Craig Wedren took some time to talk to us about what it’s like to make music for film and television, what he’s working on, and more. Check out the full interview below.
We’ve recently seen more and more musicians getting involved directly with film and television. How did that come about for you?
From very early on -even when I was playing in bands- I always had a home studio where I made more experimental, film-like music. When I went to college, many of my closest friends (David Wain, Thomas Lennon, Michael Patrick Jann) were in film school and would turn to me for music, largely because I was the only guy they knew who was in a proper band, Shudder To Think, with actual records! Everything evolved from there.
With “No Estoy Triste,” did you know up front it would be used for the end credits?
I wrote No Estoy Triste specifically for the end credits of Latin Lover. Ken Marino, who directed (another one of my besties from college) wanted an upbeat, family-themed closing song that would leave the audience humming and happy. It popped out very quickly and immediately felt right, but it took a minute to figure out the right lyric bc my Spanish is basically 8th grade level(::
When you create original songs for film or TV, how does the process differ from making music for yourself?
In a band, one is usually saying “FU” to any-and-everyone else telling you what to do (except maybe your bandmates). Its an expression of freedom, independence and uniqueness of expression -its meant to be ‘foreground’ music, the sole focus of attention.
Movie music is explicitly about taking direction, it tends to be assignment-based, and needs to serve a larger vision. Its usually background music. I think of it like acting, where you take on a character, and speak through it. Movie music is frequently meant to be background music, subliminally directing the emotions of the audience. For me, personal music music for film are totally complimentary, and at this point I wouldn’t want to do one without the other.
Are you given any direction on what feeling the song should embody or where it’ll be used?
On a film or TV show, the director and I will discuss what the music for a given scene -or for the show as a whole- needs to convey, story-wise, emotionally, and ion terms of character or relationships. Then I go from there. Direction is vital in film and TV, although sometimes I like to create sketches and pitch my own ideas and impressions based on just the script, before the director and I get into it.
Going back a bit, what was it like working on a movie like School of Rock?
School Of Rock was a dream. My friend Randy Poster (music supervisor) called and asked me to write a ‘Creed-like’ power ballad for the evil band No Vacancy, and then they needed some instrumental score for the rest of the film. I also got to rehears with the kids, which was a blast. I feel very fortunate to have been involved in that one -a classic imo.
Do you have a favorite song from these projects or do you like them all for different reasons?
I’ve made so many songs and scores at this point that its hard to keep track, but I have a particular fondness for the songs from Wet Hot American Summer, particularly “Higher and Higher” from the movie (co-written with my friend Theodore Shapiro), and the original songs my team -Pink Ape- and I made for Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp on Netflix. Those songs still get stuck in my craw.
Do you have anything in the works right now or in the near future?
I’m finishing up my new album Adult Desire right now. It’ll be out late-Summer/early Fall 2017. There will also be an accompanying album length video that I’m concocting. Very excited! Also, look out for the TV show GLOW on Netflix in June. Its about women’s wrestling in the ’80s, and I love the music we made for it. And Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later will be out this Summer, too! It takes place in 1991 so there’s lots of fun music or fans, particularly Gen-Xers.
Thanks for your time! Where can our readers follow you?
Thank you! Here are my handles..
FB: @craigwedrenmusic; @shuddertothinkofficial