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I always try to achieve authenticity in every soundtrack I compose.

Each musical choice I make is always very considered and I question myself continuously throughout my development process.

When I was commissioned to write the score for the National Geographic series Narco Wars in 2020, I asked myself which instruments to use, what sound textures or bespoke software I could design to produce a certain timbre appropriate to the film and which musicians could fulfil my brief.

I wanted most of the soundtrack to feel like it originated in South America, but without anything too obvious or clichéd. The series is mainly set in the 1970s and 80s investigating the start of the drugs trade between Mexico, Colombia and the USA.

Sometimes it sounds like a few musicians sitting around a fire and jamming and other times the music is a little more retro, more in line with the film’s timeline, but still with elements of the live ‘band’. I was keen for it not to sound too polished as I wanted to keep the rawness and edginess in there….a truly visceral score.

In December 2020, I brought 4 of my favourite musicians to Third Coast Studios in Michigan and we spent a day recording my music. Together with my own custom electronics, this session then formed the basis for many of my cues and hopefully created quite an original soundtrack.

 

 

Recorded at Third Coast Studios, Michigan, USA

 

Acoustic bass: Justin Avdeck

Acoustic guitars and ukulele: Kevin Kozel

Drums: Scott Pellegrom

Drums: Scott Pellegrom

Metal body squareneck resonator guitar and dobro: Mark Lavengood


 
Session photos by Jonas Quiran