Stories » Johann Johannsson - 'People are hungry for new sounds' / theguardian

Top 10 for Aug

Johann Johannsson - 'People are hungry for new sounds' / theguardian

Bookmark and Share

Whether it's a John Carpenter classic or Jonny Greenwood's experimental modernism, the film soundtrack is becoming ever more popular as a standalone listen. Contemporary Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson reckons that's because "people are hungry for new sounds, and for the experience of listening to unfamiliar music that you don't hear on commercials and in every TV show". He should know. Jóhannsson has written boldly impressionistic scores for numerous high-profile films, including Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory Of Everything, darkly emotional revenge piece Prisoners and drug-cartel thriller Sicario, where he used a 65-piece orchestra to convey ominous intensity; and he's earned two Oscar nominations in the process. The common thread in his work is his treatment of the score as an integral element of the overall sound design, rather than an independent composition imposed on it. Jóhannsson's latest work is the soundtrack to smart sci-fi thriller Arrival, starring Amy Adams. Here, he offers his top tips for writing a winning movie score.