Audiomachine composer Harry Lightfoot has always been captivated by music.
Once just a fan of beautiful score, Harry Lightfoot has gone on to compose music that can now be heard in anything from Star Wars: Rogue One trailers to McDonalds’s ads. We asked Harry a few questions to understand what inspires him and challenges him along the way.
What is your first memory of being captivated by music in film, television, commercials, or otherwise?
I remember hearing the score to Braveheart when I was young. I hadn’t seen the film but I remember being completely amazed by James Horner’s main theme as a stand alone piece. That was certainly the thing that sparked my initial interest in film composing.
Where do you find inspiration for crafting a new score?
It really depends on the score and what’s required. Obviously a lot of the inspiration will come from talking to the director and hearing their ideas and vision for the score. For the times when I have more free reign on musical direction I will tend to turn to musical greats for inspiration. Classic composers in all genres of music. Sometimes listening to music of a completely unrelated genre will spark some interesting ideas, who knows! Part of the fun is to experiment if you have the time. All too often though the deadlines are very tight which doesn’t allow for much playing around sadly!
Can you take us through one of your recent jobs – let’s say Beauty and the Beast – from start to finish?
This was a fun one to work on. I was asked to “trailerize” a cover of “Be Our Guest” by the wonderful Alan Menken. It’s not often you get sent the picture to work with, but on this occasion I had the full visuals to score to which was fantastic. The main challenge here was to pick the right tempo for the spot and get it to fully sync up to the picture. The spot came in two sections. The music requirement for the intro was for it to be slow, dark with ominous overtones. This proved a challenge as “Be Our Guest” is naturally a rather jovial and upbeat track! In the backend of the spot, the tempo ramps up and they wanted to hear the full melody play into an exciting finish, hitting all the key classic trailer sync points.
What has been your proudest professional accomplishment to date?
Hearing my track “No Retreat, No Surrender” on the trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One. That’s going to take some serious topping!
What part of composing most challenges you?
Every job is different and each comes with their own set of unique challenges to overcome. For me it’s half the fun and incredibly satisfying to make even the most complicated job work. The main thing that I struggle with is the solitary nature of the job. I’m sure a lot of composers can relate to this but no one seems to talk about it. Spending hours upon hours alone in the studio with no one to bounce ideas off or share thoughts with can be really tough after a while. It’s a very tricky thing to get right because I find composing so completely addictive and yet recently I’m learning that to compose and produce effectively and efficiently, it is hugely important to regularly break away from the studio environment, spend time with friends and family and have fun whilst not talking about music! I find that in doing this my work improves and I love doing my job even more. I think this is a crucial lesson to learn for all aspiring composers. A well rounded life style makes for a better composer!
What are you working on now/next?
Well there’s so much happening behind the scenes with Audiomachine. I’m thrilled to be involved in many of the upcoming releases as well as working on some very exciting custom trailer jobs. Audiomachine have kept me very busy this year, watch this space…