We're more than happy to update our "Lost Art of Interrogation" section interviewing the creators of an icon: Starr Parodi and Jeff Fair, who reworked the immortal notes of the James Bond Theme for the GOLDENEYE trailer, bringing a classic tune into the '90s without losing its original style. Starr and Jeff are an American wife and husband composing team who have worked together composing music mainly for the film industry, including the classic United Artists jingle that opened the '90s productions of the company including GOLDENEYE.
Was your James Bond Theme reversion for the GOLDENEYE trailer actually your first hit? How did you get involved on that one, by the fact you also worked on the then new United Artists jingle?
Yes, the James Bond Theme version that we produced, arranged and recorded for the GOLDENEYE Trailers was our first hit. We recorded it in our living room! (which doubled as studio tracking room). We got involved because at the time we were just starting to score movie trailers and had just developed a relationship over at MGM with Joe Nimziki who we thought was quite a visionary. After we created the theme he saw it as a music video style teaser with very little dialog. We scored almost all of MGM's film trailers for several years after that as well as working on many special projects for them and GOLDENEYE was one of the first ones we worked on (as well as the United Artists Logo). It was all part of the same department at MGM, and Bond was one of the many films they had at the movie studio that we scored the trailers for.
You surely know the GOLDENEYE promotion was a big challenge since it was the introduction of a new 007 and at the same time the absence of the character for six and a half years, have you felt the pressure while working on it or was more like a pleasant job?
We were so happy to have the opportunity to work on such a wonderful project. This was before many of the other themes had been redone (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, THE SAINT, WILD WILD WEST, etc…all of which we also worked on). It was a challenge, however there were not a lot of other models to work from and the studio was not asking us to copy something that had previously been done, but just to be creative and come up with a new idea to introduce the new Bond character. Something that was modern and had a cool feeling. They were open to hearing anything we wanted to try. Overall It was a great experience working on the theme.
What was the first idea that came to your mind while having to work with the John Barry/Monty Norman composition? Was there a reason why you went to that modern approach or you always wanted to keep the original style without going too techno on it?
When MGM asked us to work on the trailer, there was no picture yet to see, just a concept of bringing Bond back after many years away and also introducing a new James Bond character. We wanted it to be fresh, have a cool feel and yet have some of the organic flavor of the original. We made a demo of an initial idea (which incorporated the intro to the piece as it is now) which starts out with multilayered ambient guitars and low trombones. As a starting place we initially did the whole theme in a more ambient, moody direction. The studio really loved the way it started but wanted the piece to have lots of energy as the music came into the main theme, so we did this, and then returned to the ambient section at the end. Sometimes working with a studio can be a lot of pressure to create lots of versions of a project but in this case, they really liked our initial idea and the process of creating this version really flowed.
Your version was finally released on the 2002 edition of the "Best Of Bond" compilation after being claimed by fans and it has won plenty of awards, how have you felt by the fact that a "trailer music" has been so popular in the Bond fandom?
It's great that so many of the Bond fans connected with the piece. It was a tremendous honor to work on and the fans were really the ones that got the GOLDENEYE Trailer Bond Theme music on the Best of Bond CD by sending so many requests to MGM for the music. We were not even aware that our theme had achieved Gold Record status here in the U.S. until we literally saw a Bond Gold record on the wall of one of the MGM music executives.
You also reworked the Bond theme for some DIE ANOTHER DAY TV spots,
how did it happened that the Bond people came back to both of you?
The executives at MGM/UA were really pleased with the way our musical ideas connected with Bond fans and their response to the GOLDENEYE trailers, so we actually ended up working on the movie trailers and many TV spots for DIE ANOTHER DAY, THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and TOMORROW NEVER DIES in addition to GOLDENEYE. There are versions that we have done that have probably not even been heard! We ended up working on all these because they were MGM/UA films and at that time we were doing the music for all the studio's movie trailers so these films were part of their roster that we were working on.
Which is your favourite Bond film? And, if there is one, your favourite James Bond Theme version besides the one you made?
We loved DR.NO and also, have a very soft spot in our heart for GOLDENEYE as well since that was our entry into becoming involved with Bond films. Both are great adventures. We are big fans of the original Monty Norman/John Barry version of the theme as well. In addition we loved how David Arnold with Nicholas Dodd orchestrating treated the theme. Starr did a recording a few years ago called "Common Places" (which was solo piano recording of the year solopianoradio.com) and did a very different moody version of the theme using only solo piano.
What were your musical influences for all your careers? You also worked on films like VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 and HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 which is a wide of movie generes.
We listen to all styles of music so much of the time and are immersed in it! Classically, I would have to say our influences include some of the modern classical Polish film composers born in the 1930's ( Gorecki, Kilar) as well as Italian film composer Ennio Morricone. We also like modern pop artists that push the envelope a bit with new original energy.
Any upcoming projects on the horizon? Would you return for another Bond one?
We have been working on so many new projects. We scored a film called BERT STERN: ORIGINAL MADMAN that was in theaters in the US a few months ago, and worked on the soundtrack for that film as well which includes some previously unreleased Louis Armstrong tracks. Starr is working on a new recording with solo piano and orchestra and also writing songs with former lead singer of the Temptations - Louis Price. We also wrote the theme for the current animated series TRANSFORMERS: RESCUE BOTS which is sung by Josh Ramsay (Call Me Maybe) from the band Marianas Trench.
We send a big thank you for such a talented musicans who contributed to the success of the post-Cold War 007 adventures. We'll also invite you to check out Starr's new piano solo album "Common Places" which can be bought on iTunes. It includes a nice rendition of the James Bond Theme, too! For more information regarding the duo, visit their site at www.parodifair.com