Clint Mansell seems more shark than human. It’s unclear when he sleeps. Over the past couple decades, he’s scored a slew of films for Darren Aronofsky including Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, and Black Swan. On top of the Aronofsky collaborations, he’s scored music for Moon, The Wrestler, and most recently Stoker among others. Mansell was kind enough to answer a few questions about dark films, Emily Wells, and who has stopped by to say hello. He’s got a show tonight at the Orpheum, which should be a real treat.
Jane McCarthy: You've worked on a number of pretty dark films. How do you get into that headspace? And then, do you tend to live in that realm for the entirety of a project or do you pull yourself out of it, taking breaks (e.g. going to see stand-up or something)?
Clint Mansell: People who know me would probably argue that I'm in that headspace all the time. I'm quite an internal person. I spent a lot of time alone as a kid and I think that forced my imagination to grow...It’s where I feel comfortable and, happily, it seems to help me when writing music.
I don't see the films I work on as dark- they have something to say. So many films these days are only concerned with being successful, with likeable characters that we can all 'relate' to…that’s horseshit in my opinion, and I'm not going to spend any part of my life working on something that really doesn't matter or that I don't care about. I understand film is about entertainment-but there’s many different ways to be entertained.
When I'm happy I write and I'm happy when I'm writing well- but my definition of happiness is, perhaps, quite different to other peoples take on it.
JM: I was thrilled to see Emily Wells on the soundtrack for Stoker. What was it like collaborating with her?
CM: I love Emily. She's totally unique and self-motivated. She's quite the inspiration. I knew her 'Symphonies' record and when I saw a rough cut of Stoker I recognized her work immediately. She has a very distinct sound which, in a world of very non-distinct sounds, is awesome! Her track totally encapsulates the film and, particularly, India Stoker.
JM: You've worked with great directors. Is there anyone you haven't had a chance to work with yet who you'd really like to?
CM: I never think along those lines. I know there’s a line of thought that says 'build it and they will come' but I tend to drift along in my own world and I'm perfectly happy seeing who wants to stop by and say hello...I've been incredibly fortunate- Darren Aronofsky, Park Chan-Wook, Duncan Jones, Massy Tadjedin, Bart Freundlic...I've worked with Leonard Cohen, Biffy Clyro…I really would be being greedy if I wanted more...I'll see what comes along.
Clint Mansell plays tonight, 8pm at the Orpheum Theater, 842 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014.