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Tom Trago's soundtrack

About New Music For Found Footage

Tom Trago's soundtrack

24-08-2014 | 19.19

Music for Found Footage is a collaboration between Trouw and CineSonic, with EYE Film Museum as a partner in the first edition. In the forthcoming months, four artists will present their music, created for a selection of short films. Every night, a different artist will be responsible: Tom Trago, Legowelt, Shackleton and Wolfgang Voigt. Tom Trago is the first one up. I spoke with him about music  (or sound) in films and his view on the night in question. 

"I’m bringing two musicians with me: Wieger Hoogendorp and Janneke Nijhuis. We’ve worked on a film project before. We made a soundtrack, let a cinematographer film and asked a scriptwriter to fit the pieces together, so in the order of a video clip. It seems fun to do it the other way around this time."

Have you seen anything similar before?
"In the past the Filmmuseum showed silent movies in the Vondelpark, and often invited a pianist to perform live music along. I used to go there with my jazz teacher. It was a beautiful experience each time."

Did you manage to prepare something for the night yet?
"We are going to put some stuff together, but not too much. Only a small basis per film. When you already program a lot in advance, you miss the idea of interpretation. It would be a waste not to add the influence of the club. That is very important, especially in a room like Trouw. I’m bringing a few synths, a vocoder, some pedaleffects, drumgear and a Fender Rhodes."

"There’s this documentary about Twin Peaks and the guy who made the music for the series – Angelo Badalamenti. He tells about a dialog between David Lynch and himself. How they manage to create such atmospheres with a Rhodes, its just… wow! Coincidently it’s also my first instrument, so that’s quite cool."

How often do watch films, do you have an obsession?
"No, music is my biggest obsession. I watch films often, every week I guess. But most of my time goes to sound by far. When I don’t really like the movie, I start listening to the music. I spend a lot of time in airplanes. You get to watch so many movies while flying."

Could you remember a certain film in which the music really stuck?
"Recently I was watching a commercial film with George Clooney in space, Gravity. I found the music very interesting. It was almost leaning towards sounddesign. In a situation like that, you could wonder when something is called music and when is it just ‘sound’? When music in films acts as a supporting role, and you barely hear it, that’s something fascinating to me."

Wouldn’t you just call that music as well?
"Yes, you could call it anything you want in my opinion. But I’d prefer not to call it music. Music exists out of several succeeding harmonies. Or at least out of something with a timespan longer then 10 seconds. Otherwise I would call it sound or noise."

Text: Ruben Leter