There are some composers you meet that just have a wonderful sense of humor and cheerful spirit. Those are the ones that are the most fascinating and exciting to hear them talk about the craft that they love so much. Composer Stephen Endelman is easily one of those composers whose infectious demeanor brings about a wonderful, calm and enthusiastic love of film for every project he takes on.
His latest project "Rob The Mob" for his best friend, Director Raymond DeFelletta is one such project that this love has brought about a great wealth of inspired music all around. Stephen is a composer who has written marvellous scores that have gone under the radar that include the underrated gay romantic comedy, "Jeffery", the traditional brilliance of David Mamet's "Redbelt", reinventing the video game wheel with "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li" and family romance in "Two Family House". Stephen could do it all and once he's inspired, his wonderful much could be heard to the moon and back thanks to that wonderful guided musical spirit within.
For this special interview with him, Stephen candidly shares with me his thoughts on "Rob The Mob", working once again with director and friend Raymond DeFelleta, his thoughts on writing the score and his involvement with the film from beginning to end. So please sit back and enjoy Stephen thoughts on his love of making music.
Your latest film is “Rob The Mob” starring Michael Pitt and Andy Garcia. Tell us about the film and what attracted you to this film?
SE: I love this film! What drew me to the film was Director Raymond DeFellittta. I love working with him because he tells real stories. I actually started recording while he was editing the film. So while he's editing, I’m writing and he would cut the film to my music. It was a great experience.
Your score is a wonderful throw back score. Tell us about the approach you took in writing the score for the film?
SE: I created three different beats. There is a love theme for the crazy love that they have for one another. Then for the robberies, it changes. For the drive to the robbery, I used the song “Love and the Gun,” that I wrote for the film. It is in both English and Italian with a big brassy sound. The third element is for the dramatic aspect of the story, where I incorporated a lot of percussion and strings. I recorded different sounds and even went to an actual prison and scraped and hammered away to create a concrete musical sound.
Did Director Raymond De Fellta have a specific musical plan for you in mind in regards to the score?
SE: There were no preconceived ideas to start, no temp score, just a blank canvas. The most memorable scene to me is the one in which Cathy Moriarty, who plays Michael Pitt’s mother in the film, pretty much tells him that he’s no good. It was a powerful scene. I wrote emotional music with string and piano elements. The music reflecting these two lost souls.
All told, how much music did you record for the film?
SE: 50 minutes. Raymond is so great about the music; we put a lot of work into it and gave it 150 percent!
Will there be an album released of this score?
SE: Yes, it’s available now on Lakeshore Records.
How did you put the album together?
SE: We have a variety of cues with three songs.
Which genre of film do you most enjoy working in?
SE: If I have to have a favorite, I would generalize it as movies with heart. Everytime I write something wistful, I’m yearning for more. Even with little films such as “Jawbreaker” for example, you have the opportunity to create something special.
When you score a film, do you do all your own orchestrations? Please tell the readers what an orchestrator does.
SE: Partly. I do the basic sketches and write the string sections and woodwinds for example, but I do have copyists that come in and help for the printed scores, write notes, etc.
What was the hardest film you’ve had to score to date and why?
SE: OMG! I’d have to say “Flirting With Disaster” directed by David O. Russell. He knows exactly what he wants and goes through every variation to make it happen. I was very cool with that.
Do you think movies have changed for better or worse since you’ve become a composer?
What is your favorite film score that you haven’t written?
SE: Once Upon A Time In America. It’s really brilliant operatic score.
What is your favorite film that you have scored to date?
SE: I don’t have one, probably more like four or five. Rob The Mob, The Englishman Who Walked Up A Hill and Came Down A Mountain, Red Belt… I’ve loved all my films. They’re like my children.
A very very special heartfelt thanks to Stephen for being so gracious with his time in talking to me. You're wonderful. Also special thanks to Albert Tello for arranging to meet with Stephen. You're a class act.
Rob The Mob will be released by Milllennium Media on both Blu-Ray and DVD on June 24th and is available for pre-order @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/Rob-the-Mob-Blu-ray/ref=%26%2574%2561g%3d%2562l%2575r%2561y%252d000%252d20?SubscriptionId=AKIAIY4YSQJMFDJATNBA&tag=bluray-000-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B00J5G1MWK&ASIN=B00J5G1MWK&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER
The soundtrack to Rob The Mob is available on Lakeshore Records @ http://www.amazon.com/Rob-Original-Motion-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B00J3CU0I8/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1398451842&sr=1-1&keywords=rob+the+mob
Please feel free to visit Stephen's official website for his latest and upcoming projects as well as samples of his excellent music @ http://stephenendelman.com/#music