of publishing: 16th March 2006
Joel's career in music for film and TV began in 1978 when
he worked on the low budget scifi movie Laser Blast
and collaborated with composer Richard Band. His first solo
scoring assignment came in 1981, with Olivia for German director
Ulli Lommel. His early scores were essentially synthesiser
only and his expertise in this field was utilised by his father
in 1984 for Jerry Goldsmith's first completely
electronic score - Michael Crichton's futuristic thriller
Runaway. Joel also collaborated with his father for the short
lived TV series' HELP and Hollister as episode
composer while Jerry Goldsmith composed the themes. Joel collaborated
proper with Jerry in 1996 on Star Trek First Contact
and provided 20 minutes of additional music.
Joel composed his first symphonic score for another lower
budget scifi thriller called Moon 44, and was an early score
to reveal the obvious influences of his father. Later assignments
followed in the form of Man's Best Friend, Kull The Conqueror,
Shadow of A Doubt and Diamonds, all of which have helped
re-inforce Joel's standing within the crowded composer market
Ironically his return to TV scoring has provided the young
composer with his best output for TV's Vampirella but more
importantly the TV spin-off - Stargate SG-1
and Stargate Atlantis. Here Joel has employed
the dramatic sensibilities of his father to full effect
and given the show a solid 'movie feel'. Joel remains at
an early stage of his career which can only go forward as
the composer moves out of the shadow of his famous father
and establishes himself as a major force in TV and film
Gilles Nuytens: Firstly,
I would like to congratulate you on your nomination in the
Emmy Awards for the opening credits of Stargate Atlantis.
Joel Goldsmith: Thank you very much, I appreciate
Gilles Nuytens: It
is one of the best opening credits that I've heard.
Joel Goldsmith: Well, thank you again!
Gilles Nuytens: Could
you tell us a bit about yourself, how did you get into film
Joel Goldsmith: Film scoring has always
been a huge part of my life. Growing up and watching my
father work obviously gave me unusual exposure to the craft
early on. I got serious about becoming a composer at around
the age of seventeen. It really started by me fooling around
with my dad’s synthesizers, then doing some electronic
orchestration of various classical pieces and finally gravitating
to my own compositions. During this time I also started
helping my dad out in his home studio on films he was using
heavy electronics. (“Logan’s Run”, “The
Reincarnation of Peter Proud”, etc.).
Nuytens: What motivates
you in your work as well as in your life?
Joel Goldsmith: Many things, fear being
the most powerful motivator, fear of failure, fear of missing
deadlines, fear of missing mortgage payments, fear of not
living up to my potential. Of course, that doesn’t
mean I don’t get great joy from what I do, and the
rush I get when I know I’ve excelled at something,
can be great motivation to carry on, but fear is also a
Gilles Nuytens: Are
you the composer for all the music in Stargate or only a
Joel Goldsmith: In the first couple of
years there were other composers, Kevin Kiner, Rick Band,
Dennis McCarthy did an episode but since then, it’s
been pretty much just me. Recently, because of the crazy
schedule and tremendous workload doing both shows, I’ve
been fortunate to have composer Neil Acree to help me out
Gilles Nuytens: In
Season 9 there seems to be a lot of new themes. Can you
talk a little about them?
Joel Goldsmith: The producers reinvented
SG-1 in Season 9. They introduced Mitchell, the Ori, made
Vala an integral part of the team and we lost Carter for
the first five episodes, therefore, I did expand on Vala’s
Themes and developed three new themes for the Ori, the Dosi
and the Priors. Each theme interrelates yet are somewhat
unique as well. The beginning of Season 9 was a tremendous
undertaking musically but I think it worked out rather well.
Gilles Nuytens: And
how about the Themes for Atlantis Season 2?
Joel Goldsmith: We introduced Ronan, a
terrific character. There is a great relationship between
Ronan and Sheppard. One that is very exciting, giving dynamics
to the show.
Gilles Nuytens: Did
you compose a special theme for Ronan?
Joel Goldsmith: Yes, I did. Although it’s
not an action theme, which you might have expected considering
the character. Instead I scored his sensitive side, a more
introspective look at a larger than life character.
Gilles Nuytens: Do
you plan to make an extended version of the main titles
music of both SG-1 and Atlantis? I would really love to
hear that because 1 minute for this great music is not enough!
Joel Goldsmith: I have no plans of extending
the SG-1 Theme as it’s already a bit of a medley of
David’s Themes from the original motion picture. As
far as Atlantis goes, I did record a 2-minute version which
is somewhere in our archives.
Nuytens: So you plan future
releases of Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis?
Joel Goldsmith: Absolutely! I definitely
plan on doing future releases of both SG-1 and Atlantis
as well as other unreleased projects. There’s a lot
of music I want to release but as you know Sony is involved.
Sony bought MGM and right now I’m in negotiation with
Sony to be able to release some of this music. We’re
trying to obtain the rights and get everyone on the same
page. In the meantime, I do plan to post music from various
projects on my website “FreeClyde.com”
including some rare SG-1 cues from earlier shows.
Gilles Nuytens: Could
you describe the process of writing the theme to Atlantis?
Joel Goldsmith: I started off by reading
the script because I wrote the theme long before they had
shot the pilot episode. I had some discussions with Brad
and Robert and we all agreed that I shouldn’t try
to “reinvent the wheel” yet Atlantis should
have it’s own voice. So, after I wrote my initial
theme I demoed it and sent it to the guys. They gave me
notes and I made changes and we went back and forth like
this 4 times until we were all satisfied. We’ve actually
posted on the site all of the demo’s I did showing
the evolution of the theme from earliest demo to the final
Gilles Nuytens: When
you arranged the Main Title for Stargate SG-1, did you work
with David Arnold on it?
Joel Goldsmith: No, not really. David and
I chatted on the phone once or twice, and then I just went
ahead and basically adapted what he had written for the
Gilles Nuytens: You
wrote the end title to Stargate SG-1. How did this come
Joel Goldsmith: I simply asked Brad if
I could write an End Title. I’ve always liked it when
a show had a different theme for the end credits. It always
seemed like a bonus to me. So Brad agreed and I recorded
it in Seattle when we recorded the Main Title.
Gilles Nuytens: The
End Title is really good and it’s a good thing that
it is different from the Main Title. But in Atlantis, it’s
Joel Goldsmith: Yes, they are. I’m
thinking about maybe making a new End Title for Atlantis
next year. I don’t know… again, it’s a
matter of time. It will depend on how much time we’ll
Nuytens: Could you let
us know about your studio session with Rachel Luttrell (Teyla)
for the song "Beyond The Night" featured in Critical
Joel Goldsmith: When Brad asked me to write
the song for Teyla, I happened to be working with my sister
Ellen on a children’s album she was recording. I thought
it would be fun to write the song with Ellen. The writers
of the show had supplied us with the lyrics and Ellen and
I wrote the music. Brad sent Rachel down to our studio in
Los Angeles to record her vocals. I was pleasantly surprised
at what a skilled singer Rachel was and it made my job so
much more enjoyable. But what was the most fun was having
“Teyla” in the studio! After she finished recording
the song, I told her, “You know, you don’t look
so tough to me!”, she then grabbed a violin bow and
proceeded to kick my ass with it! Ok, maybe that didn’t
happen, but the part we had a great time and she did a great
job was true. Rachel is a very nice person and I hope to
work with her again one day.
Gilles Nuytens: Do
you sometimes visit the sets of Stargate?
Joel Goldsmith: I’m one of the few
people who live in Los Angeles and work on Stargate. I visit
very, very rarely, I think twice in nine years.
Gilles Nuytens: Do
you have an inside story, an anecdote or something about
Joel Goldsmith: It’s a very difficult
question. On a few occasions I was exceptionally proud and
excited about a specific piece that I had written for a
show and was absolutely flabbergasted when both Brad and
Robert couldn’t stand the piece, they just hated it.
And ironically there have been times when I seriously doubted
the effectiveness of a cue and they just loved it. Sometimes
it can be difficult to judge the quality of your own work.
Another incident was when I wrote the theme to Atlantis.
There was a certain MGM executive, who shall remain nameless,
who just did not like the theme. Brad and Robert had to
fight a long battle to get the theme approved. Later, after
I had been nominated, my assistant told me that this executive
was on the phone. I knew he was calling to congratulate
me. So when I picked up the phone, before he could say a
word, I said to him, “I bet you don’t hate this
theme so much anymore, do you?” and as any good executive
would respond, he said, “I never hated the theme,
I always loved it!”. Yeah right. Oddly enough, I’m
kind of fond of that guy.
Gilles Nuytens: I
never found the CD “Children of the Gods” in
Joel Goldsmith: Good, you shouldn’t
because that was a horrible CD! I had nothing to do with
that CD. Both David Arnold and I took our name off of the
CD. It was made against our wishes. It was an edited version
of both the Stargate film and Children of the Gods scores
together. The Children of the Gods score has never been
heard by anybody publicly. We are planning on releasing
it in it’s entirety.
Nuytens: Do you sometimes
listen to your music for pleasure?
Joel Goldsmith: Very rarely. I’ve
just recently gone back and listened to quite a bit of what
I’ve done over the last several seasons because of
the upcoming CD projects. It can be a difficult thing listening
to one’s own music for television. Because I work
at such a fast pace, often there isn’t the refinement
in the compositions that I would like to hear. But it is
what it is and I’m proud of much of what I’ve
done on Stargate and Atlantis.
Gilles Nuytens: What's
the best memory of your career?
Joel Goldsmith: I would have to say having
my father conduct my music.
Gilles Nuytens: Your
father is Jerry Goldsmith!
Joel Goldsmith: Yes he is! I lied on the
Gilles Nuytens: How
was it to work with your father?
Joel Goldsmith: It was great! What film
composer wouldn’t want Jerry Goldsmith conducting
their score! It was wonderful in a musical sense and very
special personally. I’m glad we had those times together.
Gilles Nuytens: How
do you feel about people downloading music illegally?
Joel Goldsmith: I wish I could say I’ve
never done it myself but I can’t. But I feel strongly
that we all should be aware that royalties from purchasing
music is how the artist makes his living and believe me
the vast majority of working musicians are not living in
villas in the south of France! They are getting by just
like all of us. So I say we shouldn’t steal music
and support artists.
Gilles Nuytens: How
do you proceed to create your music, do you use technology
and instruments to serve your ideas or does the technology
have an influence on your work?
Joel Goldsmith: The advantages of the newer
technology by far outweigh the disadvantages. If Beethoven
were alive today I believe he would be using sequencers
and synths/samplers to expand the orchestral palate and
exploit the freedoms that they bring. On the downside, if
you have too many choices it can make the creative process
more difficult. Limits and boundaries to some degree, have
always been a good thing for the creative and the personal
development of the artist.
Nuytens: Do you have a
particular working method?
Joel Goldsmith: Not particularly, sometimes
I’ll watch a scene and by the end I’ve already
structured the cue in my mind and it’s really just
a matter of putting it down. Other times, it could be like
pulling teeth and can be a very tedious process. One piece
of advice that my father told me was to “Just write!
Don’t worry if it’s good or bad, just write,
you can always change it later.” But what did he know…(laughs)
Gilles Nuytens: Do
you have a scoop about Stargate?
Joel Goldsmith: Rob and Brad would be very
pissed if I let the “cat’s out of the bag’s”!
All I can tell you is to keep watching because Season 10
of SG-1 and Season 3 of Atlantis are going to be fantastic!!
Gilles Nuytens: Thank
you very much!
Joel Goldsmith: Thank you and take care!
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