Interview with Anton Garcia: Viy 3D

Escrito por , el 23 febrero 2014 | Publicado en Entrevistas

En ESPAÑOL: Entrevista con Anton García: Viy 3D

As a fan of horror and fantastic cinema, I usually search on Internet through specialized websites or blogs, future projects that are being developed or about to be released, and so, in this way, is how I came to this Russian film Viy 3D (2014) directed by Oleg Stepchenko and starred by Viktor Bychkov, Emma Cerná, Aleksey Chadov, Charles Dance and Jason Flemyng.

The film adapts the short novel Nikolai Gogol (1835), a classic tale of terror about a Russian demon we know as El Viyi, and that has already had three other adaptations in 1960 (Black Sunday), 1967 (Viy) and the 1996 animated film (Viy).

«It’s the early eighteenth century, and Cartographer Jonathan Green undertakes a scientific voyage through Eastern Europe. The suspense begins when travelling through Transylvania and crossing the Carpathians, he comes to a small town that is lost in the woods.

Surprisingly for Jonathan, people living in that place are unlike anyone he has ever seen before. The villagers have the belief that an unknown newcomer (Jonathan) will save them from a powerful evil, something bad that resides in the people, and not stopping this now, would spread chaos throughout the world.

Its great success in Russia, the film has grossed a staggering $ 17 million in its first weekend, made me inquire and discover pleasantly that the film has a touch of Spanish flavor, since its composer Anton Garcia, has Spanish roots.

The Composer

Anton Garcia, born into a Spanish family in Moscow in 1965, began studying music at the tender age of 12. In 1985 he started the first trash metal group in Russia, Shah, which would go on to become the most famous band in the whole country.

After the group split up in 1995, Anton started working as a producer, recording more than 20 LPs and composing songs which would end up being massive MTV hits for various groups. He has created the music for more than one hundred advertisements for prestigious companies and in the year 2000 he started his career as a sound track composer and RFG collaborator.

His most recent feat has been to compose the soundtrack to the Universal Pictures movie Viy 3D. Living in Sevilla, Spain.

The Score

After finding the soundtrack in the network, and listening and enjoying it many times, I can only say that Anton Garcia’s work, pleasantly surprises for its action and adventure sound, with a perfect combination of orchestra and chorus, for example in tracks like Logo, Run Jonathan! or Wolves.

But in the score we also have time for mystery and tension (Second Night or Old church), reminding us that this is a horror movie, and we can even find a place for some melancholy (Mss Dadly or Nastusia) where with this mix of styles, Anton gets what I told before, a job that surely will delight any fan, where you can say “This is the film music I like!”

It’s a pity that the only way for us to enjoy this great score would be in the film itself, and god knows if it will arrive to our screens, since the Russian cinema is not much lavished beyond their borders, or in a chance, on the YouTube channel of Anton Garcia himself, where you can hear around 34 minutes of his recording session, and that’s how I did it.
So due to curiosity, I decided to contact Anton Garcia and do an small interview so he could tell, first hand, how was his experience on this film.

The Interview

At what point did you know you wanted to be a composer and what have your musical influences been? Do you have any favorite classic or contemporary composer?

I knew I wanted to be a composer when I turned 15. At that age I was given a vinyl from Genesis, Fox-trot Album precisely, and this art rock genre influenced me a lot. When I became interested in classical music, I felt great admiration for Bartok, Shostakovich, Barber and Stravisnski.

Before you got to compose soundtracks, we have seen that you started in the first group of Russian trash metal, and then, producing and composing songs and writing music for commercials … What memories do you keep of that time?

My musical life changed when my group was finished, so I started to focus mainly on the composition and production. I started from scratch in a field in which I had no experience. At that time I created a record company when there weren’t many in Russia. I worked with many groups of different styles, as a producer and as a composer.

How did you start writing music for films?

Recording a video for one of the groups, I met the director Oleg Stepchenco and later he proposed me to compose music for his first short film.

Before Viy you have worked with Oleg Stepchenko in Smatyvay udochki (Jacked, 2004) and Muzhskoy sezon. Barkhatnaya revolyutsiya (Velvet Revolution, 2005). How is it working with him? Does he give you creative freedom or you debate on how to focus film’s music?

Working with Oleg is fairly easy, although on our last film Viy, we’ve had different points of view due to the complexity and variety of scenes; action, comedy, horror …. But all this is understandable due to the large budget, 28 million dollars, and the responsibility that comes from working with Universal Pictures.

About the film, can you tell us how was Viy’s creative process? Do you work on the script, on scenes that are being shot, or otherwise when the film is mounted and in post-production stage?

The creative process of the film began on the script; I composed some versions of the main themes, and then when they sent me some scenes I adapted these versions, and when I got the film completely edited, I sent all my work for orchestration.

In the soundtrack you combine action, tension and even melancholy, how is the score structured on a thematic level and how did you work with it?

As I said before, this film’s structure is very complex, and this has been the origin of the differences in the point of view with the director. I sought a more homogeneous music to unify the different themes of the movie.

The recording sessions were performed with the Philharmonic Orchestra City Of Prague, Why did you decide to use that orchestra and what has been your experience with it? Did you previously work with that orchestra?

I think that the Philharmonic Orchestra City Of Prague has now the best value. Actually we had very short time and even the opinion of the orchestra director was that to record this kind of music would take much longer. No, this was the first time I have recorded in Prague as I have previously recorded with the orchestra of Moscow.

For the moment, your work can only be heard on your Youtube portal. Do you know if there is the possibility that it can have a physical release or a digital download sometime?

There are already CDs on sale with the score of my films, and in the future, my website will have my music.

As a curiosity… What do you like or what don’t you like about film music today?

In my opinion modern music has lost originality and is too computerized. Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate one soundtrack from another. Although I like many composers like Howard Shore, Danny Elfman, James Newton Howard or Shirley Walker among others.

And finally, can you tell us something about your upcoming projects or something you would like to do?

Since my current residence is in Spain, I am also open to new projects in this country and having the opportunity to work with directors of my «second home».

Thank you very much for your time Anton, and we hope to see you involved in a project in Spain soon.

Thank you very much to you, it has been a pleasure.