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15 Questions - Michael Wandmacher - Composer

Tim Bradstreet

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This first post is an interview I conducted with Warzone/MBV 3D composer Michael Wandmacher but it's also my hope that it creates discussion on Michael's work from now until there is no longer a RAW forum. Consider this the official Wandmacher thread!


Interview - Conducted between December 4th and December 14th, 2008.


Heart And Soul

Inside the mind of composer Michael Wandmacher.


For a lot of film fans and score freaks, the name Michael Wandmacher is somewhat new to the scene, though the composer has been working steadily composing music since the 1996 low budget action thriller Street Gun, aka, Thugs. Michael has been building on opportunities for over a decade in the business scoring for film, TV, Video Games, and a host of other cool projects. In 2005 Wandmacher kicked it into high gear scoring the film Cry Wolf for Rogue Pictures, then put his foot into genre TV scoring music for ABC's updated Night Stalker series, a dream come true project. Wandmacher continued with both barrels blazing composing the score for 2007's The Killing Floor, and the documentary The Man Of Two Havanas. But 2008 seems like it's the breakthru year for this talented musician as he entered into more dream come true territory creating the score for a film based on one of his favorite characters, The Punisher. Michael's Punisher Warzone score has been almost universally praised, and while all the buzz around that has been making headlines he's also delivered big yet again this year with his score for My Bloody Valentine 3D.


Because of Warzone, Michael and I struck up a fast friendship. As many of you know I'm a crazy film score nut so this has all been very ultra-cool for me.

Let's get to know Michael Wandmacher -


TB1. You've been a fan of The Punisher since you were a kid, you gotta tell me what it was like to get a shot at contributing to the lexicon of this wonderful character. I can empathize with the dream come true part.


MW. It was surreal, frankly (pun intended). Especially since the job came about suddenly. Kind of like throwing pitch after pitch in your backyard with the hope of playing in the big leagues and, boom, the Yankees call and need a starting pitcher...YOU. It was that kind of excitement for me. I have boxes and boxes of comics and have followed many characters faithfully at different points in my life. The Punisher is one of the few that's stayed with me the whole time. I looked at this gig as more of a mission than a job. It was very important to create something that respected and elevated Frank Castle as a character.


TB2. I listen to scores constantly while I work. It's like the soundtrack, the score to the subject matter I'm working on. That music creates a vibe with me that puts me in a rhythm. With you I'd guess your inspirations work in reverse. You're springboard would be the visual. How much do you take from the film itself and what else inspires you while you're creating?


MW. It's sort of nebulous as a process, actually. Looking at picture can give you a real sense of pace and tone, as well as emotional context. I usually watch a scene or a reel a couple times and try to put myself in the shoes of the characters and decide if the music is going to express the story from an internal or external standpoint. Then I'll start with something small, either a rhythm or melodic idea and start kneading it. It evolves from there into a finished piece. It's taken years to learn this sort of "organic flow" method. It keeps things interesting. Conversely, one thing about my process that hasn't changed since I started doing this is my prep. Before actually writing anything I spend a good chunk of time building a sonic template for the score. This includes everything from deciding the makeup of an orchestra to designing specific samples, using special processing and finding strange and symbolic sounds for the score, both organic and synthetic. On Warzone, for instance, I chose to use an orchestra that was composed solely of brass and strings, with special emphasis on low brass for muscle. The drums were all samples - mixtures of timpani, marching band ensembles, rock and roll kits, taiko ensembles and tons of processed ethnic percussion. Strings and horns can also be extremely poignant and emotive. Frank's just never been a "flute" kind of guy to me. I didn't hear that timbre being meaningful anywhere in the score so I ruled it out. Doing this sort of prep helps keep the score focused, which is especially critical when working on a tight deadline. I never discount that a bolt of lighting will strike in the middle of the process and change my course, because that's certainly happened, but I think that actually limiting your choices about timbre up front creates a more coherent musical work.



TB3. On Warzone, you were hired after the original composer's work was rejected. Knowing that the pressure is on to nail it, does that effect you in any way? Do you have the opportunity to hear the initial score so you know what to avoid?


MW. War Zone was a special case for me. Pressure and all, I sat down and sorta just KNEW what to do. To be truthful, there was a freakish calm in my workflow. My subconscious mind had been working this score over and over for years and it finally came time to spill it. I submitted a good chunk of cues and everyone was on board at that point. I was able to run with it after that. The main title theme on the movie is the very first progression of notes that came out of my head. I didn't monkey with it. It just "happened" and I have the witnesses to back that up. The remaining orchestration of the main theme was much busier at first and I started paring it down to achieve a very straight-forward, focused, driving and memorable thing - just like Frank. I heard very little of what had existed in the film prior to my involvement and was never sure if what I did hear was score or temp since everything was changing on a near daily basis with picture. It didn't really matter at that point. I just went with my gut and listened with the ears of a fan first instead of a composer. If it felt right to me as a fan, it stayed in the film.




TB4. I've been hearing great things about your upcoming score for My Bloody Valentine. Did you and MBV director Patrick Lussier have any interaction in terms of mood, vibe, etc? Did you go back and watch the original film just for fun?


MW. We had a lot of discussions about the score as the script was being developed, and through shooting. I was involved with MBV very early on and was able to see the actual film unfold from day one. Patrick temped the most of the movie with my music so it helped in establishing a mood and palette that worked for him and was inspiring for me. He also has a singular skill set in that in addition to directing, he's also a world class picture editor and could easily moonlight as a music editor! He makes excellent temps on his own and he's very savvy about music. The roadmap he created for me was very clear, yet he was completely open as to what musical "vehicle" I traveled in along that road. It really was an ideal situation for any composer. I had great fun doing the score.



TB5. Thomas Jane directed a film called Dark Country last year shot in 3-D, but the idea wasn't to use the 3-D for shock. The intention was to immerse the audience into the experience and give it crazy depth. With My Bloody Valentine that's not the entire case, they also totally went for some classic 3-D moves to up the cool factor. Did you have to adjust for that with the score? Was it essential to accentuate the 3-D FX with the music?


MW. I really didn't approach the film any differently because of the 3D platform. MBV is 100% 3D, every frame, so the pace of film doesn't change sporadically or set itself up for "gimmick" shots like 3D movies of the past. This approach really helps the film avoid the schlock stigma of old 3D horror films and enhances the narrative and visual strength of the film overall. If anything, the music is played even louder and with more presence than a 2D film because the entire visual field can "handle" a bigger, more intense soundfield. One of the best parts of the scoring process on this film was actually learning how 3D films are made using this next generation Real D technology. It's an intensely technical process and Patrick has spent countless hours watching the film over and over to insure that it doesn't create viewer fatigue or feel like it's leapfrogging from one 3D money shot to the next. Current technology allows for great control over how intense any particular 3D element actually is if you take the care necessary to manipulate it. The end result is very immersive. There are actually very few in-your-face-typical 3D effects in the movie and the ones that do appear are pretty seamless and increase the overall fun factor. Patrick was extremely judicious about that. More than any other genre I think horror can benefit from the serious use of 3D technology. It heightens the viewing experience and delivers tension and shock value on a whole new level. On a side note I learned that editing 3D can be tricky because of the actual physiological limitations of the visual cortex. When you introduce a third dimension to the visual field, the amount of information your brain has to process increases exponentially. Hence, there are times when, in 2D, a shot may seem to hang just a little too long, but plays perfectly in 3D. That's the editor making little buffers in the cut to let your noggin figure out everything that it's looking at. It'll be very intersting to see how 3D unfolds over the next three years or so as our most celebrated filmmakers start to adapt the platform to straight dramatic and more mainstream fare.


TB6. This is more of a question for me. I'm a huge Goldsmith fan. I love a lot of composers who predominantly worked in the late 1950's, 60's, 70' and up, Guy's like Miklos Rozsa, Lalo Schifrin, Jerry Fielding, John Barry, Georges Delerue, and Ennio Morricone, but I also really love some of the newer crop making names for themselves, guys like Brian Tyler and Bear McCreary. Who are some of your heroes? Also, please share with us some of your favorite current composers. Who's really tripping your trigger?


MW. I read a quote from John Williams once where he said that when Jerry brought his A-game to a film, he couldn't be touched. I would concur. I still find myself gaping at Goldsmith's orchestrations. So much nuance and command of the orchestra. And so much trailblazing! He wasn't afraid to try anything, whether it didn't quite work or was a smashing success. My appreciation only grows with time. I still listen to Bernard Herrmann for inspiration, as well as all the names you've mentioned. Jerry Fielding's jazz scores from the 70s are SO cool. I also have a particular affection for the work of Dominic Frontiere, Alex North, Carl Stalling, Hans Salter and Akira Ifukube.


As for modern composers I was deeply influenced by Danny Eflman, Alan Silvestri and James Newton Howard. All three have their particular gifts for melody and color and I go back to their bodies of work for inspiration on a regular basis. I'll always have a soft spot for Danny Eflman because he's a fellow autodidact! I think John Powell is a fantastic talent. With the Bourne scores, he redefined action/crime scoring in a time where many people thought there was no ground left to tread. He's also shown an incredible range in recent years. I listen to Marco Beltami a lot (love the I, Robot score). Other people in regular rotation are Mark Killian, Nick Dodd and Clint Mansell. Atli Orvarsson is going to be huge. When it comes to score music I'll pretty much listen to anything, but I'm always looking for people with a specific voice that you could pick out of a crowd and say, "that's so-and-so". Those people are rare.



TB7. Getting back to Warzone, you created a wonderful theme for Frank Castle here. People say The Punisher is easy, he's one-dimensional. I couldn't disagree more, I think there are many layers to this guy. There is a fantastically textured bombastic action and mood present in the score but you also explore the sombre and mournful side of things. Was it difficult to access Frank Castle, to find that vibe - the theme music for a haunted, tragic figure who concurrently represents death on two legs?


MW. Thanks! Those are huge props coming from you! Your question hits the nail on the head in terms of understanding Frank Castle. He is NOT one-dimensional. Only people who've seen his character as a tertiary player in one-offs or crossovers, or just glanced over a profile, maybe of couple of random books, would be primed to say that. Musically, it was just as important to highlight the torment, anguish and personal motivations for Frank's Punisher persona as it was to accompany The Punisher in full-on kill mode. Vigilantes, by their very nature, are extremely complicated people and often cause those who are exposed to their actions to examine a lot of deep-seated moral and ethical questions about justice, revenge, complacency and fear. They are driven usually by equal parts rage and sorrow, which is a highly volatile combo. Therefore, it's necessary to focus on both the internal and external visages of Frank, not just one or the other. I think it's pretty clear throughout Frank's history that if he could just have his family back and live the quiet life he'd take it in a second. That part of him is just as large as The Punisher himself. Without that longing, Frank is nowhere and his motivation becomes mitigated by apathy, i.e., he becomes uninteresting. It was a conscious decision in War Zone to have the orchestra made up in such a way that it could drive the big, macho theme and then segue gracefully into more poignant, personal moments. The melody itself was constructed for this purpose. It moves from minor to major in a continuously circuitous route...one second it is very forceful and the next it's very forlorn. This was a very deliberate approach on my part.



TB8. The Warzone score was recorded In a former seminary Chapel with a 70 + piece orchestra. How cool was that? It somehow seems very appropriate. Too bad a cemetery doesn't really offer the same acoustical assets.


MW. I didn't really think about it until the first day of recording and as I was walking around the place, the serendipitous nature of situation dawned on me. It was like the score was SUPPOSED to be recorded there. Of all the places Frank Castle has ever spent time in, the seminary would have been the one where you could have recorded orchestral music. WEIRD. Then, add all these sprinkles...I've never had a more efficient and satisfying recording experience. The orchestra was nailing really hard stuff in two takes. We were cruising through all the sessions. In fact, we finished early! That never happens. Everyone was having a great time.


I have to point out the horn section in particular. What I wrote thematically was very difficult for them to play. It's very low in the instrument's compass and takes a huge amount of air and a very pristine embouchure to pull off. They just plowed through it! Those monster unison notes on cues like "The Burden" floored the place. It was immensely powerful...reminded me very much of Poledouris's CONAN the BARBARIAN.




TB9. You've mentioned elsewhere your secret weapon at the Warzone recording sessions, Susie Benchasil. Can you shed some light on how integral she was to the process?


MW. Couldn't have done it without her. She worked as hard as I did. I'm very proud of the fact that even though we had to do this score FAST, there were no all-nighters, no freakouts, no errors and everyone got decent sleep EVERY night. In addition to orchestrating a large amount of the score, she wrangled the other orchestrators, managed the copyists, set up the sessions, did MIDI prep, handled logistics, and took care of everything else. By the time we recorded, I wouldn't have been surprised if she had cut a deal to keep the weather nice the whole time! Once we were there, she conducted the music and did a fantastic job. The orchestra was really delighted with her and they responded as such. That's half the battle when you're on the clock. If the band isn't digging the conductor or there's some other disconnect, sessions can get very tense and worse, slow down to a dribble. It follows that the performances start to suck accordingly. Susie's very special in that she has a high degree of musical AND technical knowledge, which is extremely rare. For someone like me, who creates mainly hybrid orchestral/electronic scores, this sort of two-fold knowledge is critical in your support team. I give her cello parts, but I give her samples of power tools to play along with the cellos. Doesn't throw her in the least. She gets it. Big bonus, too. She loves genre material, like at a proper geek level...comics, horror movies, sci-fi, fantasy, aliens, shapeshifters, bloodsuckers, droids and men who wear skulls on their chest and carry very large guns.



TB10. I'd love to know what set you on the road to composing music for films. Was it a childhood dream, a thing you always wanted to do, or something that evolved from a different source?


MW. All of the above. I started taking a keen interest in music for picture at a pretty early age. My first real genre experience was having my brother sneak me downstairs one night to watch Kolchak: The Night Stalker. After that, I pretty much went after every horror film I could find, as well as monster movies, classic sci-fi and fantasy films. Even at 6 years old I was obsessed. I remember being specifically drawn to the music in those early shows. My mom tells me that I used to run around the house singing themes to movies and television shows. Then along came Jaws. That pretty much blew things up for me in a music sense. It's still my favorite movie to this day and a big part of the that was the now-iconic score. I'd have to say that that movie and The Omen were my big slingshot into serious film music fandom. Even as I got older and decided that being a rock star was the cool thing to do (I heard Eruption and bought a guitar - who didn't??), I still collected scores on vinyl. In a good used record shop you could usually pick up stacks of them dirt cheap. In grade school I wrote in journals about how I wanted to make a Star Wars score for a film someday. As time went on, it occurred to me that all the various tangents I traveled in terms of playing in glam metal bands, cover bands, trying to do a singer/songwriter thing, and teaching myself to read music and program synthesizers was all leading to one particular end point: scoring movies. I took everything I learned from all those experiences and used it to create my own approach and method for putting music to picture. It's been a wild and meandering ride getting to this point, but every step had a purpose. I feel very much at home with my work now and really couldn't see myself doing anything else.



TB11. So as a kid you were an avid comic reader, are you still? Aside from your affair with that skull wearing vigilante, which books or characters were/are you into?


MW. Everybody has the classic "my mom threw away all my Batman comics when she cleaned the garage!!!" story, including myself. Luckily, most of my comics weren't in the garage. They were under my bed. I still have those and kept collecting them. There's something like five or six thousand around here now and I've read and stored every one. It's been a lifelong passion. To me, and you, and everyone reading this it makes perfect sense that comics are becoming the great mine that Hollywood is excavating for story material. All those wondrous tales and so many characters. With proper care and development, comic-driven film properties could pretty much go on in perpetuity. Personally, I've always favored Marvel books. Can't help it. There are plenty of DC arcs bagged up in my closet, but my first comics were Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and Avengers books which kept me looking for the Marvel label each time I visited the comic book shop with my dad. I'm a big Hulk fan, have always thought Dr. Strange is just about as cool as they come, and would always be drawn to lesser-known characters like Black Panther and Silver Surfer. I had long term addictions to The Mighty Thor and Iron Man, too. I've read Dark Horse and Vertigo books since the beginning of their runs and often still just walk into comic shops and pick up random independent horror comics. The Punisher, Hulk, Amazing Spider-Man and Wolverine are the core characters I've followed for pretty much my entire life. I loved Werewolf By Night and Morbius when I was younger. Lately, I read a lot of graphic novels because I enjoy the through-line and being able to read an entire arc at once. The art reproductions are also superior in GNs, especially in reprints of old books. 30 Days of Night started me buying GNs and I'll always grab anything Steve Niles puts his name on. Freaks of the Heartland is genius work. Geez, Tim, this is such a "large" question! I could go on and on.



TB12. What is your favorite subject matter genre-wise, to tackle? Is Action/Adventure or Horror your favorite thing or would you relish the opportunity to score something like The Bridges Of Madison County?

MW. While I tend to gravitate towards the genres you mentioned, I'm drawn to strong work, period. Dramas, documentaries, love stories, historical pieces, etc. Each one, if well-crafted, presents a particular challenge as a composer. I happen to love animated works and anime. Hayao Miyazaki is one of my true film idols. I'm consistently astonished by his work. Being involved in a filmmaking process with him would be a great honor for me. I love cartoons. If you ask me, Mel Blanc was one of the 10 greatest actors of the 20th century and Carl Stalling was some kind of savant mad scientist. Doing some zany, light-hearted fare with lots of talking animals sounds as fun to me as a zombie epic. It's all about how it's done and knowing that the people doing it have a love and respect for the material. Action/adventure, fantasy and horror music are simply styles I'm more comfortable with than most because that's what I've been most exposed to and also find myself most consistently drawn to. That being said, the composers whose careers I would most like to emulate are those who have shown a strong interest in diversifying themselves and can create equally strong works across a number of genres.


TB13. A few years back you created the music for the updated Night Stalker TV series. I was a huge fan of the original series with Darren McGavin as Kolchak. Was that another example of you getting a chance to work on something you relished as a kid? Were you intimidated at all by the immortal Gil Melle opening title music from the original '72 series?


MW. I mentioned above that, in a particular sense, the original Night Stalker is pretty much responsible for me getting interested in all things that go bump in the night. So, it was very exciting to be involved in the new series when it finally came to air. Not to mention that the show was being spearheaded by Frank Spotnitz and Dan Sackheim, two of the creative moguls behind X-Files, a show I watched feverishly. That entire experience was a watershed for me. I was able to fine tune my work ethic, experiment with lots of different approaches to find what is "scary" in music and also get a chance to add a musical signature of some sort to each episode's particular storyline, be it quasi-Arabic vocal chanting or traditional Chinese music (something I have always loved). As for the original series music, it was never really touched on in terms of bringing it into the fray on the new show. Philip Glass was hired to write the theme and Frank and Dan pretty much let me run with the scoring duties. I got that job by doing a demo for a couple scenes from the pilot. It was a total cattle call and no one involved had ever heard of me. Much like The Punisher, I had an immediate reaction to the material when I saw it. Turned it in the next day, had a meeting and off we went. That show was one of the best, if not THE best, working experiences I've ever had. The entire post team was like a family and we all keep in touch to this day. It was devastating when the show was canceled. It was just starting to ramp into some pretty bizarre and interesting storylines.



TB14. Your score for The Man Of Two Havanas is diametrically different, a complete 180 in tone from Warzone. It's stunning stuff full of great guitar, strings, and Cuban flavor. How does scoring for a documentary differ from that of film?


MW. Thanks! Docs tend to be more editorial in style and often you're simply adding some pace to a lot of narration, news clips, interviews and "slice of life" bits. The music is often used to maintain a strict tone without injecting any significant emotion. Mo2H was interesting because even though it was a recap of one journalist's life from the days just before the Cuban revolution up to modern day, it was also being told by his DAUGHTER. She was the filmmaker, so her perspective on all the political issues confronted in the film carry a very personal viewpoint. She directly lived through everything you're seeing on screen. Most of it is really controversial and politically volatile, too. This mixture of straight documentary filmmaking and a family memoir allowed for both editorial-style music and moments of extreme emotion. We chose to use a strong traditional Cuban flavor in the music since Havana, Cuba and LIttle Havana, Miami are the collective ground zero for telling the story. I may not look the part, but I've actually written a sizable amount of Latin music across many regions. All of those cultures are deeply musical so every opportunity to revel in a new form of Latin-based style is a very rewarding musical experience. Further, for reasons such as these, working on documentaries can expose you forms of music that you may not come across in any other forum of filmmaking.


TB15. So we know what kind of man you really are, tell us what you're currently reading.


MW. My second favorite subject! I read frantically. Just finished ANATHEM by Neal Stephenson (my favorite author) and I'm about halfway through THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson. I always rotate novels with graphic novels so I'm also into Hellblazer "Joyride" right now.


That's awesome man, I'm a huge Neal Stephenson fan too. Cryptonomicon is like gold wrapped in platinum.



Thank you VERY kindly Michael!


MW. My pleasure. Who'd ever think I'd be answering questions from Tim Bradstreet? This is too cool.


A big giant thanks to Michael for taking the time to REALLY answer these questions and for giving us a unique insight from the composer's mind.


- TB

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I was just revisiting The Burden and Michael's right. The horns early in the track do indeed evoke Poledouris' Conan.

It's slower than the bombastic pace of Poledouris' track Prologue/Anvil of Crom, but the sound, the resonance, and low register is very similar.

It creates a great power underneath the rest of the flow. Beautiful stuff.


- TB

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I think he is simply amazing...nice interview TB.




By DANIEL SCHWEIGER, Soundtrack Editor


Composers aren’t normally thought of as tough guys. But just try knocking a Duracell battery off of Michael Wandmacher’s shoulder, and you’re likely to find yourself in a world of hurt with this martial arts belt-holding musician. And that’s not counting what happens to the villains who find themselves on the wrong end of Wandmacher’s action scores, especially the thugs who dare cross the orchestral bombast, hard-driving guitar chords and eerie electronica of PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, a score that’s likely to blast Wandmacher up another few rungs in Hollywood’s thrill-kill scoring scene.

Continue reading:



(Hollywood, CA) – Composer Michael Wandmacher brings a new note to the battle between good and evil with his score for Punisher: War Zone, based on the Marvel comic book character. Along with Wandmacher, Academy Award nominated director Lexi Alexander ("Johnny Flynton") and writers Nick Santora ("Prison Break," "Law & Order"), Art Marcum ("Iron Man") and Matt Holloway ("Iron Man") round out the impressive team. Lionsgate Films releases Punisher: War Zone in theaters on December 5, 2008.

Continue reading:



ScoreNotes.com chats up Michael Wandmacher in an audio interview. The composer, who has worked on a diverse range of projects, including feature films, TV series and videogames currently turns his conductor baton to Marvel and Lionsgate's new movie 'Punisher War Zone'.

Listen to the interview:



Posted on November 10, 2005 by Dan Goldwasser

In a pleasing trend, it appears that more and more television shows are starting to use live orchestra, even if in a limited fashion. To that end, today at the Eastwood Scoring Stage at Warner Brothers, composer Michael Wandmacher held a string session for his score to the television series, "Night Stalker". A supernatural thriller, the show's music tends to be dark and ominous, and Wandmacher's approach has tended to be one of an electronic nature.

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A native Minnesotan, Michael worked in Minneapolis as a commercial composer for five years, creating tracks for some of the biggest advertising agencies in North America before moving to Los Angeles in 1998. Since that time, his success in the scoring industry is impressive, 10 feature films, 2 television series, TV movies, more award-winning commercials and 4 video games. Known throughout the film world for his highly textured and meticulously produced music, Michael's deep knowledge of orchestral, ethnic and all forms of electronic and ambient genres makes him an ideal choice for realizing the most eclectic musical tastes; he possesses the rare ability to seamlessly blend symphonic music with the most vital techno, electronica, rock and hip-hop and is often called upon to write songs for feature films and collaborate with major artists like Kelly Clarkson (From Justin To Kelly). In addition to scoring for film and television, Michael also records, produces and remixes under the name Khursor. He achieved major status on MP3.com with over 100,000 collective downloads and continues his success on CNet.music. His remixes have charted in Europe, China, Japan, Australia and Canada and he expects to release his first full-length "crypt-hop" record at the end of 2004. Michael currently resides in Los Angeles with wife, Leslie, and his two best critics, cats Fergus and Foster.

Source: http://www.moviescoremedia.com/wandmacher.html


This talented composer tackles The Punisher in the new film, Punisher:War Zone. We discuss the score, Ray Stevenson and this look at the Marvel hero.We also chat about scoring video games and his new upcoming film, My Funny Valentine.Special thanks to Costa Communications. Music is by Return To Mono.

Link: http://scifitalk.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=407565

Source: http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/michael-wandmacher/12499692


Wednesday, July 11, 2007


After re-watching my "Night Stalker" DVDs recently, it occurs to me that music composer Michael Wandmacher is truly one of the unsung heroes of the show. His work on the pilot episode is so effective in an understated and minimalistic way, particularly the gentle piano movements for the opening and closing voice-overs and the pulsating sounds for the press conference montage. It's also striking how well these compositions match up with Philip Glass's main theme.

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Michael at special screening of 'PWZ' at Mann's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, CA 12/1/08:





(Hollywood, CA) – Composer Michael Wandmacher brings a new note to the battle between good and evil with his score for Punisher: War Zone, based on the Marvel comic book character. Along with Wandmacher, Academy Award nominated director Lexi Alexander (“Johnny Flynton”) and writers Nick Santora (“Prison Break,” “Law & Order”), Art Marcum (“Iron Man”) and Matt Holloway (“Iron Man”) round out the impressive team. Lionsgate Films releases Punisher: War Zone in theaters on December 5, 2008.


For Punisher: War Zone, Michael Wandmacher’s score both reflects the ominous tone of the film and skillfully brings a necessary lightness to the heavy plot. Percussion beats, reminiscent of war drums, echo throughout, as the characters struggle against each other. At other moments, Wandmacher relies on string and woodwind instruments, resulting in a melancholy sound. Although the score is mostly symphonic, Wandmacher does include some of his signature electronic sounds, all along creating seamless transitions between the varying elements.


Michael Wandmacher began his musical career as a commercial composer in Minneapolis. Since his move to Los Angeles in 1998, Wandmacher has lent his talent to a diverse range of projects, including feature films, TV series and videogames. His film credits include Never Back Down, The Killing Floor and Cry Wolf. In addition, he scored the videogames Over the Hedge and Madagascar. Wandmacher also records, produces and remixes electronic music under the name Khursor and wrote and mixed music for Kelly Clarkson for the film From Justin to Kelly. In January, his score to My Bloody Valentine 3-D hits theaters.



Waging his one-man war on the world of organized crime, ruthless vigilante-hero Frank Castle (Ray Stevenson) sets his sights on overeager mob boss, Billy Russoti (Dominic West). After Russoti is left horribly disfigured by Castle, he sets out for vengeance under his new alias: Jigsaw. With the “Punisher Task Force” hot on his trail and the FBI unable to take Jigsaw in, Frank must stand up to the formidable army that Jigsaw has recruited before more of his evil deeds go unpunished. For more info go to www.punisherwarzonemovie.com.



Source: http://www.maintitles.net/forum/discussion/900/

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I might sound like a twit because I didn't go to college or music school to learn the vernacular, but I know what my ears like.

Reading through these reviews reminds me that a formal education in one of my great passions would have been truly worthy of study but, alas.

I'm condemned to simply appreciate.


Thanks for the round-up Tiara.


- TB

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I wonder if he realizes what his music does to people; whenever I am in the car with friends driving around, all I do is pop in his cd's and the reactions are incredible...they are like who the hell is that? And I ask is there a problem and they always hell no! :lol:

He just rocks.

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Guest AdminGuyX

Great interview Tim. One more reason I enjoy RAW so much is because we're seeing a lot more to Tim Bradstreet than the guy who draws comic book covers. It's cool to see you do things like this.


Night Stalker was never given a chance! It was my girlfriend's favorite show, and like Journeyman, we missed it after it was gone, and still do. When Sci-Fi airs the rerurns, we always watch.


Nice to know Michael was part of that show! Turns out I was already a fan of his work and didn't know it.




I agree that his Punisher War Zone score made the film better than it would have been without it. It isn't a small thing.


The fact that you understand, and appreciate the character makes all the difference in the world.


And My Bloody Valentine is going to become one of my favorite films. I already know. The project gets cooler, and cooler with every bit of news I learn!!


Anyway, thanks guys, for a great read.

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Thanks Noeland!

Means a lot.


One thing I do aim to do is to bring our community along for the ride.

I started out a dreamer, that turned into being a fan, that turned into being a pro.

But I'm still very much a fan at the same time.

When I come into contact with good people like Michael, or Todd Farmer, or Mark Hosack, it's monumentally cool to me.

Doing this interview with Michael was born out of questions I wanted to ask him. That's really fun for me.

To turn it into a Q&A to share with everyone else just seemed to make sense.

I remember reading Interview Magazine back in the day, and often a lot of their interviews were pro on pro, like Gus Van Sant interviewing River Phoenix.

I love that shit, and it's partially what inspired me to do something like this.

Especially considering that my podcast with Tom Racine has been on hiatus recently.

Michael was a great interview, not that he doesn't seem to always be frank and detailed, but I like it when it's a bit more personal and the two parties actually know one another to a degree.

It's like sitting in the room.


Cheers and thanks Michael!!


- TB

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Great interview Tim. You really should do more. Like you said, as a fan there are questions that I'd like to ask folks to, and luckily for you, you are in a postition to meet really cool people. That said, there are also a lot of folks on this board who do not know about people like Todd Farmer, Joe Jusko and the others who are cool enough to join the RAW forum. Maybe you could get the others to Q&A's as well.


As for Michael, it was cool to hear him talk about his craft. Artists are much more fasinating when they are fans of the things they are doing rather than "I just fell into it, it's kind of boring". Plus the fact that he's a comic fan and a fan of the Punisher was just more pay off or Michael and the fans. They could have easily put anyone on this job, but they hired a fan, and I think the work speaks for it's self. Can't wait to pick this album up, and I'm looking forward to MBV3D.

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I like your interviewing style Tim, because I can see you asking those questions and we are sitting in my living room. They are personal, but not intrusive. You make a person feel comfortable and you can tell in their responses. Tim, did you ever think that maybe the members here would like to Q&A with you, Jusko, Farmer, Wandmacher, Palmiotti and the like? There are a lot of questions I would love to ask, but....don't know the policy on that.

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Hey, that's what the forum is for! So you can interact with other members and other pros.

Those guys are around so if you want to ask a question just fire away ;)


Also, yeah, I'm starting a new thing called 10 Questions (I know, hardly original but this isn't BRAVO). These will be pinned in the Artists We Love section.

I'll update with a new interview periodically. Next up is Todd Farmer. Then I'll do one with Jane.

Palmiotti and Jusko are on the list too, as is Dave Allcock, Bernie Wrightson, Steve Niles, Mark Hosack, and Mike Mignola.


I'll be moving Wandmacher's interview in with the others when I get it all going.

As always, talkback from our other members is welcome on the heels of the interview post.

In many cases the interviewees will be available for comment as well.


- TB

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