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Interview with Composers: "Matteo Zingales and Antony Partos" on their recent project "Fahrenheit 451"

Jeremy [Six Strings]: How do you come to work on project "Fahrenheit 451", did you know the history behind it and what were your first reactions?

We had worked with the director Ramin Bahrani on his previous film ‘99 Homes’. Ramin had made the leap of faith to work with us remotely- with him based in New York and us in Australia. We only met in person for the first time when that film screened at The Sydney Film Festival.  Knowing the history of the novel and Truffaut’s adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, we were keen to see how this rendition could capture the spirit of the book, whilst addressing aspects of social media that were not present at the time the book was written. 

Jeremy [Six Strings]: From project to project like "Fahrenheit 451", how do you attack it, musically... and do you find it easier working with a familiar team?

We were keen to create a unique pallet, so we spent a lot of time initially sampling and making sounds both from musical and non musical sources. We were interested in making a homage to Bernard Hermann as the composer of the original film, but only in a stylistic rather than thematic sense.

Matteo and I have collaborated for many years and so have developed a relationship based on a shared musical aesthetic. Building a team you trust is vital, especially working under extremely tight deadlines. We do however try to keep being  inventive by employing different composing techniques and using musicians who can also bring creative ideas to the project.

Jeremy [Six Strings]: How does this differ from other finished projects, did you get "creative freedom" on this or did the people involved give you guidelines?

Ramin gave us free range to explore textures, styles and themes. We started giving him examples to be used as Ramin began cutting. It was from these first drafts that the themes were eventually born.

Despite this, we only started scoring to picture once the film was ‘locked off’. We found that it is important for the film to find its own inherent rhythm and pace. Much of what we created initially were broad moods and a lot of it was not usable, as the final product needed much more sudden gear shifts.

Jeremy [Six Strings]: When preparing for a film, what are some of your techniques or any personal omens/superstitions?

I don’t think we think about omens! We do tend to burn the midnight oil and so it is hard to get a sense of perspective working so intensely and on individual scenes. It is important to view the film as a whole and get a sense of the overall rhythm. Preparing the pallet and template is key to a smooth creative process. It establishes the language. The pallet is always built upon as one progresses through the film, but it is the root of any composition and thematic content. We like to mix up electronic elements with acoustic ones as it broadens the depth of the score. Exploring synthetic sounds or treating acoustic ones not only broadens the scope of the music, it also creates the ability to tackle the psychological depths of the human condition.

Jeremy [Six Strings]: Outside of yourself, who are some of your personal favorite composers current, classic and legends? Have you had the opportunity meet and work with some of them... can you share some "that's cool" moments?

(Matteo Zingales) Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s I was heavily influenced by the films and their music of that era. Influences range from all forms and styles of music. “That’s cool” moments for me was the first time I heard something I’d written for orchestra played live. I can’t single out any composers directly, the list would be far too long, but rather certain films and their scores that have touch me influencing and driving me to become the composer I am.

(Antony Partos) I am drawn to a  wide range of musical influences from Bach to Radio Head. Film Music is becoming more homogenized so it is important to be inspired by a diverse range of multicultural influences as well as styles. I agree with Matteo in so far as the feeling of hearing an orchestra perform your music for the first time is the most exciting thing a composer can experience. The weight of the number of musicians all playing something together that once only existed in your head is very special.  I also will never forget that my journey as a film composer only started when I was 16 when my father and I gave a lift to a stranger whose partner was a film director. They in turn took a chance on me scoring their film, and my career was born!

Jeremy [Six Strings]: THANK YOU, you guys have some great music under your musical belt and this release for “Fahrenheit 451” is just as powerful... best of luck two the both of you.


-Matteo Zingales is a multi award-winning composer who writes evocative original music for film and television.

Matteo has just wrapped on the HBO feature film, Fahrenheit 451 which airs in May this year. Other recent projects include the upcoming ABC drama series Harrow, TV Mini-Series Wake in Fright and Showtime's The Kettering Incident, (both recipients of the AACTA Award for Best Original Music Score in Television), US ABC prime-time TV thriller Secrets and Lies and Foxtel's Australia Day.

Feature films include 99 Homes (ASGC Winner Feature Film Score of the Year) The Lost Aviator, The Hunter and Not Suitable for Children (both of which earned him the AACTA Award for Best Original Music Score).

ASCAP Screen Music Awards honoured Matteo as a top composer in 2016.

In addition to his film work, Matteo worked on the Australian launch of Netflix, Samsung and Tiger Beer campaigns and has also composed music for TV series including Redfern Now, Better Man, DNA Nation, First Contact and Devils Dust.

-Antony Partos is one of Australia’s most awarded film composers. His passion lies in creating scores that blend both acoustic and electronic elements with an eclectic mix of exotic instruments.

His feature film credits include Jasper Jones and 99 Homes (winning the AGSC Award for Best Feature Film Score respectively in both 2016 and 2017), Animal Kingdom (AFI award for Best Feature Score), The Rover, Disgrace, The Home Song Stories and Unfinished Sky (both also winning the AFI Award for Best Feature Score).

Antony’s evocative scores for TV Drama include Wake in Fright (AACTA Award for Best Music Score in Television, Rake (AGSC Award for Best Music in a TV Series), The Slap (AGSC Award for Best TV Theme and Soundtrack), Mabo (AGSC Award for Best Music for a Telemovie) and Redfern Now (AACTA Award for Best Music Score in Television).

Recent projects include the score for the Academy Award® nominated feature Tanna (winning both the AACTA and Film Critics Circle Award for Best Feature Score) and the highly acclaimed BAFTA nominated feature documentary Sherpa (AGSC award for Best Music for a Documentary along with Best Soundtrack Album).

Earlier this year Antony composed the score for the Lucas Films documentary The Director and the Jedi which had its world premiere at SXSW this year. He has also just wrapped on the HBO feature film, Fahrenheit 451 which airs in May this year.

He is a passionate environmentalist and is drawn to projects that are concerned with social issues and human’s impact on the world.

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