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TV Guide Online: Online Chat with Mark Snow

TV Guide Online
Online Chat with Mark Snow

TVGEN: Welcome to the TVGEN/Yahoo! Chat Auditorium. Our guest tonight is Mark Snow, composer of the X-Files and Millennium soundtracks. He also is the composer for the X-Files: Fight the Future soundtrack. Welcome Mark. We are very happy you could join us tonight.

Mark Snow: I’m very happy to be here and very excited about the upcoming release of the X-Files movie. And fire away!

Elderess27: Is the truth out there?

Snow: The truth is in the music and it IS out there!

Ctsufer31: Are you planning on releasing more music for the X-Files as well as music for Millennium?

Snow: It’s more likely that Millennium music will be out before new X-Files music.

Figr_Sk8r: I have been involved in orchestra music all my life. What kind of chance do I have in something like that?

Snow: Snow: It helps to be in Los Angeles and it helps to have some contacts in the business. If you don’t and still have strong feelings about it, you need a lot of guts and perseverance and you’ll find your way.

Jacie5andRock: How did you start composing for the X-Files? Were you asked?

Snow: I was one of 10 people up for this job. Chris Carter came to my studio, heard my music and left without giving me any indication what he thought. Then two weeks later I got a call saying I got the job. Which at the time was just another TV pilot. Little did we know it was going to be the smash cult hit that it is. It also helped that I was on the West side of L.A. because Chris didn’t want to travel across the Valley.

Summerof78: Hello Mark. I have the X-Files movie soundtrack and love it. What kind of differences will the movie soundtrack have and where do you get your ideas?

Snow: Assuming you’re talking about the TV show, the differences between the two are: The film score uses an 85-piece orchestra as well as electronic sounds, while the TV show is just the electronic stuff. That’s the big difference.

John_po: Have you been inspired by Brian Eno’s ambient work?

Snow: Yeah. The answer is yes. The minimal quality of that stuff has really inspired me, especially for season one and two for the X-Files.

Julie_silver: How hard is it to compose for La Femme Nikita?

Snow: I only wrote the theme and not the underscore, so it’s pretty easy.

Elderess27: Was it great working with an orchestra for the X-Files movie?

Snow: It was. I hadn’t done it in a long time, and in L.A. the musicians are so great that it was a thrill, and none of the X-Files producers or directors had ever seen me do that so it was an extra special kick for all of us.

Ctsufer31: Are you planning on doing the music for any other TV shows or movies?

Snow: Yes. Right now I’m doing the score for a movie called Disturbing Behavior from MGM which will be released around Aug. 7. It’s like a teenage movie with all unknowns but it’s very, very good.

Kristina_aus: What other TV shows have you composed music for?

Snow: As weird as this may seem, I did the music for Hart to Hart and bunch of TV movies and miniseries.

Agent_Y_98: Was “Blackwood” ever intended to be the real movie title?

Snow: No. That was a disguised name to keep the X-Files movie anonymous. When they sent tapes of the film to my house, it was always titled “Blackwood” in case some burglar stole them and told everyone what the movie was about. Blackwood was in the movie and if you pay attention, you’ll see Blackwood in the movie.

Adidaspigtails: Who is your favorite character on X-Files?

Snow: I really love Scully, because it’s been a thrill to see her grow and change from a little girl at the beginning of the first season to a very sophisticated, strong woman. And also Skinner, because he’s balder than me and all the women think he’s great.

Kristina_aus: How long does it take to complete the music to accompany an X-Files episode?

Snow: It takes anywhere from three to five days. Not a very fancy answer, but there it is.

Elderess27: I bet doing music for the X-Files, Millennium, and the X-Files movie really keeps you busy. How do you find time for it all?

Snow: In order for me to do all of that I have to be extremely disciplined and know that there is a certain amount of music I have to write to make these deadlines. If I get off schedule, it is real mayhem. I’ve been doing this for a long time and it helps having all this experience and working for all the same people, Chris Carter’s 10-13 Productions.

Ctsufer31: Why did you use Latin names for the music on the X-Files TV soundtrack?

Snow: The producer of that was my friend Jeff Charbonneau, who was also the music editor of the TV show. It was his idea to title the pieces in Latin just to be clever and more mysterious. I don’t know what any of these things mean, but as long as you like the music, that’s all that counts.

Adidaspigtails: What has been the favorite episode that you composed music for?

Snow: Well, seeing that there are over 120 episodes, it’s hard to pick out just one. But the show “Humbug”, as well as “Clyde Bruckman” and “Jose Chung”.

Elderess27: Are there certain restrictions made on your music by Chris Carter?

Snow: Not at all. If he has any comments at all it is usually “Let’s add some more music” or “Let’s add a ‘sting’ here.”

TVGEN: What is a “sting”?

Snow: It’s a musical accent when a startling thing happens. When something pops out of a closet or a frightening beat. Like the Psycho shower scene, the funny music is many stings.

Kristina_aus: Are you going to release another CD like The Truth and the Light?

Snow: There are no plans for any other X-Files music at the moment because the movie soundtrack is out, but maybe in a year or two or if this movie is a big hit, then the music for the sequel.

Kristina_aus: Chris Carter and Darin Morgan have guest starred in the X-Files. Will you also get a cameo appearance?

Snow: I hope so, now that the show has moved from Vancouver to L.A. I’d like to play a quiet psychopath.

Adidaspigtails: What do you consider to be the best piece you’ve written?

Snow: Well, the scene to the miniseries The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, as well as the X-Files episodes “Conduit” and “Redux 2” of year five.

DarkeningSoul: The Millennium score is so alluring and very different from the X-Files. Where did you get your inspiration?

Snow: That’s a good question. Chris sent over a Celtic band, and there was a violin in there and it was sort of a sad, melancholy sound that I thought would be really cool for Millennium. I wanted there to be hope for the future and horror and the violin is hopefully more of a sound of hope.

Jacie5andRock: What do you mean exactly by the title of “Stung Kissing”?

Snow: You’ll have to see the movie. It’s very obvious if you see the movie. It’s probably the most exciting moment in the whole movie. I can’t give it away.

Elderess27: Do you have any composers that inspire you?

Snow: Yes. The film composers that inspire me are Jerry Goldsmith, Thomas Newman, Ennio Morricone and John Barry. And Bernard Herrmann.

SRT3: If you had a chance, would you like to spend a weekend in the future or the past?

Snow: In the past. In Vermont, skiing all by myself and it was one of those magic moments when the sun was going down and I thought I could stay there forever.

Jacie5andRock: Did you have fun conducting a very large orchestra?

Snow: Yes, it’s a thrill standing up in front of a large orchestra and hearing that great big sound. Because the TV show is done at my home studio and being let out of my room to conduct a big orchestra was a big thrill.

Gidget88: At the San Francisco Expo, you mentioned having an Internet poll to pick X-Files viewers’ favorite musical selections from the movie, then releasing it as a CD. Are you still thinking about that?

Snow: Actually, it was from the TV show. It would be great to get a response of people’s favorite pieces. Then I’d know I would be satisfying most of the fans. It would be real fun to know what everyone really loved.

Elderess27: Did you get to attend the X-Files movie premiere, and if so, what was your reaction to it?

Snow: I did attend and it was fantastic fun for me because I had never been to a big Hollywood premiere before. It was especially fun because I was interviewed in front of a lot of reporters and a whole bunch of fans saw me and screamed out my name and for about five seconds I felt like one of the actors. But I will take being a composer any day over being an actor.

TVGEN: Did you go to the premiere party following the screening?

Snow: Yes, I went and found my way over to the online chat area, which was unfortunately directly under the speakers of the DJ so we couldn’t hear ourselves think, it was so loud. But we managed to answer some questions despite the noise and it worked. If you like really loud dance music, that would have been the place for you. Actually, the Dust Brothers version of the theme was playing there, which is a remix dance version. That was cool.

Bonbonh: Are you any relation to the Grand Ole Opry star Hank Snow?

Snow: I’m not, but I’m not ashamed to think that I love the lyrics in most country songs.

Christo_43: Do you get angry when stock music libraries emulate your themes?

Snow: No, I think it’s kind of fun, actually. There have been many, many versions of the theme, from solo piano to hip hop and dance, and on and on. It’s always fun to see what people come up with.

CrayKlaw: What do you think of Angelo Badalamenti’s scoring for various David Lynch projects?

Snow: That’s a good question. I really loved his music. It’s very soulful and moody and simple. It really speaks to me and to a lot of people as well.

CekChik_pinky_: When cutting the soundtrack for the show, do you have the scenes to look at, and do you custom fit the music to the scene?

Snow: I get a videotape of the final cut picture and work very closely with that until I get my finished product.

TeChnOdANcEr25F: I watched the special on Fox last night, and was impressed by the artists performing on the album. How do you feel about being among the “best” of the best?

Snow: It’s very flattering and very much fun and right now I’m working with my personal trainer to look more and more like David Bowie every day. Once I have achieved that, I’m ready to go on tour. With the X-Files players.

PFrancoise: How old were you when you realized you had this talent and how did you recognize it?

Snow: I was 28. I looked in the mirror and said, “Damn, I got talent!” No, that’s a smart a$$ answer. I really loved music from an early age and my father was a musician, so it was in the genes. (My father was a drummer.)

Radiodazed: What was working with the Foo Fighters like?

Snow: I never really got to meet them, but I really loved their music so much and especially Monkey Wrench.

PFrancoise: Since music is your “work”, what do you do to relax?

Snow: I do a lot of bike riding and drinking a lot of great wine helps to relax me (as well as an occasional spanking… just kidding).

Guvie: Is your X-Files music published so we can buy the sheet music??

Snow: You can by the X-Files theme and Millennium theme sheet music from any record store.

Guinvere: Mark, do you have any hope of doing the music for the Psycho remake being done by Gus Van Sant?

Snow: That would be a thrill, but I have a feeling they have hired a composer already, although I’m not sure. It’s probably Danny Elfman.

CrayKlaw: When will the Millennium soundtrack be released? Any time soon?

Snow: Hopefully, after the first of 1999.

Adidaspigtails: What is the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?

Snow: When I was in Italy, in Capri, I bought a brand new pair of white linen Giorgio Armani pants, went to a gelato stand and dumped a whole scoop of black chocolate gelato all over myself and had to walk through the streets back to my hotel with people pointing and laughing. It was fun after a while. Then there was the time I set myself on fire and died. Then I recovered the next day.

Starlight1st: Do you consider yourself as famous??

Snow: Maybe in a very quiet way, which is I think the best type of fame, where you can go to the store and not be recognized. I love being anonymous.

TVGEN: Thanks for joining us tonight, Mark. We hope you can come back again soon.

Snow: Some last minute advice: Don’t be afraid of eating a lot of eggs, and flossing is very important!

Source: TV Guide Online, 16 June 1998

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