VGM194 Artist Series Vol 21 – Pablo Garmon – Synecdoche


Album Description

Music textures move and sing inside the stillness of a photograph, the branches of a naked tree, the frame of a window open to a night of rain. Like trying to catch the break of dawn, the rhythms and soundscapes of a minimalist orchestra blend with soft electronica to close focus on any given moment and capture its elusive fleetingness.

Check out the full album on YouTube!

Pablo Garmon VGM Artist Interview

Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) of choice


Define you personal sound

I think my tastes pretty much inform what I write. I love that old Hollywood sound so of course I’m into sweeping string melodies and bold brass, but I’m also a big fan of minimalism and electronic music so as many other contemporary composers I have this ‘grid’ that adds a stylistic structure to my scores — and which usually serves as the foundation for my jazz tendencies, sometimes harmonically but mostly improvisational at the piano. Being Spanish is also a factor, I have this mix of Celtic and Middle Eastern influences that may pop up in the most unexpected places. And I’ve been told that there’s a shade of nostalgia in a good part of my work but I don’t think that necessarily makes it sad: some things are so beautiful precisely because they won’t last forever, and if my music is occasionally that bittersweet, that’s okay. Music is an art of time — so let’s enjoy it while we can.

Outline your approach to scoring to picture

I believe that one of the most important parts of scoring to picture is to understand that the music is only one part of the film. Composing without thinking about the cinematography, the sound effects, the dialogue, the editing, etc. may make beautiful concert music but ultimately fail its mission: to support the film and, fingers crossed, make it better. That’s the reason why it’s so important to talk with the director, with the editor, to understand the story from a visual and narrative point of view and not merely from a musical one. With this understanding you may realise that what sounded like a step back in your music is two steps forward for the film. And sometimes it also helps understand what the hell they’re asking you to do, so there’s that.

Describe how you tackle a creative brief

When facing a new creative brief, I usually ask myself two things: 1) have I done this before? 2) and if not, can I imagine myself doing it? If the answer to any of them is yes, I go for it. The second ‘yes’ is obviously the most exciting because, no matter how much homework and preparation you need to do, if you know that this music is somewhere inside you, that discovery is very much worth the challenge alone. You struggle, you learn and that final score, whether amazing or amazingly bad, will give you the answer for next time.

Discuss the theme of your Artist Series album

As a media composer, making all kinds of music for all kinds of projects is my bread and butter, I go from one world to another, tell one thousand stories, sometimes from week to week. It’s a lot of fun, but also what makes this album so refreshing: in this case I had the luxury to slow down for a little while, do a bit of self-reflection and create music that told a more personal, intimate story. The title is ‘Synecdoche’ and it represents a sonic journey through frozen landscapes and warm fires, monuments of concrete and rising tides, beauty, loss and hope. I wrote it with a distinct neoclassical style, full of lush strings, electronic textures and piano echoes. It’s a small but significant part of my past year and I’m very excited to share it with the world.