Jodie Foster left not a single detail out of her preparation to make her latest film, “Money Monster”, the absolute best that it could be. The film boasts an incredible cast of actors lead by George Clooney and Julia Roberts – which anyone knows is the perfect leading pair to make any film a hit. But Foster also put just as much thought and care in to the music for the film as she did the cast. She hand-picked film composer Dominic Lewis to take on the task of creating the perfect score for “Money Monster” – and he did. This comes as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with Lewis’ previous work. He has amassed a varied collection of film scores over the years that includes everything from fast tempo action scores to hauntingly beautiful tracks – truly something for every mood can be found within his library of work.
Dominic Lewis, who grew up playing multiple instruments while also composing music from a young age, truly began to blossom as an artist during his time at the Royal Academy of Music in London where he received training in music composition as well as cello. During his time at the Academy he was able to co-compose his first feature film “The Poet”, directed by Damien Lee. His work in this film received positive reviews from fans and critics leading to a strong and promising career in the film music industry.
Lewis has gone on since to contribute vocal work and scores for many popular films such as “How To Train Your Dragon”, “Bee Movie”, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, “The Interview”, “This Is The End”, “Red Dawn”, “Wreck It Ralph”, “Captain America: Winter Soldier”, and many others. Lewis’ talents have not gone unnoticed by some of the most well known names in the business, including Hans Zimmer. Lewis is currently a resident composer at Hans Zimmer’s highly prestigious Remote Music Productions, which is based out of Santa Monica.
I was recently able to speak with Dominic Lewis to not only find out more about his latest work featured in “Money Monster” but also to get to know him better overall as an artist. He is truly a talented composer with so much knowledge and understanding of what it takes to make a soundtrack bring a film to life
Dominic Lewis Interview
TAMMY: I understand that you began learning to play the cello when you were only three years old and that from an early age you began composing songs on the piano and guitar. Music has obviously been a huge part of your life for a long time. When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in the music industry and at what point did you really begin focusing on composing music for film?
DOMINIC LEWIS: I think I always knew I wanted to be in the music world. When I was young I was more about performing whether it was on the cello or singing and playing in bands and then as I got older writing started to move to the forefront first with songs and then my love for film music started to grow.
TAMMY: Who were some of your earliest musical inspirations and who are some of your favorite artists that inspire you today?
DOMINIC LEWIS: Well on the classical side of things Strauss, Debussy, Ravel have had a massive influence on me but as a kid we’d listen to all the oldies on road trips like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. However, on top of that I have an older sister so she introduced me to the electronic movement of the 90s in Bristol and Brit Pop and all sorts of crazy stuff.
TAMMY: During your time at The Royal Academy of Music in London you were mentored by Rupert Gregson-Williams who saw great potential in you. What is something that you learned while mentoring with him that you carry with you today?
DOMINIC LEWIS: So many things!!! Rupert has helped me so much in my career and I wouldn’t be where I am without his help and guidance. As well as his technical/musical advice he would continually give me words of wisdom on how to go about achieving my dreams.
TAMMY: You have had the opportunity to work with some of the most well known composers in Hollywood and have become a part of Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions. What has this experience been like for you to be able to be a part of such a prestigious group of composers?
DOMINIC LEWIS: I pinch myself regularly. I’ve been very luckily to find myself in such a great family of extremely talented guys. I say it a lot but it really is the best college/University anyone could attend for Film Scoring.
TAMMY: I am very excited about the music that you have scored for Jodie Foster’s new film “Money Monster”. What were some of the specific elements that she was looking for in regards to the music for the film?
DOMINIC LEWIS: She wanted a fresh, homemade predominantly electronic score. It was very clear from the start of the process she didn’t want it to be a big sweeping orchestral score so I was careful to turn on my Hollywood cheese radar and avoid anything too saccharine. There were times in the score when strings were needed for emotion but they were minimal and very specific.
TAMMY: I was reading that while scoring the music for “Money Monster” you were inspired by British electronic artists of the 90s. I love how you were able to use this inspiration throughout the soundtrack particularly in songs like “Triple Buy” and “Molly”. I especially love the layering of textures in “Rallying Market”. How were you able to take what many would consider to be an “upbeat” genre of music such as 90s electronica and work it in such a way that it conveyed so many different layers of emotion throughout the film?
DOMINIC LEWIS: I think applying the textures inspired by those sound worlds with a story telling approach enables those elements to work. So much of the make up of that music is predominantly dark and brooding it seemed logical for me to draw from it for a move like this. Yes, it’s dance music so the immediate assumption is upbeat but a lot of the trip hop Bristol Dance scene in the 90s was very dark and hugely thought provoking music not just meant for the dance floor. Take Massive Attack for example. Their music has so many layers so many different elements that could be the basis of so many different genres.
TAMMY: What did the first steps of scoring for “Money Monster” look like for you as far as research in to the storyline, characters, and overall tone of the film?
DOMINIC LEWIS: There wasn’t much time so I had little room for error. Having spoken at length with Jodie about what kind of score she wanted I went away for a weekend and experimented. Then when I eventually played her those ideas we ran with the elements and themes she responded too and picked up momentum as the process went on.
TAMMY:What was your favorite highlight of getting to score the music for “Money Monster” and what challenges did you run in to along the way?
DOMINIC LEWIS: I think the highlight was Cannes. Getting to experience everyone’s incredible hard work and watch the movie with my mum and wife and everyone in the theater really enjoying the experience. After all that’s why we do it, we want people to enjoy the art we make. (Also It was a bonus for this young British lad to hang out with Hollywood Royalty too, surreal but really amazing).
TAMMY: Do you have any projects that you are currently working on or have coming up that you are excited to share?
DOMINIC LEWIS: I’ve just started the 2nd season of MITHC and I’m also scoring “Fist Fight” a comedy with Ice Cube and Charlie Day. And then in the summer I’ll be starting an animation called ‘Henchman’.