Film composers are a fun bunch. There are very few that have a fun attitude of their projects and David Buckley is absolutely one of them. For those who don't know David's work, you have go back to 2007 when he helped his mentor and renowned composer Harry Gregson-Williams on Ben Affleck's powerful directorial debut in "Gone Baby Gone" which led to his first solo project on the wonderful and entertaining film "The Forbidden Kingdom", which featured the first team of martial arts legends Jackie Chan and Jet Li and then reteaming with his mentor on Affleck's even more enjoyable thriller, "The Town" which on Blu-Ray has three different versions all unique in their own way.
David has really made major strides with action films such as "From Paris With Love" and "Gone", he was given the now plum assignment of scoring the hit CBS television series, "The Good Wife" starring Julianna Margulies and Chris Noth which is now currently in its' fifth season and growing stronger and stronger as the seasons go by both musically and storyline wise. David's vital contribution to the series came after the third season where the show really changed direction and really took off infusing a memorable classical style that makes each episode even more dramatic.
For this very special interview with David, we candidly talk about his involvement with the show, compiling the soundtrack, going back to talk about his fondness for "The Forbidden Kingdom" and working with his mentor, Harry Gregson-Williams. So please sit back and enjoy reading this fun conversation with the very ultra cool, David Buckley.
Please tell the readers about how you become interested in music in general.
DB: I was brought up in a musical household. My mum was a music teacher, my sister played the violin and flute, and my dad, although not a musician, was a big fan of jazz. I joined a cathedral choir aged 9 and at that point I was basically a full-time musician - performing, recording and touring for 5 years until my voice broke. It was during this time that I had the amazing opportunity to sing on the soundtrack of The Last Temptation of Christ by Peter Gabriel, and I think the seed was planted at that point for my future career.
Let’s talk about your recent work on the hit CBS series “The Good Wife” starring Julianna Margulies. What got you interested in this project?
DB: I had scored a film a few years ago for Scott Free productions called “Tell Tale. It was an amazing experience for me as I got to work with Ridley Scott at very close quarters. Some years later, there was talk of The Good Wife (also produced by Scott Free) needing a new composer, and my mentor Harry Gregson-Williams (a long-time collaborator with both (Ridley and the late Tony Scott) put in a good word for me. I was lucky to be taken on as I had no experience of episodic tv nor it’s brutal schedule!
Did you have a specific plan as exactly you want the music to sound stylistically each episode you’re given?
DB: We discuss the sound of the series and then we further discuss the musical identity of each episode. The tone can vary a lot according to plot. Often, there are source cues in the show, and that might be a leaping off point for where the score will go.
How do you collaborate with each director on a particular episode?
DB: I’ve never spoken to a single director of the show! Unlike the movies I have scored when I would be dealing directly with a Director, on TGW it’s all about the show runners and producers. Robert and Michelle King are the show runners and creators of TGW and I am always talking with them about music. Also David Zucker, a producer at Scott Free, takes a keen interest in the music, and we frequently discuss the score. It’s a true collaboration between all these people.
Do you feel that your music has grown with each season that has passed on?
DB: Season 5 has a very different musical identity to all that has preceded it. Any viewer of the show will know that momentous shifts have occurred this season. Firstly the shattered bonds between Will and Alicia in episode 505, where Alicia breaks away and sets up her own legal firm with Cary, and then episode 515 when Will dies. These events alone suggested we should go somewhere new with the music, and for that reason I hit on an almost Baroque/Classical style for much of the score this season. That is quite a contrast to the more ambient approach from seasons 1-4.
Do you think there will be a soundtrack of your music for the series?
DB: Yes. It’s out now digitally, on iTunes, Amazon and other digital outlets! Do check out the samples online!
How did you assemble the album?
DB: It was no small task. I started by listening through to all the cues from the 100-odd episodes, and then I drew up a list of cues that I thought would stand up to an album presentation. I kept refining my list until I got it down to about 20 pieces. I then rearranged these cues, and re-recorded them with a good size orchestra.
Let’s go back in time a little bit and talk about your work on the critically acclaimed “The Town” directed and starring Ben Affleck along with a great cast featuring Jeremy Renner, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall and Blake Lively. How did you get attached to the project?
DB: Harry Gregson-Williams had scored Ben’s previous movie Gone Baby Gone. I had helped on this, writing a few cues here and there. When it came to The Town, Harry was facing a bit of a scheduling conflict, so he asked me if I would be interesting in co-scoring it with him. The answer was of course a massive ‘yes’!
Did you know right away what Ben wanted musically and did you fall in line with that as soon as you came on board?
DB: You never really know immediately. It takes time. Even though Harry and I had an idea of Ben’s sensibilities from Gone Baby Gone, this was an entirely different score. We were on the movie for quite some time and during those months you grow to know the director’s likes and dislikes and gradually the score emerges!
Do you enjoy orchestrating as much as you do composing?
DB: Yes! The term orchestrator means different things to different people. Although you will see that I have used an orchestrator on many of my projects, their job, for me at least, is to translate the piece from MIDI into score format. The arrangement, the orchestration, every note, has been created by me in the sequence. The job of the orchestrator, while not trying to diminish their contribution, is to take my digital version and put it into a format that the orchestra can play. In the old days, an orchestrator would probably have been handed a sketch of the piece by the composer and told to orchestrate it. That’s not how I work!
What is your favorite film score that you’ve written to date?
DB: The Forbidden Kingdom holds a special place in my heart just because it was my first solo scoring project. It was an action/fantasy/adventure score so I had the chance to be a bit larger than life with orchestra, choir, and ethnic soloists. It was a fun score to write.
Please tell the readers about your future upcoming projects.
DB: The next big thing is the Batman Arkham Knight game, which I recently co-wrote with Nick Arundel, a fine composer. I can’t say too much about it now as it’s all rather secretive. You’ll have to find out when it’s released, but it is great! And we’re talking about a soundtrack for it when the game comes out.
Very special thanks to David for the terrific interview and you are truly a class act. We have to do it again!!! Also very special thanks to Albert Tello for introducing me to this great composer in the making.
The latest season of "The Good Wife" will air Sunday's this Fall on CBS. Please visit the shows' official website @ http://www.cbs.com/shows/the_good_wife/
David's terrific soundtrack featuring music from the series is now available on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/ke/album/good-wife-official-tv-score/id890003044 and on Amazon digital @ http://www.amazon.com/Good-Wife-Official-TV-Score/dp/B00KMCN3AA/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1403304272&sr=1-1&keywords=good+wife
Please feel free to visit David's official website @ http://davidbuckleymusic.net/ for updates on his latest projects and sound samples of "The Good Wife"
The soundtrack to "Parker" is available from Varese Sarabande Records @ http://www.varesesarabande.com/servlet/the-1084/Parker/Detail
"The Forbidden Kingdom" Soundtrack is available on Amazon.com @ http://www.amazon.com/Forbidden-Kingdom-Original-Motion-Picture/dp/B001CHH71U/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1403304222&sr=1-1&keywords=forbidden+kingdom
"The Town" Soundtrack is available on Amazon @ http://www.amazon.com/Town-Harry-Gregson-Williams/dp/B003YJ8FSS/ref=sr_1_7?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1403304364&sr=1-7&keywords=the+town
Here is David Buckley's Bio:
"David is a British film composer who works and lives in LA. He has worked with many of the leading filmmakers of the day including Ridley and Tony Scott, Ben Affleck, Joel Schumacher, Rob Minkoff, Luc Besson, Pierre Morel and Taylor Hackford. Notable recent film scores include THE TOWN (co-composed with Harry Gregson-Williams), and THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM. He is also the composer for the hit CBS TV show THE GOOD WIFE, about to start it’s sixth season, and has recently provided the score for Infinty Ward/Activision’s CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS and the WB/Rocksteady game: BATMAN, ARKHAM KNIGHT.
David’s first involvement with film music was as a choirboy performing on Peter Gabriel’s score for Martin Scorsese’s THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. He continued his musical education at Cambridge University where he subsequently taught. After graduating, he moved to London and began a successful career writing music for TV shows and commercials. In 2006 David moved to LA to become an additional writer on a number of Harry Gregson-Williams’ scores including SHREK, GONE BABY GONE, FLUSHED AWAY and THE NUMBER 23. He has also contributed music to the video game, METAL GEAR SOLID 4, and the TV show, SHREK THE HALLS. In addition to his work for Harry, he has written additional music for Danny Elfman (AMERICAN HUSTLE, BIG EYES) and Hans Zimmer & Rupert Gregson-Williams (WINTER’S TALE).
David was recently honored as a BRIT TO WATCH by BAFTA and has been the recipient of numerous BMI AWARDS."