David Holmes's first album of trip-hop dance music was entitled This Film's Crap, Let's Slash the Seats, inspired by a friend's comment while watching a bad movie in a seedy Amsterdam hotel room. This might give a timorous film producer seeking to hire someone to score their own movie a moments pause. Fortunately, Jersey Films had no such qualms, and Holmes's soundtrack for Steven Soderberg's Out of Sight - an infectious brew updating '70s soul - paved the way for his latest collaboration with Soderberg, the equally funky score for the all-star Rat Pack remake Ocean's 11, music The New York Times' Elvis Mitchell praised for its "popping freshness."
"The goal was to be Vegas but not obviously Vegas," explains the Belfast-born Holmes, in Los Angeles for his film's premiere, adding that he turned down no fewer than 60 film-scoring jobs after Out of Sight. He's signed on to do Confessions of a Dangerous Mind next, making three of his five movie jobs George Clooney vehicles (his music is the equivalent of Clooney's self-assured swagger). He also scored Buffalo Soldiers, the buzz-heavy film at this year's Toronto Film Festival.
Holmes - who numbers Herbie Hancock's Death Wish Quincy Jones's $ and Lalo Schifrin's Bullitt among the scores that most influenced him, as well as obscure French and Russian film compositions - says, "Everything I've done through music has been influenced by cinema."
He even includes dialogue from the films on the soundtrack releases, a practice inspired from his albums Let's Get Killed and Bow Down to the Exit Sign; the former included snatches of random dialogue, the latter featured lines scripted by a friend of Holmes.
"When I make records and add dialogue, they become cinematic," Holmes notes. "It lets people see the film, but through music." He adds, however, that he's been-there/done-that and has will move in a different direction on future albums.