Composer Drake reunites with filmmaker Smith on ‘Yoga Hosers’
January 23, 2016
Working with Filmmaker Kevin Smith on the new horror comedy "Yoga Hosers" was a totally different experience for composer Christopher Drake than the first and last time he worked with him.
The first film the two did was 2014’s "Tusk," a horror comedy about a guy who turns into a walrus.
"Kevin was in a different creative space at that time," Drake said during a telephone interview from his office at the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, California. "He was in this punk-rock mentality and wrote a weirdo movie that no one has ever done before. He was in this experimental phase and made the movie on a dare, as if he wanted to know if he could really make this movie."
The two had met a few months before Smith asked Drake to come on board. Smith, a huge Batman fan, was hip to Drake’s work on the animated adaptations of Frank Miller’s seminal graphic novels: "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" — Parts 1 & 2 — and "Batman: Year One," as well as other animated compilations such as "Batman: Gotham Knight" "Wonder Woman," "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" and the best-selling video game, "Batman: Arkham Origins."
"We also bonded over our love for classic horror films, especially the John Carpenter films," Drake said.
When it came time to score "Tusk," Smith showed Drake the edit and hoped he would have something to lock onto.
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"When I saw the footage I told him that it reminded me of a Hammer horror film," Drake said. "So we changed gears and I wrote an orchestral Gothic score."
Fast forward to "Yoga Hosers," which is part of this year’s Sundance Film Festival’s Midnight screenings.
The story is about two sophomore girls, played by Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn and Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose, who uncover an ancient evil after being asked to a senior party by the most popular boy at school.
The film also stars Depp’s Golden Globe Award-winning father Johnny and Justin Long.
"Even though it is a sequel to ‘Tusk,’ has many recurring characters, and takes place in the same stylized Canada called "True North," I found that anything I had composed for ‘Tusk’ would be inappropriate to use," Drake said. "’Yoga Hosers’ is more akin to ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,’ with gremlins and Canadian Nazis."
Smith also took a different approach with the music.
"He had specific ideas of what the music would be like," Drake said. "He knew he wanted an eclectic mix, and I actually created light music in the lines of Elmer Bernstein or Henry Mancini."
While the music in "Tusk" was mainly a tool to set the mood and created a psychological effect, the music in "Yoga Hosers" featured some character themes.
"Kevin wanted me to score it like a Warner Bros. Batman movie, where the girls should have a theme," Drake said. "So, I felt the music should come from the perspective of these two 16-year-old girls and that Johnny’s character would need a theme, which would be more stylized and more fun."
While working on "Yoga Hosers," Drake focused on scoring music in terms of working with the dynamics of the film’s jokes.
"Kevin is known for his dialog and knew when he wanted the music to pause for a line," Drake said. "He wanted the lines to breathe and sink in, and then have the music come back in. Since I’m kind of a Batman-in-an-alley and horror kind of guy, comedies aren’t my first instincts, so I really had to listen to what was going on."
Drake found that in comedy, like horror, music can enhance or get in the way.
"I had to figure out what type of music would make the situation more funny," he said. "So, the music moves from light comedic, orchestral music to analog ’80s horror to full-on superhero action music."
It was a pleasant challenge to push himself in the craft, Drake said.
"To be a composer, you obviously have to have a command of writing music, but what sets us apart from a band or other kind of musician, is that we have to be dramatist," he explained. "I don’t writing music for myself. The music that I create has to support the story and you have to build a relationship with the picture. So, in a sense, the composer becomes an invisible actor in the scene."
Sundance Film Festival will premiere "Yoga Hosers" on Sunday, Jan. 24th at the Library Center Theatre at 11:59 p.m. Additional screenings will be held at the MARC, 1200 Little Kate Rd., on Monday, Jan. 25, at 8:30 p.m.; The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 11:45 p.m. and the Broadway Center Cinema 6, 111 E. Broadway, Salt Lake City, on Friday, Jan. 29, at 11:59 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.sundance.org .