Moving from a cutting-edge rock band to scoring film music might not seem like artistic liberation, but Clint Mansell would beg to differ.
"I find it a better process," says Mansell. "If you can be involved with the right people, you've got enough time, then there's lots of chance to experiment, and try different things. It can bring things out of you that you didn't even know were there."
These days the former singer/guitarist for defunct British act Pop Will Eat Itself calls New Orleans home, is signed as a solo artist to Trent Reznor's nothing records, and is slowly plugging away at creating an album he's happy with. What really turns him on, though, is the work he's done for films like director Darren Aronofsky's acclaimed Pi and Requiem For A Dream.
For Mansell, film scoring is hardly a matter of simply churning out what the director asks for, but rather a meeting of the artistic minds. "There is a definite collaborative feature to it," he explains. "You bring your style and your outlook and the things that you've created in response to what you've seen and [heard]. But you've got to take in what the director wants, and what he sees, and you've got to really flow with that."
Having an established relationship with Aronofsky helped Mansell get inside the director's head for Requiem, but while he thinks it made for a better end result, it didn't make it any easier getting there. For Mansell, the time to understand the material and figure out how best to complement it is a necessary luxury, but long-standing ties to the director are not.
Case in point: The upcoming movie Knockaround Guys, with Dennis Hopper and John Malkovich. "I had no relationship with [directors Brian Levine and David Koppelman], but they're very good communicators," he says. "It's the communication that's the important part. Being very open about what you're doing, and the director being very open about what he wants, and knowing what he wants."