With a new album, a film project on the horizon, and high praise from countless industry folks in both film and music, Paul Lewis is a cinephile who loves making music
I had the pleasure of checking out Paul Lewis’s latest album with Romeo Rage for The Farsighted a few weeks back. With his connection to the film world, I naturally reached out to ask him if he’d like to appear on Cinapse’s SPINEMA column and he jumped at the chance to talk about film and music. So without further ado…
Thanks for taking the time to chat, Paul. Had the privilege to check out your latest project, Romeo Rage, over at The Farsighted. Immediately wanted to chat with you for this column, as your experiences in the intersections of music and film are exactly what Spinema is about.
Before we dig into what it’s like to compose music for film, let’s start with a proper introduction for the readers. Who is Paul Lewis?
A guy who loves music art and cinema since he was very young. My first performance was at 4 years old.
So, you’ve been doing music for a long time. How did that lead into working on music for films?
When I was living in LA, a friend asked if I could do some music for his film, so it started there. Then, when I was cast in the feature film Days of Power, I had a bunch of ideas for it, so I started sending songs to the director and producers. They ended up loving them and had me score the film as well.
Has film always been something you love? What are some of your favorites of all-time?
All time faves include The Exorcist, Jaws, The Big Lebowski, Evil Dead, The Godfather…
Being a composer for several films, what are some of the film scores and soundtracks that you love most?
Jaws, A Clockwork Orange, and Flash Gordon.
With that in mind, who and what are some of your big influences, both in composing music for film and in your music in general?
David Bowie, Trent Reznor, John Williams, Wendy Carlos, Hans Zimmer…
Continuing on this track, can you break down your process for composing and scoring a film?
I usually read the script first which starts to give me a sense of the sound. Picking those moments where music can elevate the scene versus when silence it more powerful. Once it’s filmed, I watch it and see what comes to me. I usually hear music in my head when I watch it. Once I have that sorted out, I go into the studio and start laying down the tracks.
That’s fascinating to me. I am both a music and film junkie, so talking about both is always a real treat. What about the film scoring process you described is different from writing music for an album or other project? What is similar?
For film you have to make sure the audience gets the emotion of the scene almost like you are subliminally telling the audience how to feel. I create sounds that convey those feelings whether it’s stressful, excited, confused, love etc… so that’s very different because when I’m writing for me it comes from within versus from an outside visual. The same is all music for me is connected to emotions.
As we wrap up, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you a chance to talk about your players project, Romeo Rage, which I believe contributed to a recent soundtrack, as well. Talk to me about this new album and bc what people who haven’t heard it yet should expect.
A deep dive into being taken on a journey you never saw coming. A clash of reality and fantasy. The pandemic affected the writing of the recording. It’s like when everything you know to be true is no longer true. I wrote this one just to get out the feelings.
So, both on film front and beyond, what’s on the horizon for Romeo Rage and your art as a whole?
I just scored a new film that should be coming out soon. I have a few other film score projects lined up and I do foresee a new Romeo Rage recording.
Check out my additional coverage of Romeo Rage’s “Send Letters” on The Farsighted: