MSN chat with Danny Elfman

Interviewed by Gary Calamar
Chat source: to MSN
Archived text source:
Due to technical difficulties, Danny started channelling "DishDiva" near the end. So Danny=DishDiva occasionally.
DishDiva says: Welcome to MSN Live! This afternoon we are pleased to welcome "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" composer Danny Elfman.
MSNLive_Star says: Hello everybody. Glad to be here.
DishDiva says: Danny, welcome to MSN Live! It's great to have you here for the first time!
Angelique4k in Onstage_1 asks: How did it happen that you were roped into composing two Tim Burton films in one year? --Angelique Fouquet, New Orleans, LA
MSNLive_Star says: I can see you all through your computers so be careful with what you do.
MSNLive_Star says: Hi Angelique. Very strange story.
MSNLive_Star says: he told me about Corpse bride 5 or 6 years ago then i didn't hear anything about it for quite awhile.
MSNLive_Star says: two years ago he approcahed me re: Charlie and the Chocolate factory and hew said there ill be songs
MSNLive_Star says: I said "When?"
MSNLive_Star says: he said "Immediatly:
MSNLive_Star says: He said "Remember the Corpse Bride? that is in production this week and we need you for that two
MSNLive_Star says: I said when do we do that?
MSNLive_Star says: he said immediately,
MSNLive_Star says: I set up a little studio close to Tim. I would trade up and back. It was like having two children both demanding your attention. Ultimately is was whoever was hungrier would get the attention. It was a schizophrenic year.
MSNLive_Star says: Other than the orechestra, lots of synthesizers and percusssion. Percussion was a combination from my personal library and I spent some weeks scanning many libraries for helpful sounds.,
MSNLive_Star says: Then I began programming the synthesizers for the science fictiony sounds that Tim liked for the piece.
MSNLive_Star says: the voices were a comibation of my voices like oompa loompa style. I was used to groups of high oompa loompa voices and some choir.
MSNLive_Star says: The choir sounds more like big mostly female ethereal.
MSNLive_Star says: my voices sound sillier.
MSNLive_Star says: All in all it was alot of work and a lot of fun.
MSNLive_Star says: Well, that is a tough question.
MSNLive_Star says: Singing is a whole lot easier than composing maybe by a billionfold.
Randy7232 in Onstage_1 asks: What instruments and voices did you use in the "charlie" main title?
HauntedNina in Onstage_1 asks:Do you like singing or composing (playing?) better?
MSNLive_Star says: It takes very little concentration.
MSNLive_Star says: composing is much more challenging.
MSNLive_Star says: when on occasion, i do it well, I get a lot of satisfaction from that.
MSNLive_Star says: I never pass up a chance to sing something if i think it will be fun.
oober_jenkins in Onstage_1 asks: how did you get to have such a great job? i absolutely adore your work, and want your job. so what's your secret? if there is one.
MSNLive_Star says: Hi oober. i wish I knew the secret.
MSNLive_Star says: i think my job looks a lot more fun from where you are looking at it. If you sat in my shoes for a week in the middle of a heavy score, you might not think it was a great job.
MSNLive_Star says: You may want to run far away from it because it can be a bone crusher. Then again you may be the masochistic type like I suppose I am.
Toasted_Stlye_Megu in Onstage_1 asks: Did you enjoy playing bonejangles?
MSNLive_Star says: Bonejangles was a fun song to write for Corpse Bride but i didn't intend it for my own voice.
MSNLive_Star says: i cut a demo, Tim approved it and I said to tim it should be sung by a voice rougher than my own. 30 or 40 singers auditioned.
MSNLive_Star says: in the end, Tim called and asked me to sing the song and I did.
MSNLive_Star says: Unlike Jack Skeleton which I could sing for days, which hsi voivce is my voice.
MSNLive_Star says: i could only sing Bonejangles for a few days. It made my throat raw. Still, I really enjoyed Bonejangles. I am just glad i don't have to do it every day.
Boingoloid_007 in Onstage_1 asks: Danny, will there be a "Music For A Darkened Theater" vol. 3?
MrFishy8 in Onstage_1 asks: Danny what is your favorite masterpiece?
MSNLive_Star says: i don't know. It is not up to me. I would be happy to work on one if somebody wanted t put it out.
MSNLive_Star says: Hmm, there are so many. I am not sure I have a favorite. I love so many works by Prokofief.
MSNLive_Star says: And Stravinsky
MSNLive_Star says: Tough question.
MSNLive_Star says: Well if I am writing songs. . .
Beebop360 in Onstage_1 asks: Do you write lyrics or the score first?
MSNLive_Star says: I do it both ways.
MSNLive_Star says: Sometimes I start with the melody, then add lyrics. Sometimes i start with the lyrics first then i hear a melody.
Dish_Diva says: We are Back
Dish_Diva says: What is it like to work with Tim Burton?
Dish_Diva says: Danny says : (laughs)
Dish_Diva says: Danny says: hard to explain he is somebody I know very well. That doesn't make it very easy. He is unpredictable sometimes in how he reacts to music.
Dish_Diva says: Danny says: His movies provide sucah a fertile landscape to write music to
Mediamaven3 in Onstage_1 asks: Which movie score did you have the most fun with?
Dish_Diva says: Danny says: the tone of the move is difficult sometimes to nail down but somehow we manage to get there
Dish_Diva says: Angel 12 says: Wat is your favorite film of all time?
DishDiva says: Danny: For fun, it is hard to top "Beetlejuice."
DishDiva says: Danny: I would have to say writing and recording the songs for Charlie was about the most fun i had on a film.
DishDiva says: How long did you end up singing "Willy Wonka Willy Wonka"?
Dish_Diva says: Danny says: Oh, I am never any good at favoirtes whic I a supposed to do for the New York Times, I could spend forever on favorites, I dont have a single foavorite
DishDiva says: Danny says: I would really mad at Tim for making me write it. He wanted something insidious like a jungle. I wrote it in one afternoon and I was singing it for days and i was cursing Tim until I finally got it dislodged.
G?ic_P?tal in Onstage_1 asks: On average, how long does it take to complete a movie score?
DishDiva says: Danny: about three months but it can vary.
Dish_Diva says: Danny says: I have favorite in different genres. I liked the original " Haunting"
Dish_Diva says: The Shing
Dish_Diva says: Hitchcock's "Psycho"
Dish_Diva says: Godfather 1 and 2
Marla_Bucket in Onstage_1 asks: What would be your downfall if you went to Wonka's factory?
DishDiva says: Danny: If they had a pie section or a section that had cream fillings. I have a terrible terribl esweet tooth that is more reserved for things with cream and butter in it as well as chocolate and anything with whipped cream.
Tack553 in Onstage_1 asks: How many songs did you write for this movie, and were there any that had to be cut?
Dish_Diva says: I could just go on and on
Dish_Diva says: raindown says: Where do you do more of your writing?
DishDiva says: danny: I wrote five songs. One of them was cut. With animation they are on very strict time limnits and they kept running over. They wanted to be around 72 minutes. One of the songs did get cut.
Dish_Diva says: danny says: I generally do my writing at home. I work in a basement. I have always beein in abeasement
JacquelineElfmaniac in Onstage_1 asks: Will you ever start writing columns for Stipko like your brother has?
DishDiva says: My brother is a very talented writer and seesm to be good at writing columns. I don't think I have much of a knack for it.
Dish_Diva says: Occasionally I will set up a studio in another location like i did with Charliein England
AmiKae_McKat in Onstage_1 asks: Were you ever in a school band?
DishDiva says: Danny: No. I didn't start playing music until I was out of high school.
DishDiva says: Danny: If i could go back in time, i would probably like to be in a school band.
anderssen_elliott in Onstage_1 asks: Wich score was more difficult, nightmare of Corpse Bride?
DishDiva says: Danny: Hmm, Nightmare was more difficult because it had more songs. What can be hard is getting in and out of a song. With then songs, Nightmare was a huige jigsaw puzzle. with only four songs, Corpse bride was much easier.
dannyfan71 in Onstage_1 asks: How did you get to score the theme to desperate hosewives
DishDiva says: Danny: It was just lucky. I probably have done over a dozen TV themes. I am very lucky that a few of them has survived. generally for TV themes they are fun and quick. I always expect it won't survive because most TV shows don't. I consider it a lucky
DishDiva says: break.
MrFishy8 in Onstage_1 asks: Danny, can you picture yourself pulling off a bluegrass music score?
DishDiva says: Danny: yeah, I think I could. I consider myself pretty chameleon like. I think bluegrass if i need to, is something I could absorb.
naruto361 in Onstage_1 asks: where do u find your inspiration for ur music
DishDiva says: Danny: I wish I knew. I never know when and if an Idea willl come.
DishDiva says: danny: that is probably the scariest part of my job.
alicelicious in Onstage_1 asks: How was it having to adapt roald dahl's lyrics for the oompa loompa songs in charlie?
DishDiva says: Danny: It was real easy to adapt because his lyrics are so rythmic to begin with. I really didn't have to do too much to adapt them but choose and condense the parts of the songs hat seem to sum it up the best.
theatregurly87 in Onstage_1 asks: What was it like working on the Edward score, how did it impact you?
DishDiva says: Danny: Edward Scissorhands will go down as a special one, maybe even a favorite. It was smooth and simple.
DishDiva says: Danny: It was one of thsoe things I thought writing it i wouldn't get a chance to write somethings o sweet like a fairy tale again.
DishDiva says: danny: something about it was very special to me.
Iris_VanCrow in Onstage_1 asks: what do you like best about your work?
DishDiva says: Danny: Hi Iris. Very little. I usually have to be a year or so from my work to tell if I did a good job or not. Th ebest part are the moments with the orchestra where something came out like i intended it to. For a moment i might go, hey that actually DishDiva says: worked.
Mediamaven3 in Onstage_1 asks: You seem to like bells, do you use them in all your themes?
MSNLive_Star says: Thanks for having me here. I am surprised an honored by all the great questions.
MSNLive_Star says: Hopefully I'll see you again soon!

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