Thomas Newman Relies On PMC

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thomas Newman

Hollywood composer Thomas Newman, fresh from completing the score to the smash success 50th anniversary James Bond film Skyfall, has revealed that his main monitors all through the writing process were a pair of PMC IB2S XBD-Actives.

Newman, who was offered the job on Skyfall by Director Sam Mendes, moved to London temporarily from June to October this year to write the score. He has used PMC loudspeakers in his Los Angeles-based writing With Skyfall already the most successful James Bond film ever, and calls for Sam Mendes to return to direct the next instalments in the franchise, does Thomas Newman think he might be back with Bond next time too? "I've not even thought about it," he breathes. "It would be lovely to be asked — but I would never want to assume that I would be!" for over 15 years, and his longstanding West Coast-based mix engineer collaborator Tommy Vicari is also a PMC user. He auditioned the recently launched active IB2s in LA just before moving across the Atlantic in the early summer.

"Recently I started to get more of a relationship with PMC through their US sales guys, and they offered to set me up with some speakers for my writing room in London during the Bond project. But for the first 15 years of using PMC speakers, I had no real relationship with the company; I was just a user of their loudspeakers. That's always the better way for it to be. I haven't just started using PMCs because I've got to know the guys from the company; I'm a genuine advocate of their products."

According to the composer, Skyfall — Newman's first Bond score — was one of the most intense projects he had worked on. "I don't think I've ever written as much music for a movie — there's 95 minutes of it. Much of it was action cues, where there are a lot more notes. And of course, it's the 50th anniversary Bond film, too…!" Most of September and October, he admits, were a blur of writing, recording and mixing, without too much in the way of sleep or rest.

With time to complete the score in short supply, most of the music for the film was composed and arranged in his digital workstation of choice, Avid Pro Tools together with MOTU's Digital Performer, for the sake of expediency. "I did have another room with a piano — but most of the music for this film was created at the computer," he admits. The PMCs in the writing room were therefore an essential part of the early composition process.

"I've always been impressed with the ability their speakers have to handle kick drums and the low end of things… sounds that hit a speaker hard," explains Newman. "But the main thing about them, for me, is that they make speakers that I forget are there. You stop thinking of them as speakers - they're a conduit for music and sound, and you just believe what you're hearing."