Red Bull Music Academy AUGUST 29, 2013 - by Gemma Lacey


We talk film scores and more in the second part of our interview with the electronic producer.

Jon Hopkins' lush soundscapes have always had a cinematic quality to them so making soundtracks for the silver screen seems a natural progression. In the second part of our interview with the man, who we're tipping for a Mercury Prize nomination, we find out how he made the transition and how he operates in the studio.

Is scoring films something you've sought out or did it happen quite organically?

"I think it happened because my first two solo albums didn't really do much. The first one got me some good licenses in TV and stuff, so I was able to live off it long enough to make the second album. But the second album didn't do anything, so I had to look beyond solo music. I started thinking, 'Shit, am I going to need to start learning to be a producer?' So, I met King Creosote and started producing with him and that lead to me getting a bit of experience. When Brian Eno asked me to work with Coldplay, I'd had some experience by that point and it added a lot.

"The film thing was always something I'd dreamed of doing when I was a teenager, particularly. I didn't really know you could be a solo electronic musician, that thing didn't exist for me much back then, so film music was a dream for me. My stuff naturally has a film-type sound to it, that's why I think I love it."

Do you think you're a visual person, as well as a music person?

"I get asked that, but I hear my music as fully abstract. I don't see visuals with it, apart from maybe an abstract 3D structure, not actual places or anything. But, people do when they hear it, which is great. It just naturally is that way. When I released my third album, Insides, it happened to be noticed by some film people and they got in touch, and that's how I did my first score."

Is there anything you'd particularly like to write a score for or anyone you'd like to work with?

"I've never really thought about that. There are obviously directors I'd like to work with. It'd be great to work with David Lynch or someone like that... obvious ones. I'm an enormous Twin Peaks fan. You can hear it in the music, it's in there somewhere. I did a remix for him, so I got the experience of meeting him. He hasn't made a feature film for a while now [2006's Inland Empire], so it might not happen, but you never know."

For some people, being in the studio is quite a torturous process. Do you find that you produce a body of work quite quickly and refine it afterwards?

"Yeah, that's exactly it. I spend a long time refining because I find that satisfying, but the core of the track is written in the space of a couple of days, maybe. I like to make it sonically interesting. It's important to me to capture the energy of the first ideas, capture all the feelings that you have that day and get the essence of it. Any amount of refinement, as long as you're careful, shouldn't overwork it. If you keep the ideas you had then that spark of life will still be there, hopefully."