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netribution > features > interview with daniel biry > page one
Daniel Biry, Film Composer and fellow Peeping Tommer(!?) was kind enough invited me to his top floor studio/flat just off the Camden Road in the middle of the week for this interview. Its an area of refreshing architectural beauty but which is, perhaps, marred by the unsavoury youth element that reside between Daniel's area and Yorke Way a mile to the north. Anyway. He prepared a cup of grand coffee while we chatted at length about copyright issues in film and music (which was sadly never recorded) before we began the interview proper in his immaculate living room, complete with one of those vast round glass tables from another era. I prefer to conduct these interviews in a neutral location because the environment somehow deals with the insecurity that my dictaphone emits like cheap perfume. On this occasion the little pariah out did its previous unsettling best by a length. I can only sympathise with the interviewees who rarely take their eyes of it for the first five minutes while I try, mostly in vain, to make them feel at ease with the process. After a time though, we managed to cover some good ground on an area of the industry I was largely ignorant to and ended up shooting the breeze about computer games!Daniel runs a company called London Cinematic Composers (LCC) which is, essentially a group of musicians and composers trying to encourage networking in the industry, both for their own careers and for others an area of the industry that is largely underrepresented. The company has a website that offers advice, information and which seeks to answer the questions that seems to have held back film composition in the past. In the interview Daniel passed on some good tips for young musicians, advice for filmmakers on the nature of film composition, related a charming anecdote that Peter Ustinov once told him and gave me some startling news on the gender of one of my favourite film composers! Information on LCC and the website follows the interview.

| by tom fogg |
| photos by tom fogg|
| in london |

How do you see your position as a film composer?
The hope is to continue working with the internet, develop the site to improve networking in the industry and to let people know who we are, and at least to offer opportunities for good musicians that I know to get people listening to their music and the chance to get in touch with filmmakers. But musicians are generally a bit slow with this.

Why is that?
That's a good question! I don't think they know how to use the web yet or feel comfortable with it. For now, they are only getting to know each other through word of mouth at the lowest level and also at places like Peeping Toms, universities and film schools.

So tell us about your company and why you started it?
It started at a student level at the film school section of Westminster Adult Education Services, its a 15 month course on film music, there were 6 or 7 of us who decided to promote ourselves with brochures, then we made a video and we started the web site. So it was just to get some exposure but now we are trying to make the site as interesting as possible for our target audience, on one hand there are the filmmakers and the other are the composers, studio owners etc. We offer resources for composers, information for filmmakers and we try to attract as many composers as possible in order to provide a wider choice for the filmmakers looking for them. Its a very confusing area for filmmakers, what we do is very unclear and generally, filmmakers know everything about the filmmaking process but film music is very mysterious for people who are not musicians. They can have basic assumptions but don't realise why music works or doesn't work in films, but its actually very clear, there are real facts and its not imagination or luck.

So what are these facts?
On the site we have a frequently asked questions section which has an outline of the functions of music in film. There's mood music for ambience, then there's emotional music for individual characters, then there's source or diegetic music and then there is non diegetic underscore. So you can manipulate the mood and the story as well, you can inform the audience of imminent danger and then deceive them. One of the best ways to see how one can use film music is in ET by John Williams, its like a text book on total control and professionalism. I don't like John Williams or Spielberg for that matter, because I don't like the way he writes music, I prefer Jerry Goldsmith (Alien, Chinatown, Basic Instinct etc), the classical Hollywood composers and also Gabriel Yared who composed the score for The English Patient. John Williams is very good though, again ET as a character has its own melody, he's very efficient. An example of success and failure is Goldsmith with Verhoeven with Basic Instinct, then with the same scriptwriter, Verhoeven used Dave Stewart for Show Girls. I like Eurythmics but he is not a film composer and, I think, the music was a failure in that film.

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