Wellington-based composer Stephen Gallagher took a moment to answer a few questions ahead of the world premiere of his latest film industry project, She Shears, on 1 August.
What was your official role on She Shears?
I composed and produced the original music for the film’s score. I also made the tea. Working on Jack’s film has been a joy. He and producers Georgina Conder, Ainsley Gardiner and editor Gretchen Peterson have been brilliant to collaborate with.
Tell us about a few of your biggest achievements.
At 11 years old, I read The Hobbit for the first time. I would have never, in my wildest imagination, have guessed that some years later I would be writing and recording the music for the song ‘Blunt The Knives’ to be used in the movie adaptation and watched by millions of people worldwide. That entire experience was surreal.
Tell us a bit about the process of composing the music for She Shears and how the score evolved.
I started by recording a range of musical and non-musical sources and sending Jack material to review. The early stages of composing, when you and the director are working out the sound world of the score, is so exciting! I recorded a group of instrumentalists (including cellist Caitlin Morris and guitarist David Long) and arranged these performances with material that I’d performed before, then sent everything off to my friend and mentor, Mark Willsher, to pre-mix at his studio in London.
Did it turn out as you had originally hoped or planned?
I try to have a global concept before I begin a score. I find that this develops as you and your collaborators make discoveries and mistakes along the way. I still feel pretty close to this one, so I may be in a better place to answer that in a month!
How long have you worked in the music/film industry and how did you get there?
A few years now. Some accidents and hard work. I worked as a sound assistant and dialogue editor on TV productions and then began working as a music editor on a film called The Lovely Bones. That was the first large film I worked on as a music editor and additional composer. It was a massive thrilling/terrifying learning curve! I was so fortunate to work alongside some remarkable and patient film makers.
She Shears opens in Auckland on 1 August and screens in various locations around New Zealand as part of NZIFF 2018. Read more about the film on the She Shears page.