Hunter Vessel

That was one of the first pieces I wrote before I saw any footage, and [Matthew] asked me if I could do like aggressive ship music, that basically the baddy in the movie was the hunter, the hunter ship that hunts the whales. And I have to say he did mention Jaws.’ [laughs]

So this is like the baddy music ?

This is like the baddy music.

It was fun to write. Out of all the pieces in this project it’s sort of maybe the piece i probably would never have done for myself. I wouldn’t have sat down and said, "Okay, now I’m gonna be just a bit megalomaniac, now I’m gonna get twenty brass players and they’re gonna make a piece that’s like fifteen minutes and there’s NO singing in it." And you know, it was kind of liberating to have this other agenda.

And presumably it was all scored out for the brass players.

Yeah, that’s how I work most of my stuff. Now actually I’ve become very attached to a program called Sibelius, which you basically have it in your laptop and then you have like sheet music, and then you have a mouse and you draw the notes on the sheet music.

So yeah, I did it. And I actually recorded it twice, funny enough, because first I was being very, I don’t know what, over-ambitious or something, because first I recorded it with six oboes, and I wanted it to be like an oboe techno song. And we worked in a studio in New York and it was a sort of environment that maybe I was not too familiar with, and everything was done really really quickly because everything’s so expensive there.

And after I listened to it I just felt it wasn’t really me music. And also I felt maybe the oboe techno band was maybe more a great idea but maybe not good in practice. Or maybe I’ll have to work on that bit and maybe it will come later, but...

Maybe a b-side on a single or something ?

Yeah... [laughs]

I quite like the idea of oboe techno. [laughs]

But then I went back to Iceland, where I just always go when things get too foreign for me and got a brass section there, where it’s not like this professional classical situation where everybody, you know... But it’s more like you hang out for a day with the people and you just go to a studio and it’s not so expensive.

So I just hand them out the sheet music but with no sort of words that say, "no volume," and "no speed," or like expressive stuff. so they’ll play once through, and after I’ll hear it I’ll go, "Okay, bar 57, make that more like that." And so basically I will make the decision on the expression and volume and speed in the room with them.

Now, are you considering the picture at this point, or do you not know where this is going in the picture ? Is the picture edited to what you do, how does that work ?

Well it was very different from piece to piece. For example, the brass stuff I recorded first and then it was edited to after I had done it, because the brass stuff was just so rhythmic that it was actually ideal to edit footage to.

BBC Radio 3, Mixing It, 5 august 2005