GuyGross.jpg (6890 bytes)Four Questions with Guy Gross, Farscape's Music Composer......

Besides writing the music for Farscape, Guy Gross scored such goodies as "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "Silent Storm" which was narrated by Paula Arundell (Talikaa in Twice Shy). 

For the music for The Peacekeeper Wars, guy used the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Q1: You've got an impressive resume of scoring everything from animated television shows to feature length film. Which would be your favorite variety to compose the music for and why?

Guy:  To be honest, I'm loving Farscape.  It's my first long term TV series. (Didn't I land on my feet!)  It really sits well within my musical vocabulary.  Sometimes on projects you have to be less-than-true to your musical self.  That's not the case with Farscape.  I write it as I feel it and everyone seems to like it.  But more generally, I'm a romantic at heart.  Any project that requires series melody and strong harmony and I'm in!  And with my animation background (my family run an animation studio in Sydney which did the animation on 316) I really enjoy serious "Mickey mousing".  [The art of musically following exactly each movement on screen]

Q2: Could you please give a description of the steps involved with creating a score for an episode of Farscape from beginning to end? What sort of time frame do you have?

Guy: It all starts with the brief.  The director(s) and sometimes producer and all the sound department sit around and watch the finished ep; starting and stopping it when necessary to discuss various ideas.  Then we all go off and do our thing.  I compose by improvising to picture using a G4 Mac running Digital Performer software.  I arrange, perform and mix myself.  There's not enough time to bring in a team to help so the buck stops with me.  Which in this case is a great thing. I usually get Andrew Prowse around to check the score before the "final mix playback" so if there are any changes I can do them immediately. I get around 10 days to score.  I usually do an ep in around 5 days and leave a few days up my sleeve for any problems.  Last season I was also directing and scoring a kids animated TV series so my time was pretty precious.  Next season I'm only doing Farscape.  (Famous last words!)

Q3: As the composer, what is your goal in scoring an episode of Farscape? Do you seek to convey mood? Or is it a character-centric method?

Guy: It's all about telling the story.  I have to make sure the audience feel the intention of the writers, director, actors, editors etc..  So if someone's in trouble, my score's got to make sure that that sentiment is understood clearly.  The trick lies with the degree of subtlety you use to create the various emotions.   Also there's no use trying to create a mood of something that's not apparent anywhere else on the screen.  There are a few instances where I have developed character themes but they're only used if the emotional content of the sequence warrants use of the theme.

Q4: Since you've taken on the scoring of Farscape after Subvision, what are some changes that you've brought to the music?

Guy: To be honest, I haven't seen many eps that Subvision did.  The few I did see I noticed they had a great way of heightening the energy and pace of large sequences.  And a terrific use of electronic sounds. My scores tend to start and stop much more and I am a serious traditionalist.  Mostly using orchestral sounds.  I think any other comparison is best left to the fans.  Suffice to say that Subvision set up a terrific world which got the fans in early and often!

Many thanks to Mr. Gross for taking the time to visit with us at karlsweb. For more information about Guy Gross, you can visit his website at http://www.ggm.com.au or check out his 2001 chat at with the SciFi channel.

Amy J

Editor

Karlsweb Farscape E-Zine


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