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With the Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox – Music From The DC Universe Animated Original Movie soundtrack release available to own on compact disc courtesy of La-La Land Records - through the label's website and a host of online retail vendors - The World's Finest caught up with Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox composer Frederik Wiedmann to discuss his work on the recent acclaimed animated feature. Weidmann covers a host of topics, including character themes, composing for animated movies and television shows, and what he has coming in the future. Keep reading for more ...

The World's Finest: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is your first work on a DC Universe Animated Original Movie project. What type of pros and cons come with working on a movie project as opposed to your regular animated television stomping grounds?

Frederik Wiedmann: With a feature film such as Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, you're only in for the ride for about six weeks total, then the movie wraps and you move on. On an episodical TV series like Green Lantern: The Animated Series or Beware the Batman, you need a lot more discipline and endurance, as this project returns every week with a new episode. It's a long-lasting gig, and you have to deliver top quality every week or so. I have to say I don't prefer one or the other, both are exciting and fun. The great thing about these type of DC feature films is that the budget generally allows me to record a portion of the orchestra live, and that is always a real treat! In TV, the budgets tend to be a little tighter for that sort of thing.

WF: For Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, when it came to creating themes and cues, did you approach the characters in a singular fashion (each character has a theme) or with a more team-based approached (the Justice League has a theme, the good guys have a theme, the Amazon, etc.).? Why?

FW: It was a mix I suppose. Flash certainly had his own theme, Hal Jordan had a "Green Lantern theme" (although he really wasn't a GL in this parallel universe). I also had a theme for Superman (very eerie and somewhat tragic) and Aquaman. There is also a big epic theme for the entire Justice League (can be heard in the track "Justice League" on the soundtrack). The Amazons don't really have a distinct theme, but more an array of ancient greek and worldly instruments, such as the Duduk, Saz, Djumbush, and so on. As to why I did this, it's really a choice between me, [director] Jay Oliva and [producer] James Tucker. These type of ideas emerge from our spotting session, where we decide where music comes in and out and so forth.

WF: Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox has a mix of very action-oriented series and some serious emotional beats. How different is your mindset when you approach something like an action scene, as opposed to more serious, somber moment.

FW: When I am dealing with a long and intense action sequence, I have to write a lot more notes than in a somber/emotional moment. So I am very focused on make this scene flow without sounding repetitive, but still hitting all the beats necessary. Sometimes working out the complexity of the tempo and rhythms of an action cue can be quite the task. For the more emotional scenes thematic development is key in my opinion. If I was able to set up thematic material early on, it really adds a whole new level of emotion tot he scene if I can recall certain themes in certain moments, with different arrangements. It's a lot more of a structural riddle than action music.

WF: As a quick follow-up to the previous two questions, are there any themes or moments in particular that you're very fond of, in terms of both the actual scene and your score work?

FW: I always liked the cue when we learn how the alternate universe happened to exist (the track is "Redux" on the soundtrack). It's a very emotional cue, combining the "forbidden" love story between Aquaman and Wonder Woman, as well as a tragic event in a Gotham city dark alley. I was always very proud of this piece.

WF: You were able to work with a larger orchestra for Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. Does that change your approach to scoring a project? How does scoring a big project like Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox compare to scoring something like Beware The Batman, with a considerably smaller budget?

FW: Like I mentioned above, having the budget to record an orchestra is always amazing. I would do it every day if I could. Especially when you work with L.A's finest, which we did for Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. For Beware the Batman, it's a different challenge. The tone we decided on is for the most part very "non-orchestral," but driven by heavy synths, guitars, some wind instruments and dark industrial percussion. The challenge here is to find ways to create an organic sound regardless of the synth-y palette. Every week I record a fantastic musician called Steve Tavaglione. He plays an instrument call the EWI, with which he triggers all sorts of interesting electronic sounds and manages to humanize them to a degree I never could. He is a great and crucial part of the score to Beware The Batman. So I work with soloists like him to create a high quality product.

WF: Your work on Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and Beware The Batman are all very distinct. Do you make a conscious effort to make sure one project does not sound similar to the last? Does that add a degree of difficulty or freedom? Why?

FW: Absolutely. I always try to do something different than I have done before. It's better to not repeat yourself too much down the road, for you as an artist as well as for the project. I get a lot more excited if I feel I am doing something fresh (at least to my ears). A lot of it also evolves from the discussions I have with the film makers. I am usually given a distinct direction for each project, and it is then up to me to take that approach into a new direction.

WF: Some of the best score work comes from animated projects, including projects such as Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and Green Lantern: The Animated Series (which earned you some award nominations). Do you think scores from animated titles tend to be overlooked? Why?

FW: Well, I actually think animated music has a lot of weight in the industry. Maybe not as much the direct-to-video projects, but bigger theatrical films make it to the Oscars a great deal (like Up, How to Train Your Dragon, Ratatouille, and so on). I suppose it depends on the size of the audience for the animated project. And I am very happy that there is enough interest in my animation music work that it justifies a soundtrack release. La-La Land Records has been absolutely wonderful in accommodating these scores for the fans.

WF: To touch upon your other work briefly, you're scoring the current Beware The Batman animated series. It has a pretty distinct sound, and uses a heavy amount of themes and cues. Care to run us through the inspiration behind your Beware The Batman work? Is there a chance we'll see a soundtrack release for it?

FW: The musical direction I was given for Beware The Batman was an interesting one. When I first sat down with Glen Murakami and Mitch Watson, we discussed some vibes that they initially had thought of. Among them were several 1980's electronic bands, like Massive Attack. Blade Runner was mentioned, as well as James Bond (particularly John Barry). And all of this had to have a certain "superhero" quality to it, of course. I have to be honest - I did not know right away what this "sound" would be. So, I sat down and worked on twelve ideas, all different, but somewhat related to our idea. We then dissected these sketches and found a lot of things that worked great.And, out of that eventually emerged the "vibe" of the score. It was an interesting process, but I do feel that we found something very cool that so far we have not heard for The Caped Crusader.

WF: Moving on to one of your other upcoming projects - the upcoming Son of Batman direct-to-video animated feature. How does comparing a Batman animated film differ from working on the Beware The Batman series? Did some themes cross over, or did the new material lead you to an entirely new approach? Can you give us a tease as to just how you'll be scoring this title and what we can expect?

FW: This film is in it's own universe. It's a standalone story, so all the thematic material is unique to this project. There are a handful of Asian elements in this score - so it's got a strong ethnic component along with the darker orchestral palette. The other thing I need to be cautious of is the structure. In Son of Batman I have 80-some minutes to build my musical story arch. In Beware The Batman I have 22-minute episodes, but need to build an even bigger arc across all 26 episodes. It's always a challenge, and definitely fun!

WF: Swinging it back to Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, with the soundtrack now available, are you happy with how the release came about? What about La-La Land's efforts to keep bringing these great animated scores to light?

FW: I am very involved in creating the soundtrack - I love doing the sequencing myself, and I usually spend a fair amount of time making sure the album "flows" well. The team at La-La Land Records is outstanding, and they love this material as much as I do, which makes it a perfect match for a great release. They are extremely supportive of my animated scores, for which I am eternally grateful for. This label rocks!

WF: Wrapping up this, do you have any last thoughts on Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and where fans can find some of your upcoming works?

FW: Son of Batman is next, and I am hoping Beware the Batman will have a soundtrack release as well, but nothing set in stone at this point.

I also wrote most of ICON's new album "Dawning Promises" - this was just recently released. It's a wonderful album with tons of epic, sweeping orchestral music. Listening to this will get your day started right! I highly recommend checking this one out! You can find it on iTunes!

The 'Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox – Music From The DC Universe Animated Original Movie' soundtrack CD release retails for $19.98 US, and is currently available to order through the official La-La Land Records website and other online specialty vendors.

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and related characters and indicia are property of DC Comics and WB, starting 2001. The World's Finest and everything relating to this site - copyright, starting 1998.
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