Shows like "Lost," "Taken," "Alias," "Games of Thrones," and "House of Cards" are blank canvases that allow composers to create a type of music that not only showcases their talents but also captivates the viewer.
Composer FM Le Sieur has had his fair share of success on SyFy's hit series, "Being Human." The show's score, written solely by FM, shines through the improbable and provides dramatic depth to each scene. FM provides a great musical puzzle within each episode of "Being Human," by finding not only the right tone, but the right notes that make each moment memorable.
FM candidly shares with me what it's like to work on "Being Human," his process for composing for the SyFy series, his personal favorite characters that he has scored and what it's like to work in his homeland, Canada.
Please tell the readers about what made you first become interested in music and what led you to your career path as a composer.
FM: When I was young I took piano lessons. After about a year of that, I fell in love with the electric guitar, and decided to stop my piano lessons. I then became obsessed with making and writing music. I joined a band and I studied music briefly at University, where I met a cinema student who asked me to score his short film. From then on I never stopped writing music and it lead to working on TV shows and movies.
Let’s talk about your recent work on the Syfy series “Being Human”. How did you get involved with the series?
FM: The showrunners Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke had a pretty good idea of what they were looking for in a musical score for the series; something that gave it an urban sound. After meeting with them, and writing some music for the series, I submitted a couple tracks and they liked it! Two of my original musical sketches that I submitted to them ended up becoming Aidan’s theme music and the “compelling” theme music.
Did the musical themes come to you naturally as you were watching an episode for the first time?
FM: I wrote a few themes for the series before I even received the first episode. When I finally saw the first episode, I found myself writing even more themes for characters like Sally and Bishop. I even began writing themes for the friendship in the series and the bonding of the three friends. There were a lot of great characters and stories in the series and writing music for it all came very naturally.
Did you often collaborate with the showrunners or episode directors when writing the music for the series or particular episodes?
FM: I did collaborate with them at times – in most cases when I needed to know what kind of emotion or mood this character has in a specific scene. They would also brief me on the arc of the story for some of the characters, so I could foresee what was coming and write the music accordingly.
How did themes you wrote, either for certain characters or a whole season, change over time from season to season?
FM: There was a natural shift that happened after the second season. You realize that the textures or variations you used for a specific character can now be used in an even bigger way. For example, I first wrote Bishop’s theme with an exotic flute, but at the start of Season 3, I began to write other melodies with the same instrument to underscore the underworld and mafia side of the vampire society.
Do you write and record all the music from your home studio?
FM: For “Being Human” I recorded everything myself in my studio, but for feature films I go to larger studios where I can record with larger ensembles.
How much musical score could we typically find in each episode?
FM: On average there is about 40 cues or 35 minutes of music per episode.
Which character on the show did you most enjoy writing the music for and why?
FM: I liked pretty much every character throughout the series, but in the last two seasons I would maybe say Nora and Sally became my favorites to write music for. Their characters went through so many changes. I also really enjoyed the flashbacks to Aidan previous lives.
Did you have a character that harder to write music for?
FM: Princess Suren from Season 2. She had to be sneaky and we had to feel her power in the vampire hierarchy, but also feel the fragility that also came with her character. It was a beautiful challenge.
Let’s talk about the soundtrack album that was released. How did you go about choosing with songs would go on the album?
FM: I had a lot of music that I found fun to listen to, but when putting a score album together you have to keep in mind that this music was written for scenes with dialogue and action. Listening to it on its own is very different. I wanted to concentrate on characters or scenes that were meaningful to the fans and how much those songs are nice to listen to with your eyes closed
You’ve garnered a lot of success in Canada with your multiple award nominations and wins with five Gemini award wins and four additional nominations, one Genie award nomination, and three Jutra award nominations. In comparison to working on a lot of French and French Canadian films and television series, what do you find that’s different about working on these projects than those for U.S. audiences?
FM: I actually grew up watching a lot of American movies and television, which is very different from French movies and television. In the French world both movies and television shows have so much more dialogue, so you have less music to write in a project. In U.S. there is a great tradition of music in movies and TV!
Is there a certain film or television series score that has had a major influence on your career?
FM: As a kid, I loved the movie “Lawrence of Arabia,” and also movies like “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.” Then TV shows like “Hawaii 5.0” up to the more recent series “Six Feet Under.” I was also heavily influenced by composers like Bernard Hermann and Danny Elfman.
Please tell the readers about your future upcoming projects.
FM: I am just finishing a French-Canadian movie. It’s a comedy-drama call: “Le Vrai du Faux.” After that, I will score a science-fiction movie starring Molly Parker from “House of Cards.”
"Being Human" airs on the Syfy Network. Check out the shows official website @ http://www.syfy.com/beinghuman for episode summaries, downloads, videos and cast bios.
Please feel free to visit FM's official website @ http://fmlesieur.com
Here's FM Le Sieur's Bio:
"FM Le Sieur is a celebrated musician and composer who has been nominated for every major award for television and film music in his native Canada, garnering five Gemini award wins and four additional nominations; one Genie award nomination; and three Jutra award nominations. Having established himself as the leading Québécois composer, American audiences were recently treated to his work on Syfy and Muse Entertainment’s "Being Human.”
Having just wrapped up its fourth and final season, FM’s “Being Human” music underscores the hour-long fantasy-horror show about three twenty-somethings who share a house and try to live a normal life despite being a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire. FM’s music on the show exemplifies his eclectic tastes – which range from British pop to Stravinski to Italian and Chinese folk.
In cinema, it was hard to go to the multiplex in Quebec recently without seeing FM’s name in the credits. He scored three major films that premiered in 2011: drama “Frisson des Collienes”; hit-comedy “A Sense of Humor”; and biopic of Quebec rock star Gerry Boulet, “Gerry”, for which FM took on the daunting task of remastering Boulet’s original tracks, as well as coaching leads actors on their music performances.
FM’s career has spanned over fifteen years, and his other work includes Tony & Ridley Scott’s series “The Hunger” starring David Bowie; the films of Alain Desrochers, his long-time collaborator, beginning with “La Bouteille”; and television series “Tu m’aimes-tu?”, “Musée Eden”, “Nos Étés et Music Hall”, “Les Soeurs Elliot”, “Les Bougon” and “Charlie Jade”, an international co-production filmed in South Africa.
A Montreal, Canada native, FM began improvising on the piano as a child. He continued his studies at McGill University, where a master class with Philip Glass inspired him to consider a professional career in music. At the same time, he joined the band Tango Tango, with whom he won the 1989 contest L’empire des future stars, cementing FM’s path as a professional musician."