First of all, why don't you introduce yourself to those of us who
don't already know you?
My name is Cory Perschbacher, and I compose music for films
and other media.
How would you describe your
overall musical style, and any musical genres/musical instruments you feel
particularly at home at?
I take on film projects of many genres, I've had to broaden my range of
musical styles. I try not to be too predictable in my music. I don't want
to have a certain "style" for each genre of film either. Each
film is different and deserves a score that is unique and exclusive to the
movie. I find that I change a little musically each time I work on a new
score. It's really a cool thing.
am most comfortable playing piano/keyboard, although I feel I am better at
drums and percussions. Oddly, I haven't done too much with drums in my
scores, but that's about to change very soon with some of the upcoming
How do you usually approach
writing a filmscore, and what do you usually have/would you like to have to go
on before you start writing your music, the
general idea, the actual script, the raw footage or the already edited
movie? And how closely do you work with your directors, producers and the
I just ask for the picture-locked version of the film
to work from. It's never fun to have to change the score around because a
second or so was cut or added to the part that you already had worked out
with precision. I work really close with most of the directors. It's
really their film and vision. I have to get into their heads a little. The
stuff I'm most proud of is the stuff where the director and I communicated
a lot, and were specific on details about the entire score. It is,
however, really fun to be given musical freedom.
like to get the know not just the directors, but the actors, producers,
editors, and such. I have met some really cool people who are going to
have or are having great success while I've been doing these films.
Do talk about
a typical Cory Perschbacher studio session for a bit?
don't have a particular routine, but I like to have at least 3-4 hours to
record, and no distractions. There have been a lot of different places
where I've recorded music. Many times I'm set up on the floor with just a
laptop, midi controller, one mic, and headphones, though most of the time,
I'm recording at a kitchen table or a very small computer desk. The main
thing I require to be able tap to into the right mood for the movie is simply
time. I may get right into it immediately, and I may not get into it just
right for an hour. That's why I like to have a few hours to work. After
sending a mock-up version of the film, it's time to record the musicians.
This part is awesome because it's when the authenticity sets in. Once it's
all recorded and mixed just right, it goes off for the director's approval.
got you into making music to begin with, and into scoring films at that,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
wanted to be an actor and a scientist in elementary school because of Ghostbusters, but I was too shy to perform in front of people, and science
seemed like too much effort to have to put into, so I spent time drawing
and playing the piano in my house. In high school, I got a four-track
recorder, and realizing that I can't sing well, most of the music I made
was instrumental. The desire to do music for film came to me almost the
same time that I started recording music in the 10th grade. The marriage
of music and picture is a wonderful thing, and I knew I wanted to be a
part of that as soon as I recorded my first song.
was far too shy to take lessons from someone for music as a kid, although
I did get training in audio engineering, and graduated from the Academy of
Recording Arts in Oklahoma City back in 2003. I use the skills I learned
there to this day.
read somewhere that your first filmscore was for a movie called Bikini
Vampire Babes - now what went through your head when you first heard
the film's title, and what can you tell us about this first experience of
scoring a movie as such?
I first heard the title from the director, Ted West, I immediately wanted
to be a part of it somehow. Originally, I came to Ted about photography
for my band, and found out that he was making a feature film. I had always
wanted to score a film like most musicians do, and this is how I got my
start in the industry.
a film was new to me, and I didn't really know what I was doing at all
when I worked on Bikini Vampire Babes. It was difficult because instead of
opening the movie in an editing program, I just let it play on a DVD
player while recording a piano track as I watched it, which made syncing
nearly impossible. It was definitely a learning experience. I didn't feel
like I was a composer really until the film I did after that called, The Unusual Calling of Charlie Christmas, which was directed
by Adam Hampton.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork since, and how do you think you've grown as a composer? Oh, and
do talk about some of your career highlights for a bit!
my first time composing for film, I have learned a lot, and every time I
do a new project, I learn more and grow musically. I understand the
dynamics of director/composer relationships and communication better each
time. The ability to tap into a certain emotion becomes easier and easier
as well as finding the right feel/mood that the director is looking for. I
still have a long way to go, though. I have so much to learn and grow
received two "Best Original Score" awards, one for Hunter
Perschbacher's Sparrow, and one for Mike Manero's The
Box: Emma's Journey. I never expected to get an award, and not just
because there are not too many festivals that have a category for
composers, but because there are a lot of excellent composers out there
with more talent, bigger connections, and better software and hardware. I
actually feel lucky to have the chance to score any quality film that
comes my way, and it feels like a career highlight every time I get asked
to work on one.
future projects you'd like to share?
There are quite a bit
of exciting projects coming up. Hunter Perschbacher's Return of
Hours, Choice Skinner's Alexus, Brandon Heitkamp's Disavowed and
Lonely Road, Tony Germinario's Death's Door, Sean P. Cunningham's
Stuart Brick's Stay At Home Dads, Adam Hampton's Rough
Cut, Alex Preston's Look Alike, and there are some great
stuff coming up from Shane Phebus, Mark Williams, and many more. I try to
stay as busy as possible.
I'm sure you've
also made music outside of filmscores. So what can you tell us about your
I have hours and hours of
solo music I've recored since 2001, but it's more for myself than anyone
else. It's like therapy for me. I'll show my wife and sometimes my kids,
but that's about all who get to hear my "mess-around" music.
I've also done music for commercials and local news channels. I'd love to
get into television more and perhaps video games.
Musicians who inspire you?
Elfman and John Williams are my favorite composers, but I also really love
Alan Silvestri, John Corigliano, James Horner, and Elmer Bernstein. Every
time I watch a new movie, though, I'm inspired a little by the score. I
guess I could say that I'm inspired by every composer that I've heard.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Batman (1989), and American Psycho are the three movies that I can put on
has always been my absolute favorite, though. It was wonderful as a kid
because by saying, "I ain't 'fraid of no ghost", I felt courage
enough to go into dark rooms. I remember being in the fourth grade, and
hearing someone saying that Ghostbusters was a comedy, which shocked me.
To me, it was a very serious film. I didn't understand the comedy aspect
of it until my teenage years, and even more in adulthood. It was the movie
that seemed to grow up with me, and change as I changed.
... and of course, films you really
I usually find something that I like in every
film, so thinking of a movie I deplore is very difficult. Sometimes, I say
I don't like a movie, but it always grows on me, and I end up thinking
it's not so bad. I'm sure if I thought hard enough, I could come up with
one that never grew on me, but for the most part, I don't have any movies
that I can't watch.
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
also on YouTube, Twitter, and all the other popular sites.
for the interview!