You can’t have a film without a soundtrack; it helps to build tension, to set the scene, to stimulate emotions and, ultimately, it guides the narrative.
One such director who is known for his ability to use music for maximum impact is Christopher Nolan. The man behind some of our generation’s most revered and successful films – we’re talking Inception, The Dark Knight, Interstellar and Memento, to name but a few – Nolan’s worked closely with luminaries like Hans Zimmer and Ludwig Göransson to bring his image to life.
The originality and creativity of these soundtracks have been inspirational for innovative Bristol producer and Full Cycle co-founder Krust. An artist who’s been pushing the boundaries of what’s possible for decades, the intricacies and processes behind these film compositions have impelled him to strive for new meaning within his own work, to make a statement and to find new ways to capture the listener’s attention.
Following the release of his first album in 14 years, which was heavily influenced by Nolan and Scorsese’s soundtracks, Krust laces together a mix of his favourite scores from the former and shares how these compositions have impacted his own creative processes.
The Edge Of Everything is out now on Crosstown Rebels.
Why do Nolan’s film soundtracks mean so much to you?
Soundtracks are really important in a movie, for obvious reasons. Nolan’s films explore really interesting themes around time and his storytelling technique is really interesting — a non-linear style. So the music is very powerful in helping to tell that story.
I’m inspired by film soundtracks – the whole thing – because it’s informing me about what creativity can be, what originality can be, what an artist should be thinking about when they’re creating something for the world to see or hear in my case.
I think Nolan has got an interesting way of combining all these structures to produce something original and that’s what I really like.
What makes a Nolan film soundtrack so unique?
Hans Zimmer has done most of Nolan’s films so the man himself is very interested in the way he approaches soundtracks — his ethos, his mindset, his relentless pursuit in the name of the film is what makes it so unique.
When did you first hear a Nolan film soundtrack and what impact did it have on you?
I think it was Inception that really caught my attention and it may have been the track Time or Mombasa. I listen to arrangements and listen to the sound design, listen to detail, I try and understand why someone does what they do. Why did they put that sound there? Why did they make the drum sound like that? When I listen to something like that I have to really study it. That’s my driving force really.
What’s your favourite Nolan film soundtrack and why?
Interstellar because the way he used the organ is very powerful. I never really heard it used that way ever, anywhere. He was able to use an organ, a church organ, in a few different songs but he made it sound very celestial, very otherworldly, but also you know he paid homage and he was making references to God.
You know that the organ that’s normally heard in church, he used it to denote that passage from one time space to another, from earth to space to another universe, and you’ve never really heard it being used like that in a movie. It had that kind of quality that you recognise but also leads you into this false sense of security.
How have Nolan’s film soundtracks impacted you as a producer?
I listen to people like Hans Zimmer or Ludwig Göransson because I wanna understand how to make my music better and bigger — how to take it to that next level.
I want my music to sound experimental and electronic but I also want it to sound like I’m reaching for God, like I’m on the other side of the universe and I’m trying to make contact with earth. So there’s ways to do that and there are people out there who are really good at that — it’s those people that I’m inspired by because they’re doing it in movies. When you hear a soundtrack in a film, it’s epic for a reason; they’re trying to get your attention, trying to make a statement and that’s what I’m trying to do in my music.
How did you approach this mix? What did you want it to say about Nolan’s film soundtracks?
It was very interesting doing this mix. I’ve never created a film score mix so it’s cool to do some of this for the first time. It was inspiring hearing all those tracks that I’m normally listening to separately and at different times, and all of a sudden I’m listening to them at one time for an hour or two. It’s very refreshing and rewarding and it gave me lots of new ideas about what I wanna do next with my music.
I think the message that I’m giving out with this mix is really about the journey, the expression, the creativity, the insight, the curiosity and wonder. I think those are some of the hallmarks of great producers who are open-minded in their search and pursuit of the highest level of art. They can produce and you might not find that in your industry, so you have to be willing to just search to find people that blow your circuits.
Hans Zimmer – S.T.A.Y.
Hans Zimmer – Always A Catch
Hans Zimmer – Bank Robbery (Prologue)
Hans Zimmer & Lorne Balfe – WaterTower Regimental Brothers
Memento Soundtrack – Motel Room Arriving At The Derelict
Memento Soundtrack – The Fact Tattoos
Hans Zimmer – Mombasa
Hans Zimmer – The Mole
Hans Zimmer – Imperfect Lock
Ludwig Göransson – 747
Hans Zimmer – Where We’re Going
Hans Zimmer – Why So Serious
Ludwig Göransson – FREEPORT
Ludwig Göransson – PRIYA
Hans Zimmer – We Built Our Own World
Ludwig Göransson – SATOR
Hans Zimmer – Shivering Soldier
Hans Zimmer – Waiting for a Train
Ludwig Göransson – MEETING NEIL
Hans Zimmer – Time
The Edge Of Everything is out now on Crosstown Rebels.