Richard Buxton talks with composer Jeff Russo about his foray into writing music for television, balancing his career between composing for film and TV with his band-work, how he came to write the score for the first season of Fargo and more.
RB - Having started your career in rock music, how did you find yourself composing for visual media, and was it a path you had considered taking before being presented with the opportunity?
JR - I was asked to play guitar on a score for a movie back in 2000. I really loved working to picture, so I thought "This is something I would love to do!" About 5 years later, when Tonic was on hiatus, I was talking to Wendy Melvoin about it, and she asked if I wanted to come into their (Wendy and Lisa's) studio to watch what they were doing. Soon after, I started working for them on various projects. That was my introduction to writing music for visual media. I had always loved film music, but this was the first time I thought about it as something I would like to do long term.
RB - The last few years has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of scores being written by musicians who have a professional musical background outside film music. What do you think that such composers can offer that those who have worked solely in film scoring perhaps cannot?
JR - It's just a different perspective. When you come from a completely different background than a classically trained composer, you'll have a totally different musical point of view. That's the thing that is so attractive about it.
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