‘Your job is to solve problems, if you create more problems, you won’t get the work’ was the frank, but sound advice from Grammy-winning film composer, David Arnold, during a recent masterclass with BIMM tutor Adam Coombs.
The esteemed musician has written scores for several Hollywood blockbusters, including five Bond films, Godzilla and Independence Day – for which he won a coveted Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. His work has also featured in several period dramas and British TV shows, including the hit comedy, Little Britain.
David has also collaborated with a long list of musicians and directors, including Pulp, Kaiser Chiefs, Garbage, Massive Attack and Danny Boyle. Eager to learn more about his illustrious career, Adam quizzed the Luton-born producer about his body of work, including his big debut with Björk on 1993’s cult indie flick, The Young Americans.
In response, David – who met the film’s director Danny Cannon while studying at Sixth Form – entertained our audience with one of many fantastic anecdotes. On this occasion, we heard how he dropped a demo tape round to the Icelandic star – his neighbour at the time – who later obliged. The result was a UK top 20 single for “Play Dead”.
And it was this opportunity that led to his work in LA, with Stargate director and collaborator Roland Emmerich. Excerpts from the aforementioned film’s composition still rank third in the most commonly used cues for film trailers, which is testament to his skill, mastery and the timeless nature of his work.
David – who is heavily influenced by orchestral classical music and experimental electronic sounds – also took the opportunity to share his advice for a successful career in music. He urged our students to forge relationships with filmmakers; stressed the importance of being reliable; not having an ego; and to find a sound that is unique.
Commenting on the brilliant session, our host Adam – a multi-instrumentalist and composer himself – said:
“Meeting David Arnold, a world professional composer was a real treat for the other students and me. He discussed navigating the world of film composition in a frank and honest way, which gave the students an accurate insight into the industry.”
David Arnold’s masterclass was insightful, inspiring and filled with highlights. He is a legend in the world of film and music, and we’re confident his advice on making valuable industry connections will stand our students in good stead for the future.
Thanks again for dropping by, David.