Music and storytelling have always been friends. From minstrels to opera to modern-day movie scores, the two combined enhance and enrich each other. Along that line, I talked to songwriter/producer Daphne Tetreault who composed the music for my Dead Locked book trailer (we also happen to be sisters). She primarily writes and produces Top 40 pop tunes so I asked her what scoring for a book trailer was like and how reading affects her music. At the end of the interview, we have an exclusive free download of Daphne’s latest release with artist Brittany Hill!
The Dead Locked trailer was your first time scoring music. What was that like?
I was excited by the creative challenge and really enjoyed the process of letting the visual images evoke the music. It’s very different from my usual mode of working and I felt a bit nervous, wondering if I could get the right feelings across. Capturing the feeling of visual images is a whole other ball game, and I didn’t know where to start at first. But I started noodling, and ideas started flowing.
How did knowing the story affect the music? Did you get ideas as you were reading?
Yes, reading and knowing the story did affect the music. It helped me to inject the right level of excitement and mystery into the music. I don’t remember getting ideas as I was reading – I was too into the story! – but then when I saw the images for the trailer and knowing what was behind them, that’s when I got the ideas. Though I did have sort of a musical outline of how I wanted the music to build.
Music really affects my storytelling. Does reading fiction influence your songs at all?
Reading fiction has definitely influenced my songwriting. I’ve gotten ideas for song titles, concepts, phrases, even language and terminology from books. I’ve also translated the mood or feelings from different books I liked and turned it into a song.
What is the impact of a good score on a movie or TV show…or even a book trailer?
The visual arts, including trailers, wouldn’t have nearly the level of emotional impact without music. Music in non-verbal and can create fear, excitement, romance, mystery, unease…you name it. Even if the music is subtle or simple it can be very powerful. To quote Jack Black from the movie The Holiday – “with Jaws, John Williams created a villain in two notes!”
What do you like to read?
Jane Austen is one of my fav authors – my favorites by her are of course P&P and Persuasion; Elizabeth Gaskell – North & South; ah, yes- Amy Saunders author of Dead Locked! 😉 And I still have some favorites from when I was a kid. I’m all about the characters – I really have to get involved with them on a deep level to love a book.
What do you do as a songwriter/producer?
As a songwriter/producer I write lyrics and melodies, make demos, write, arrange and record tracks, coordinate musicians and vocalists, mix (which is adding effects, panning instruments in the audio field, EQ instruments so they don’t step on each other’s toes, and generally making it sound as good as possible) and sometimes I master it if it’s a demo. But if it’s a release I usually hire that out as it’s an art unto itself. Then I also pitch, pitch, pitch! Oh yeah, and network.
How long have you been doing this?
A while. 😉
What are you working on now?
I’m working with a few artists on album projects – mini-albums, which are 3- 5 songs long. Just had a couple of single releases with artists Miss Jess and Brittany Hill (available on iTunes and Amazon!) and have some more releases coming with other artists this summer.
Now about that free song download! Click here to go to the download page for the free MP3 of the pop/dance tune “Wish I May” by Brittany Hill and co-written and produced by Daphne (listen to the full track in the video below). You can download other tracks by Brittany Hill and Miss Jess on iTunes and Amazon (where they’re a steal for $.89 a piece). Enjoy!
Thanks to Daphne for joining us!