Violet Original Score Sessions
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Justine Bateman's feature directorial VIOLET starring Olivia Munn is released from 29th October. We spoke with Jennifer Pearl from VUM about their debut film score for VIOLET. You can catch a Q&A with Justine Bateman at the Cinelounge Hollywood on October 30.
Hey Jennifer, it's great to talk with you, how have you been keeping during these strange times?
Feeling well past my expiration date on this whole thing yet somehow persisting.
Has this time offered you the chance to find some new inspiration or opportunities?
Oddly enough, this strange time has ended up producing a lot of opportunities for us. Chris, Scott and I have landed tracks in a few spots including the film Materna (Tribeca 2021) and the Netflix show Messiah as well as another yet unreleased series. We look forward to connecting our music with more film and TV projects going forward.
You've just released your campaign for the VIOLET Original Score Sessions vinyl pressing on Bandcamp, were there any nerves ahead of the release?
We have been eagerly awaiting the release. Once an album is finished, it takes a great deal of restraint to not release it right away and of course we had to time this with the theatrical release of the film. Producing our work for the film as a standalone album is similar to weaving an entirely new tapestry, but from the same thread. We are most excited about the prospect of pressing the Violet Original Score Sessions on vinyl. We have just under 30 days to accumulate enough pre-orders to make it happen.
Justine Batemans's debut feature VIOLET is in cinemas soon are you looking forward to watching the film with audiences?
Yes, we will be viewing the film at Los Angeles' Cinelounge and very much look forward to seeing the film and hearing our score in the context of the theatre and amongst an audience.
VIOLET is VUM's debut film score, can you tell me a little bit how you got involved in this project?
Justine Bateman wrote and directed Violet and also happened to be a fan of our band, VUM. She contacted us out of the blue saying that she had our music on a mix in her car and that whenever VUM came up she thought that our sound was the most fitting for the film that she was about to go into production on. We readily agreed to do the project as composing for film was something that we had always wanted to do but the worlds of film composers and indie bands don't often mix. Once she sent us the script, we began composing right away before any picture had been shot.
VUM by Kristin Cofer
"I could relate to the tyranny of the voice that Violet, the main character played by Olivia Munn..."
How did you go about creating your truly unique feel and emotion that is at the very heart of VIOLETS score?
We approached the score as VUM and used many of the same strategies for composing to film as we would have to write songs for one of our albums except that for this project, the great river that runs through all of the compositions is the narrative arc of the film. In particular, I could relate to the tyranny of the voice that Violet, the main character played by Olivia Munn, experiences as well as her bittersweet memories of childhood.
What would you say was the most challenging scene for you to score?
The most challenging scenes to score were the ones that weren't shot yet as most of the scoring happened in relation to the script and before the film went into production.
What has been the most valuable lesson you've taken away from this experience?
Mutual respect between creatives is the way to set the table for everyone's best performance. Justine was really great to work with and created a working atmosphere that felt more collaborative than top down.
How important is the collaborative nature between VUM when you started writing, recording and producing your score for VIOLET?
Within VUM, Chris and I are at the helm of the writing, recording and producing and we jokingly refer to our style of working together as a human GAN (generative adversarial network) since we quite literally elevate our joint output through endless arguing. Scott brings the rhythm and keeps the peace.
Where did your passion for music come from?
From the alienation we experienced as punk teenagers in suburbia. We apparently never entirely grew out of this.
How did VUM come about and how much has your style and the approach to your music changed since you started out?
VUM is Jennifer Pearl, Christopher Badger, & Scott Spaulding. We have been writing, recording, producing & performing music in and out of the Secret Lodge since 2010 and have been described as noirishly psychedelic, minimal yet lush, and capable of producing gripping soundscapes. I would say the biggest change in approach is having to churn out ideas quickly- a lot more on the spot improvisation and a lot less deliberating before recording.
Are there any tips or advice you would offer someone thinking about getting into film scoring?
Start scoring your friend's films and stay true to your sound.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your score for VIOLET?