He’s the musical muse and award-winning composer, well known in his native Canada but making a name for himself in the states with his mood altering scores on ‘Being Human‘. He’s FM Le Sieur and I had the pleasure to sit down with him—figuratively speaking—and explore what makes the man and his music tic.
ScienceFiction (SF): Thank you for the taking time to answer some questions. The first one I have to ask is what was that feeling like when you were given the reigns to score your very first project? Is that a feeling that persists every day you wake up, knowing you have another day doing what you love?
FM Le Sieur (FM): The feeling is always the same when you begin a new project: a mix of exaltation, excitement and total panic!!!! But soon as you start to find your music themes, or the textures of the music, the fun comes back. On each project, there are always some cues, or some sessions, when you have this feeling: a kind of epiphany. You suddenly realize, “I love my job. I am writing music for TV Shows and Movies and it’s fantastic!!!”
SF: On to ‘Being Human’, how did things develop for you to become the master of music, so to speak, for one of the better fantasy/sci-fi shows out there?
FM: Well, the ‘Being Human’ team was looking for a composer who could give them a distinctive, original sound. So I submitted five music cues that I wrote to some excerpts from the script. When I got the job Jeremy (the show runner for seasons 1 & 2 and co-creator of the American version of the show) told me they were especially fond of two of my sketches. Those two cues happened to become Aidan’s theme, and the compelling theme for the show.
SF: What’s the process for scoring an episode of Being Human from start to finish?
FM: First I receive a video version of the episode with my music from previous seasons edited in by the video editors as what we call a “temp track”. Then I have a spotting session with our showrunner, Stefen Pleszinski, and the main writer, Anna Fricke. We watch the episode and discuss the role of the music in each scene. Sometimes they also brief me about some of the characters and their evolution in the story. Then the works really begins…. As always, when you score you have to find the arcs in the story; the small arc of the characters, and a global arc for the entire show or the series. That’s how I decide if I will do variations on a musical theme, or if I will have to write an entirely new cue. And of course all this according to the discussions we had in the spotting session.
Then after couple days of hard work… I submit the episode to Anna and Stefen. There are notes and fine-tuning, and then it is sent to the network. When I have approval from everyone, the music mix begins. The music mix is always a bit touchy because I have a tendency to overdrive everything and my sound mixer tries to rebalance everything in a way that will let the audience actually hear some dialogue. When my music mix is finished, I send the music in another studio for the final mix. That’s where they mix the dialogue, music and FX.
SF: During your time on the show, are there any episodes or particular scenes that you look back on and say “I really loved what I did with that”?
FM: There are a lot of episodes from each season that I have fond memories of. This year, episode 8… I can’t tell you anymore until it airs on TV! Last year I had a lot of fun with the character of Donna (the witch). On season 2 the character called The Reaper was also a lot of fun.
SF: Were there any scenes that, after looking back on it, you would have gone in a different direction?
FM: Not really… maybe I wished we could have heard more of the “Compelling theme”.
SF: What inspires you when you create the soundtrack?
FM: My first inspiration is the story, then the characters. But I also have the editing and the way it’s been shot. I am very sensible to what I see. If it’s been shot in a dark way or if it’s been a handheld shot, close-up, travelling shots; everything fuels my imagination. In ‘Being Human’, the aspect of the story that first struck me was the bonding between Aidan, Josh, Sally, and then Nora. Very early on I felt their connection which was the key to my score.
SF: Outside of the work you do for Aidan, Josh, Sally, Nora and the gang, are there any shows/characters you would love to have a hand in scoring, even if it’s only for one episode?
FM: There are a lot of TV shows I wish I could have scored!!!! I love ‘House of Cards’ and also ‘Homeland’, and my colleagues are doing great jobs on them. I think they are great shows with great opportunities for making great music.
SF: Are there any projects in your near future that you are excited to begin?
FM: Right after I finish Season 4 of ‘Being Human’, I am starting a feature film. It’s a heartfelt comedy about an action movie director who, after a fan died imitating a stunt in his movie, wants to make things right by filming a documentary about a young veteran.
Le Sieur’s soundtracks from the first three seasons of the show are now available digitally to fans through iTunes in the US and Canada and Amazon everywhere else.