Paul J. Salamoff


Questions for Paul: Music

Recently I’ve started getting writing prompts from friends, colleagues, and fans and I’ve decided to respond to some of them here on my blog. Today we’ve got our first…

“OK Paul, If you were to soundtrack your writing time, what would we find you playing? Bonus question: What’s the soundtrack to The Silent Planet? Who would you love to see do the score?”

-Oren Nichols

Listening to the right music when I write helps me get in the mood and mindset for what I’m working on. I found that I can’t listen to music with lyrics as it becomes distracting. Film score music has the opposite effect and generally enhances my overall writing experience and productivity.

It’s a big plus that I am a massive film music fan. Not only do I own over 500 CDs in my collection, but I have seen many composers live on stage with orchestras. I have also been lucky enough to go to private functions with composers or have even attended scoring sessions while the scores were recorded.

I take great effort in curating the music that I listen to based on the genre and tone of what story I’m working on, so it begs the question of what I listened to while I was conceiving and writing The Silent Planet.

Even though we’re now in the world of digital music with most scores available to me at the click of a button, I still will start by going to my extensive CD collection and browsing through the titles that way first. My scores are organized alphabetically by composer and then in order of each film’s release. Sometimes I want to listen to a particular composer rather than stick to a specific genre.

For The Silent Planet, my main “set list” included Both Blade Runner (Vangelis) and Blade Runner 2049 (Hans Zimmer / Benjamin Wallfisch), as well as Solaris (Cliff Martinez), Oblivion (M83), and Annihilation (Geoff Barrow / Ben Salisbury). I would pepper in a few random scores here and there that focus on the drama or listen to a compilation by a specific composer. Howard Shore, Mychael Danna, and David Julyan have a certain tone that fits well with The Silent Planet and was equally as helpful for how I envisioned the ultimate feel of the story.

Finding the proper music for a story is something I not only spend a lot of time thinking about, but it’s something I greatly enjoy as well as the more the story comes alive for you during its creation, the more cohesive it ultimately will be. Plus, you sometimes need that extra something to keep you going during those lonely hours alone while writing.

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