Lexicon Exclusive

"Using Your Tonal Tools and Finding The Core"

The X-Files Lexicon's exclusive interview with Mark Snow The X-Files.
Conducted by Matt Allair (7/31/2011) and e-mail.
Page Editor: XScribe

In the six year history of The X-Files Lexicon, this has probably been the most requested person to interview by Philes. Mark Snow's music seems to resonate with fans in a way that is astonishing to consider. Music often has this intangible element that you simply feel and not intellectualize. Music can frequently represent the mental state of the composer, by what he was feeling, or reacting to. Mark Snow's music for mainly The X-Files, Millennium, The Lone Gunmen, and Harsh Realm helped paved the way for a certain type of television scoring. Regarding The X-Files, the benchmark for his work at Ten-Thirteen Productions, his early work was more ambient, tonal, motific, and percussive, and was becoming more melodic, and symphonic, all done at his home studio with his "little bag of tricks," as he likes to refer to it. It isn't all that surprising to see Mark cite Steve Reich as a favorite. Some of Mark Snow's more percussive themes are reminiscent of Mr. Reich's work or Stuart Copeland's score for Rumble Fish.

While it may puzzle many fans as to why we at The Lexicon have waited this long to seek an interview with Mr. Snow, other than in 2008 at the height of interest in I Want To Believe, there had been other priorities and objectives, and the timing needed to be right to approach him. With the recent issue of "The X-Files: Volume One" box set by La La Land Records, it felt like the most opportune moment to do so. As is usual of these cases, it developed in ways I didn't expect, and Matt Hurwitz must be credited with arranging direct contact with Mr. Snow, so my gratitude towards Mr. Hurwitz just about goes without measure. Mark Snow could not have been any more gracious, taking time out of his busy schedule to speak to us for nearly an hour.

I found Mr. Snow to be candid, patient, good-humored, modest, and very willing to invest the time with our questions. He could not have been any more of a delight. The interview proceeded as follows...

Matt Allair: Thank you for taking the time to chat. It's quite an honor.

Mark Snow: Oh, thanks, it's fine.

Matt Allair: You had a long-standing relationship with musician Michael Kamen from your years at Julliard, and the New York Rock 'N Roll ensemble. What was the most invaluable thing you learned from Michael Kamen?

Mark Snow: Well, we were also classmates in high school, the School of Music and Arts in New York. We were both oboe players at the time. I was one year ahead of him. When we were at Julliard we were roommates. We were on the same kind of footing; we were kind of equals at that time. We put this group together, and I left the group earlier than he did. He carried it on for a little bit. Then we really went our separate ways. He found himself in London and started his amazing composing career, and I went to Los Angeles and got mostly into the TV world. In terms of learning anything from him, I suppose in one sense we learned stuff from each other, but looking back on it, I probably learned more from him when we separated, you know, geographically, and saw how his career took off and I realized that he had that certain gift beyond music, of dealing with people that was just remarkable. I can't say it was something I learned, it was something I just sort of witnessed from afar. I thought I had a similar thing, where I felt very comfortable in a collaborative situation, but he took that up many notches. I think part of his success was his amazing, strong personality, and I think people were incredibly attracted to it. I think for [my career], even though it hasn't been as big time or dynamic as his, I think that's somewhat the reason for my success.

Matt: In the 70s, was it a difficult for you to transition into composing for film?

Mark: I think the interesting thing about that, I believe that every composer who's working and successful now in film and TV, they've gotten there differently. This is not a career like a lawyer or a doctor where you become an intern, or an apprentice, and something like that and you go up the ladder. This is having talent, and then getting some remarkable good luck, and breaks. Everyone's story is completely different. Maybe in the old days, 30 or 40 years ago in the big movie studios there was always a music department, and someone who was the head of the department, these people were asked by directors and producers about who they should use on a certain project, and apparently the director or producer could not use someone unless they passed muster with the head of the music department. Notably Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams really found their way. Lionel Newman [20th Century Fox] was very instrumental in Jerry Goldsmith's career, and championed him. After that, the head of the music department at the studios--they didn't have anything near that power--and they don't today. Basically a director calls up and says "I want John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Hans Zimmer," etc...and they make the deal. In terms of my transition, I found that working in the studios with the rock band was really incredibly helpful in terms of understanding recorded music, recording live instruments, and what the recording studio could do.

I started writing a few jingles, and my wife said, "Listen, let's go to California." This is when I was in New York, and my family are actors and actresses, and she said, "That will be a good chance for them to introduce you to someone," etc...That's exactly what's happened. We went out there with modest means, and six months later I got my first little episode of something for Aaron Spelling, and my wife's sister's husband was an actor in one of his series, and so that's how that happened. Those were the days before any samplers or Synthesizers or anything like that. Everything was written out and copyists came, you know, live musicians, and used small orchestras. So, I had a good ten years of that before the home studio thing even was in its most primitive state. Then in 1986--I remember that year specifically--that first home studio thing came to be viable, and it was incredibly primitive, and the sounds were very clunky and awkward, and non-musical, but there was something there. There was a moment in time when a lot of composers had to chose; trying to learn this or stay where they were. I think at the time it was like maybe seventy-five-twenty-five. Seventy-five percent of the composers said, "No, this is just crap" and luckily I was in that twenty-five percentage, and I thought, "No, I think this is going to be a big deal," and I guessed right.

Matt: You have been a composer since the 70s; was there a project from the 70s or 80s that you were really proud to have been a part of?

Mark: There was a TV movie I did called Something about Amelia that Glenn Close and Ted Danson were in. It was the first dramatic TV show depicting incest and sexual abuse. Although it was incredibly mild, it was a big deal at the time (laughs), and there was a nice bassoon solo in there of all things. I got an Emmy nomination, I didn't win. As you're talking to me, that show was a standout.

Matt: You've cited Ligeti, Penderecki, Xenakis, Varese, John Cage, Mahler...Which composers have been your greatest influence?

Mark: Definitely not any one, but when I was at Julliard, composing was sort of on the back burner. I was more of a instrumentalist with the oboe, there were concerts that I was involved with almost constantly, little chamber groups, or orchestras, and I just loved the most avant-garde, contemporary music. I felt a very natural inclination toward it, and actually that is, I think, if not the main reason, one of the main reasons why The X-Files was perhaps such a standout. The producers and directors, they didn't know from that stuff, but I kind of used that as an inspiration, and they just liked it. That came in very, very handy because [there're] not too many shows where you could do that kind of thing.

Matt: You started early in your career working with orchestras. Do you prefer working with orchestras, or your home studio set-up?

Mark: If it was up to me it would be a great thing to be able to do fifty-fifty, and especially now-a-days the combination of orchestra and samplers really seems to be the most current thing going. The samples and all of the digital stuff, working with the live players is the thing that's incredibly in vogue at the moment, you know. Hans Zimmer is actually one of the greatest in terms of that combination. The people he has working for him and his technical skills are pretty remarkable, and when you blend a thousand tracks of synthesizers and a hundred-piece orchestra under the right circumstances, and in the right hands with some brilliant technicians, it's a remarkable sound.

Matt: When you do work with orchestras or other musicians, do you have them play just what is written, or do you allow for improvisation?

Mark: That's a good question. In the last X-Files movie I did, we had a session where I just recorded orchestral effects, where nothing was written, and I was able to sample those segments [and] sequences, put them in my magic box, my home studio stuff. I was able to play them in sequences, and then the orchestra came back and played the written music, these were sort of used as sound effects, or ambient, sonic enhancements, if you will, that were really great. It was nothing about tonality, it was up to me where they were to be placed. It was great because it didn't sound like it was, like a live orchestra. There was just a sprinkle of these things, a whole grab bag of these little motifs and sound moments that just worked really great.

Matt: When you are working on a project, looking at footage, and you start composing, is it for you a more instinctual process or intellectual process?

Mark: Oh, it's totally instinct. When I see something I react emotionally to it, and it seems to work out the best. Then I can intellectually process it, if I need to change something to perhaps play against the scene, or to do something that's unexpected. Those are more intellectual moments where I step back and say, "Well, what are the other choices here?" Those things are in the intellectual world, and hopefully there's a good combination of both, of psychological responses to the film.

Matt: Frank Spotnitz has commented that you're like this amazing barometer; based on your music, Frank can judge how successful their efforts have been. Do you feel that quality work inspires quality work from others?

Mark: First of all, doing a series is extremely hard because you've got to be good week after week after week. For The X-Files it was nine years. I'd like to think that everything I did is at least a six, or a six-and-a-half. And sometimes it's an eight, and sometimes a ten, and maybe even an eleven (laughs). I remember Frank once said, "You know, some of your greatest stuff was with some of the greatest episodes, and some of your stuff that wasn't so great was with some of our worst." (laughs) It seemed like, "Well, okay, that's makes sense." I'd like to think that I could do great all of the time, and enhance the episodes that also might have been weaker, but I guess I matched in a way what was there. That's not a cop-out because I do admit when there was an episode that was incredibly inspiring I definitely jumped all over it. The other thing is I didn't slack off; I guess I just responded to what it was.

Matt: I was curious about your home studio multi-track set-up; when you are working on a piece for a project, how many tracks* will you usually lay down on average?

Mark: In my particular system, I can handle over two-hundred tracks*, but that's getting a little much. Sometimes it could be five, or eighty, or fifty, you know. But I don't even really recall that I ever pushed it up to the limit.

Matt: Have you ever added a lot of elements to a piece and then stripped them away in the mix process?

Mark: That depends on the time I have composing. If I'm lucky I'll have the time to revisit the piece, like the next day, or if I'm doing it in the morning, that night, and it will give me the distance from it to be able to have a fresh ear when I come back to it. That's been extremely helpful. I try to do that. I try to listen the next day and see if it's as good as I think it is. In my studio actually, my wife has a fabulous ear and she doesn't mince words, she'll look at me and go, "Horrible" or "That's great." She won't even bother telling me why or anything, just "That stinks." She was very responsible for The X-Files theme because I remember when I did it, I found that whistle idea. She heard it from the house coming out of the garage and said, "That's pretty good. You should show that to Chris." And that's what happened.

Matt: You are known for using the Synclavier, as well as a Roland S-760, and the Proteus 2. Has there been any new gear you've augmented into your set-up since 2002?

Mark: Well, first of all, the Synclavier is a device that is like architecture. In other words, it doesn't have a sound but it can contain many, many sounds. That Roland 760 and the Proteus--those are dinosaurs now. Those are things that are so far gone. What's happening now is these different libraries of sounds. They seem to come out once a month or something. New string sounds or new brass sounds. Different rhythm loops and percussion things. You just sort of have to keep up with it. Between the Synclavier, Logic, and Pro Tools, those devices are things that store these sounds, put them in some kind of order for when you want to pull them up. Those kind of synthesizers are from the past and no longer pertain.

Matt: What kind of music cues do you find easier or harder to write? Scary cues, action cues, or romantic cues?

Mark: Forget about scary or romantic. Literally, it gets down to really fast or not so fast (laughs). The things that are really fast take more time and they're more involved, and the medium tempo, more moody stuff--talk about The X-Files--that was the majority of the music. I think for most composers, you know, easier than a full blast, chase thing.

Matt: When you are not working on a project, are you always composing? Will you build up stock motifs or instrumental templates? Or is everything based on gut reaction to the material at the moment?

Mark: I can't say what motivates me, but sometimes, if I'm not working on a project, I'll go into the studio and fool around with something. Often times [I'll] come up with something that I think is really promising and I'll save it, and hopefully it will find a place in some project. Sometimes that doesn't bear fruit. You know, having the studio is a hobby and going in there in a relaxed way, and thinking 'well maybe something will happen today' and it's always pretty mysterious how it does happen. It's difficult to see what the inspiration is. Someone said 'Oh wouldn't it be great if your studio was on the beach and you had this vista of the ocean, and the thing, and the sun coming in...blah, blah, blah.' For me, that's not it, I could be in a jail cell with my equipment and it would still be as good. I remember one incident where I was doing Hart to Hart, which was an orchestral [job]. It was in the early 80s. I went with the producer to one of the music rooms at the Fox studios. There was a piano playing the theme. We walked in, and there was a score that John Williams was working on, although he wasn't there. It was a version of Dracula with Frank Langella, and the great English actor, Laurence Olivier. There was this room with no windows, ugly as it could possibly be, and I thought, 'That's appropriate. All you need are your tools.' It's pleasant to see the ocean, or snow, or the mountains, but I never found those things, at all, inspiring. It was just put your fingers down here, hear something, and go from there.

Matt: I know that music editor Jeff Charbonneau was the music spotter, and he also contributed percussion cues for Millennium; in what way has Jeff been an influence, if any, on you as a composer?

Mark: Well, the most important thing he did for me was to be able to say, "Gee, I don't think they're going to like this," or "Boy, that's really great," or "You can add more drums," or more this or that. He was a great, not only a great music editor, we had such a close, wonderful relationship that it was important to me that he liked what I did, and I would always have to send it to him first, so he could lay it into the picture, and he'd be the first one after myself who heard the music. So, he was in a good position to comment on it, and because of his experience and expertise, it was a great collaboration.

Matt: Indeed. When you can read a script in advance of a project, do you find yourself starting to develop themes mentally, or do you wait for a rough cut?

Mark: Yeah, I'm never rude to the producers, directors, or the production company when they say, "Oh, well now that you're on the show, we'd love to send you the script," and I'll say, "Sure, that's great." But I just get a vague inkling--well not a vague inkling of what it's about--but I certainly get an idea, but it's seeing the footage. That's the real deal.

Matt: I understand that Chris Carter had a lot of in-depth and working knowledge of music when you started working with him in 1993. Do you find it easier or harder for you to work with filmmakers who have a working knowledge of music?

Mark: Well, I don't mean to be contrary to that, (laughs) but he really didn't have any knowledge of music. He just knew, obviously, what he liked. When we first started working together, he would send some CDs of some bands, or music, and said, "Gee, I like this, this is the kind of stuff I like," to give me an idea of his taste, but in terms of really knowing the intricacies and the detail of actual music, that wasn't what he knew. He was the boss, and he knew enough to say, "That sucks" or "that's great," but he would never say, "That B flat sounds out of tune." He didn't know music theory or composition. So, the answer is 'no,' I never worked with anyone who really knew in-depth about music theory, anything like that. In fact the great line that so many producers and directors have said to me is: "I don't know anything about music, but I know what I like. I'm just going to respond to your stuff dramatically and emotionally," and I said "Of course! What else can you do? That's exactly what I expect of you!" I think sometimes they get a little intimidated that if they don't know about music, they will be at a disadvantage, and I just think the opposite. It's very unimportant for them to know the workings of music. I think it's much more important for them to respond dramatically to what the composer does.

Matt: The typical rock instrumentation--drums, bass, guitar--wasn't really used on The X-Files. Was that something specified by Chris Carter in the early seasons to steer away from? Or just something that evolved?

Mark: No, the pilot of the show they used pieces of score from a whole bunch of big movies, and none of them had the rhythm section sound or the pop music band thing at all. I didn't think it was at all appropriate or right for the show. None of them--Chris or Frank or any of the producers--ever said "Please use guitar, bass and drums," ever. At times they would go buy an existing song, drop it into a good spot, and I had nothing to do with that. But from the composer's point of view, I never thought that was right and neither did they.

Matt: I wanted to ask you about The Lone Gunmen theme. Were all of the orchestral tracks keyboard samples or did you use a real orchestra? Even my dad, who's a musician, had trouble identifying what he was hearing!

Mark: No, there was no orchestra. It was all my samples and a live guitar. So the guitarist did that Star-Spangled Banner bit in the beginning, then played this James Bond spy-type sound and all the rest of it was my garage band.

Matt: The Lone Gunmen theme has a Bond flavor. Was composer John Barry an influence on your work?

Mark: Well, he was, but actually not whatsoever on that Lone Gunmen theme. So many of his scores I really, really admire greatly. He wasn't particularly known for complex, fast, chasey music. He was mostly known for big, grand orchestral themes and simplicity, and I always felt very attracted to that. Even when there was some action going on with a movie, some James Bond thing, often he wouldn't play it generically, like an upbeat, fast tempo, but something more moderate. It seemed to play against the scene, and yet it worked great.

Matt: The violin solo used in Millennium was such a major element in that series. Was that sound just a stock keyboard sample patch or was a real musician sampled specifically for Millennium?

Mark: The theme was played by a live player, but all of the episodes were done with a violin solo sample that was in my bag of tricks. I got a lot of good comments on that sound. It sounded pretty authentic, but I made sure to use it in a register that didn't give away that it was a sample.

Matt: Has your use of sequencers or sampled loops evolved from the 90s? Do you use them more or less these days?

Mark: No, as I said earlier [those were] libraries of loops and percussion sounds and sounds in general. They come out with new ones all the time and you have to keep up with them, and that's a lot of work in itself, just auditioning and listening to the new things and choosing the things that you like. But it's an evolving thing. I listen to a lot of the music on some of the TV shows now, and I hear a lot of similarity in the sounds, and it reflects on the latest and current libraries. Sometimes something from five years ago pops back and it seems a little more current, because it hasn't been used in awhile. It's just up to the individual composer. If I worked for Chris and Frank all the time from The X-Files on, it would be easy, and in a sense, they were used to a certain kind of sound, maybe I would continue that.

Matt: David M. Sheer is credited as a musician on The X-Files box set. What was his contribution to The X-Files and what season was he brought in?

Mark: He is a musician, but his role in The X-Files was as music contractor. Apparently in the Union, you have to have someone who prepares the contract and he was the person. He's a terrific woodwind player, but he never played on the show.

Matt: What are your thoughts on some of the remixes / reimages of your theme, for example from the Dust Brothers, Unkle, or Nick Cave? Was there one that was a pleasant surprise for you?

Mark: They all were a pleasant surprise, just great. There were some that were like a disco thing or something, there were some [that were] a little less inventive, but the people you mentioned--The Dust Brothers, Unkle, and Nick Cave--man, that was pretty thrilling to have someone take your stuff and really get into it.

Matt: One of my favorite techniques of yours that was used in the season closer, "The Truth," in the cue, "The Truth is Inside," and again in "Closure" from "Jose Chung," was changing The X-Files theme from a minor to a major key. Was that idea something that evolved? Or something that was accidentally discovered?

Mark: Well, I don't think it was accidental. There's something in The X-Files theme where it can be played in a major key, that has kind of a melancholy sweetness that I thought would be really perfect in some of those shows--especially the very last episode--that was extremely intentional, because I never used the theme in the shows that much, if at all, and in the last episode of the series there was a great moment of play, in a reminiscent, melancholy, evocative way that was different from when it was used as the main title theme.

Matt: Indeed, I wanted to ask about your theme for Scully from "Within." Was there a longstanding desire to write in a Leitmotif approach with the major characters or did it just evolve?

Mark: I think that Chris Carter came up with something. He found some music. I forget what the piece was that he wanted me to listen to and to influence me to use for that, and hopefully that could be reused as in fact the Scully theme.

Matt: I feel I should ask, did you ever have any direct interaction with director Kim Manners? Do you have any stories about Kim you'd like to share?

Mark: I think the best part of my relationship, which is the only part of my relationship with Kim, is he would come to my studio, when it was his episode, and he would listen to the music, and this might sound a little immodest, he would just love it. It's pretty great when you have this relationship with someone, where they come over and say: "Well, that's great! Boy, you really have this!" That's really what it was. In fact there was really no one on the show that was adversarial with me, or wanted me to change a whole bunch of things. Every once in a while someone would say to me: "Oh, when the monster pops out of the car could you make it louder?" or, "When this happens could you make it softer?" But, there [were] never any major-change comments. That was one of the great things about working on the show. I know that sounds pretty dull about Kim Manners, but I was so busy, and he was so busy. We really loved each other, but there was no time for socializing (laughs) or hanging out. At the time he had a house, of all places, in Missouri on some lake, some vacation home, and so I told him I was driving cross-country, and he said "Okay, well you better have some of these," and he gave me a special cap, and belt buckle and a shirt with some pins so that I would blend in with the Midwestern population.

Matt: How did you get involved with La La Land Records? Did their work on the Millennium and The Lone Gunmen soundtracks give you confidence to move forward with The X-Files set?

Mark: I didn't have anything to do with it. They called up and said, "We'd like to do this, is that okay with you?" and I said, "Sure," you know. No other label were interested in these soundtrack things and these guys were incredibly enthusiastic. I don't know if there's much financial reward for this, but the people involved with this, they're so passionate about it, and it seemed extremely appealing.

Matt: How did the selection process work for The X-Files, volume one? Was it based on fan favorites? Or personal favorites? Was there a certain overreaching progression or theme that you, Nick Redmen, and Matt Verboys were aiming for in the selections?

Mark: That was horrible. That was impossible. I mean there was like a million minutes of music and you have to get it down to fifty. That's an exaggeration of course, but every time I found something that I thought was great, oh no, here's something better, here's something better, here's something better. I just turned it over to those guys and they did it, and it was my original choices, they tweaked it and came back to me, and we worked on it together, but boy, that was rough. I was happy with the results but even now I still think, "Oh God, I should have put this thing in, and I should have put this other thing in, and the other theme from this show, and this one." I'm sure some of the fans think, "Boy he missed the boat with this. He should have put this in." "I wish he had done this," but you just have to make a choice and go forward.

Matt: One colleague of mine wanted to ask you, will there be a second edition of music from Millennium that the La La Land label might put out in the future? Do you have any non-X-Files music coming out on CD this year?

Mark: I don't think there's any more Millennium music coming out. I haven't heard about any interest like that. At the moment there's nothing pending.

Matt: You've been working on several foreign productions as of recently. What has the experience been like? Do you find it more liberating or restrictive compared to American productions?

Mark: Completely fabulous. Liberating. When they say, "Do what ever you want," how good does that get? "Copy this temp track." "Oh, the studio wants this." "Oh, we have to have a meeting." "Oh, change this, that's too far out. Normalize it." You know, these people wanted as out there as I could get. I am going to Paris at the end of August to do a movie for this director that I did two previous movies for. His name is Alain Resnais**. He's 89 years old. He'a an amazing person, great director. His stuff is incredibly existential and surreal and really out there, and the idea that he wants me to work on his films is a great, great honor, because he is like an icon in French movie-making history.

Matt: Since the time of your work on The X-Files and Millennium, when you work on such shows as The Ghost Whisperer or Smallville, do you face the challenge of producers requesting music with the flavor of The X-Files or Millennium? Or are you given a lot of latitude to serve what's best for the material? In other words, has musical typecasting become a concern for you?

Mark: No, actually. Although Smallville and Ghost Whisperer, you could say, might be in the X-File realm, or somewhat Sci Fi perhaps. But [with] those shows, doing The X-Files just helped me to get the job, you know. Once I had it, it wasn't "Please do the X-Files music." It was "We want something different. We'd like it to be like this." So... a lot of that music in Ghost Whisperer is sometimes really sappy, emotional, and melodic, and heartfelt. Smallville can be a little old-fashioned, orchestral, and retro in a way. If anyone said anything there it would be like, "Don't do The X-Files here."

Matt: Are there any contemporary soundtrack composers you follow these days?

Mark: I'm a big fan of John Adams*** and Steve Reich****. These guys are not film composers, but I love their music, which is very edgy and just incredibly original and unique. I just love it.

Matt: Indeed, In your daily life, what inspires you creatively?

Mark: Unfortunately I don't have any hobbies (laughs). I just never had time to have any real hobbies, just sit[ting] around doing nothing. I get inspired to get over to the studio and start inventing something.

Matt: Is it gratifying to see your work influence so many musicians?

Mark: You know, it is. Sometimes I think it was a passing fancy, and other times I think, someone will come up to me and say, "Thank you for what you've done. You've liberated the music, you've opened it up more, you've given us room to experiment, etc..." and sometimes the reaction will be, that was good for the show and let's move on.

Matt: Thank you for taking so much time with us. I really appreciate it.

Mark: Okay Matt, Great, Thank you so much.

I'm not really certain that Mr. Snow realizes how much his work is beloved by hardcore fans, and to a certain percentage of fans who connect to the outsider aspect of The X-Files, Mr. Snow's music gave the show a poetic language that was unique at the height of the series. Indeed, in certain circles, Mr. Snow has already become as iconic as his former colleague, Michael Kamen. The fact that initial sales of "The X-Files: Volume One" box set have been so brisk, is a real testament to the merits of his work. To those who have not ordered the Box set, you can find it on the La La Land Records website, and you can read our review/analysis of Volume One.

I wish Mr. Snow the very best with his future, and we hope to see more classic work from him in the years to come. His story has not yet ended.

* Tracks are individual instruments or tonal elements on a recording system. They can be a single channel (mono) or two channel (stereo). This allows all of the instruments to be blended together in the final presentation.

** Alain Resnais is a French film director, considered part of the new wave movement. His career extends over six decades. It began in the late 50s, and his reputation was consolidated with such films as Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and Last Year In Marienbad (1961). Resnais personally does not consider himself a part of the new wave movement, but has closer ties to the 'left bank group'--artists who share a commitment to modernism and left-wing politics. In 1967 Resnais participated with six other filmmakers, including Chris Marker and Jean-Luc Goddard in a collective work about the Vietnam War, titled Far from Vietnam. In 1977, Resnais directed his first English speaking film, Providence, with John Gielgud and Dirk Bogarde. Mark Snow's collaborations with Resnais include Wild Grass (2009) and Private Fears in Public Places (2006)

*** Steve Reich (1936) is a Minimalist composer. His innovations include the use of tape loops to create phrasing patterns, as well as audible processes to explore musical concepts. In the early 60s, he composed music for several experimental films. His first significant work was It's Gonna Rain (1966), followed by with Four Organs (1970). Nineteen seventy-four saw his most seminal work: Music for 18 Musicians. Reich worked with guitarist Pat Metheny in 1989 for his Different Trains / Electric Counterpoint. In 2009, Reich was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music.

**** John Adams (1947) is a Minimalist composer who is most noted for the opera "Nixon In China" (1987). After graduating from Harvard University in 1972, his first piece, "American Standard" was released in 1975. He taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music from 1972 until 1984. He spent the majority of the late 70s and early 80s releasing such pieces as "Shaker Loops," "Harmonium," and "Short Ride in a Fast Machine." His other most noted opera is "Doctor Atomic," (2005) regarding the Manhattan project. Adams is considered a post modernist composer. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2003 for his piece about the 9/11 victims, "On The Transmigration of Souls."

Back to top

 

Interview with Frank Spotnitz (2016)
Interview with Darin Morgan about 'MASMTWM'
Interview with James Wong
Interview with John Kenneth Muir, pt. 1
Interview with John Kenneth Muir, pt. 2
Interview with Garfield Whitman
The X-Files series premiere report
Recap of Exclusive 'My Struggle' Screening Event
Interview with Jerry Hardin
Report from Dragon Con 2015 X-Files Anthology Panel
Interview with Mike Joffe
Interview with Thierry J. Couturier
Interview with Vince Gilligan
Chris Carter talks about 'The After'
Interview with Sarah Stegall
Interview with Jeff Charbonneau
Interview with William B. Davis
Interview with Alex Gansa
Interview with Glen Morgan
Interview with Mark Snow
Interview with Amy Donaldson
Report from LAX-Files book signing
Interview with Erica Fraga
Interview with Howard Gordon (2011)
Report from Vancouver TV Forum
Interview with Gabe Rotter
Interview with Robert Shearman
Report from 'Believe Again' event
Report from X-Con 2009
Interview with Jana Fain
Interview with R.W. Goodwin
In Tribute to Kim Manners
Interview with Matt Hurwitz
Pemberton Set Report
Paley Festival Interviews
Interview with John S. Bartley
Report from Wondercon 2008
Interview with Howard Gordon
Q&A with Chris Carter
Interview with Doug Hutchison
Interview with Frank Spotnitz

Matt: I just wanted to say that it was interesting to find out that you played the main theme on The X-Files with a Proteus 2, because I have a Proteus PK6 that I use for my own stuff at home. It's just a hobby, but it's interesting to see people using certain types of keyboards from the same company.

Mark: Well, that whistle sound doesn't exist anywhere else (laughs). It was just luck. I was fishing around for the right thing to play the melody, and I just happened to walk up and stumbled on that thing.