Interview: Chris Tilton On Composing FRINGE In The Moment



Fringe composer Chris Tilton recently spoke to Film Music Media about his experience composing for television and video games, and his work on the FOX sci-fi series. There’s also a bit on his Alias days too.

Check out the quotables right after the jump.

Working on Fringe must pose some challenges. How long does it take you to compose 1 episode from blank page to final mix?

I usually have about 3-4 days write the score, and one day to record. So far in season 3, it’s averaged about 20-25 minutes of music per episode.

Michael Giacchino worked a little bit on season 1 with you and Chad Seiter. Did he bring any words of wisdom of how he approached scoring on a TV timeframe?

I guess it’s not words of wisdom, per say, but more just watching Michael do what he does over the past… going on 10 years now, working for him. I think the primary thing I’ve learned from him when working in TV is to just make sure you hit the points or emotional beats you need to hit. In the world of TV, people’s attention spans can be short. It’s so easy to just change the channel, so it becomes increasingly more important to just hit those right moments no matter what. If there’s time, then you can go back and finesse or refine what you’ve done.

With TV scoring do you usually score in the moment or are you already thinking about how the music is going to grow throughout the season and beyond?

I’m thinking more in the moment. I want to be scoring it as if I’m right there reacting to the show, emotionally, with the audience. Sometimes it’s appropriate to foreshadow, but most of the time I don’t know what’s going to happen next either! Where the show goes, is where the music goes. I do try to keep things consistent though. So far, I think each season of Fringe has had a little bit of it’s own identity, musically.

Did working on Alias help you prepare at all for Fringe?

Absolutely. Michael said when he started working on Alias, it was like composing boot camp. And that’s exactly what it felt like when I started writing for it in the later seasons. You’ve got to train yourself to just get it done, which makes you much better prepared for any time constraints in other mediums.

You can check out the entire interview here. You can also find Chris Tilton’s official website here.

One of the most resonating scores for me this season has to be the incredible ‘Newton Death’ piece, which has gone on to become somewhat of a character theme for Altlivia. Looking back, I think it’s been a very good season musically for Fringe, you can certainly see how the music (and ‘sounds’ in general) have evolved along with the show over the seasons.

Incidentally, the Fringe Season 2 Soundtrack (Amazon link) is also released tomorrow, May 3.

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