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Stream + Interview: Brad Fiedel’s The Terminator Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

on April 05, 2016, 10:30am

Even if you’ve never seen The Terminator, you likely know the theme. It’s as iconic as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s one-liners and as resilient as the liquid metal that forms the T-1000. For over 30 years, those thunderous synths, that pleading melody, and its monochrome crashes have ricocheted across theaters, living rooms, and arenas all over the world, electrifying audiences with its militaristic yet funereal pummeling.

Until now, Brad Fiedel’s landmark score has been out of print for quite some time, and what’s worse, every release has been both subpar and unsupervised. Now, Milan Records, as part of director Nicolas Winding Refn’s curated series, has teamed up with Fiedel to release the actual legitimate score, remastered from the original tapes and sequenced as originally intended. To quote Kyle Reese, “It’s a bit more stable.”

Due out April 8th, the double LP will be pressed on red- and blue-splattered vinyl and feature eclectic new artwork. In anticipation, Consequence of Sound has an exclusive stream of the album and an even more exclusive in-depth interview with the man himself, Mr. Fiedel. The legendary composer spent an afternoon speaking to us about his upbringing, working with James Cameron, and his ensuing legacy.

Stream the album below, pre-order the vinyl here, and read the massive Q&A shortly after.

Thank you so much for speaking to us. I’ve been obsessed with this score since I was a kid, long before the Internet came around. So much so that I would fast forward my VHS copy to the credits just to listen to the themes alone in my room. 

You know, it’s funny. I have this one-man show I’ve been doing that’s kind of a memoir show, and getting it out there through social media, I truthfully had no idea. I knew [The Terminator] got a lot of play, and I’d heard some comments, but it’s just amazing wherever I get the feedback. There’s always somebody who’s like, “I got into music because of this,” and it’s very humbling, because it’s background music, you know?

Is the one-man musical your play, Borrowed Time?

Yeah.

How long have you been doing that for?

I developed it a few years ago, but it’s been sporadic. I don’t really hustle it. If I get a request, I go do it. I just did a couple of shows in Arizona, but I hadn’t done it in a while. I think the premiere was here in Santa Barbara in 2013.

So, it’s autobiographical?

It’s the story of a guy who happens to be me, but I approached it with as much objectivity as I could. It’s about a kid who grows up in his parents’ wacky school for the arts, grows up in the ’60s and gets really radicalized, and starts writing songs about what he sees in the world, and kind of makes his promise like the rest of my generation, and it doesn’t really happen. He auditions for Clive Davis, has some success playing with Hall and Oates, and gets seduced by Hollywood in a big way.

And you know, there’s personal stuff, but the show comes full circle and gets me back to the purpose I saw in my soul as a teenager, which is related to being a contribution to the world, to using my talent to say things. What’s interesting is I get people who come up after the show and are like, “You know, I get the message of the show, and we all need to do what we can to help save the world, but please don’t minimize the contributions that your film scores had.”

So, that’s been interesting. You know, from a comment one woman made at the show, I actually changed some lines because I really didn’t want to seem ungrateful for the wonderful career I had, but ultimately, after a while, I just needed to get back to my roots.

brad fiedel Stream + Interview: Brad Fiedels The Terminator Original Motion Picture SoundtrackSpeaking of your roots, what were some of your favorite albums or composers growing up?

It’s a very diverse, double-pronged answer. On one hand, I grew up with a dad who was a musician and a composer, and his ears were wide open to everything from Bartok to Varèse to avant-garde composers. Back then, they called it classical music, but of course, they weren’t classical — you know, “curious music” in big quotes, concert music. He was very into all that. And yet he also loved Richie Havens and The Beatles.

But really, in terms of my film scoring, though I didn’t study that kind of composition, hearing from the age of zero, all this concerto for orchestra and percussion by Bartok — I mean, if you ever listen to that, it sounds like a crazy film score — my head and my ears were open from a very young age to a really wide range of music.

Then as a teenager, I kind of rebelled from his mentorship and taught myself guitar and wanted to be a rock and roll star. So that was the other complete side of it, and he’d come in and be like, “Oh, come on, three chords? What’s going on? You know better than that!” Then I’d say, “But Dad, this is what it feels like!”

So, that started my singer-songwriter thing, and that whole branch of my trip got me signed to Paul Simon’s publishing company in like, about, ’71 or ’72. It got me auditions from all major New York label presidents. They don’t do that anymore obviously, but at like, I think 18 or 19 years old, I was sitting at an upright piano in a room with Clive Davis sitting behind me with his eyes closed, and I’m playing live for him.

Then based on that, they funded a demo and they took weeks and weeks to decide. They were talking about a whole artist development deal, and then Elton John broke around then, and they felt I wasn’t as unique as they first thought. And also Billy Joel was coming along, and he was kind of from my same area.

11873mercer Stream + Interview: Brad Fiedels The Terminator Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

But you know, The Beatles, the Stones, The Band, Dylan, I was a teenager in the ’60s, so all of that — and a biggy, Frank Zappa. He was kind of the bridge between my dad’s open, more avant-garde stuff and rock ‘n’ roll. I was a kid and I could go to the Village any day, and the Mothers of Invention had a residency in a little place called The Garret Theatre, and they were there all the time. You could go up there and hear them just about any day of the week.

I ended up working at this place called the Mercer Arts Center, which I hear is incorporated in [HBO’s] Vinyl, and I was the sincere guy coming in there to sing my sincere songs to this cabaret kind of room. Meanwhile, in the other room is the New York Dolls and Suicide and all these glam rock guys. I felt like this country bumpkin, and I wrote a song — it’s in my show now  — back then and the opening line is, “We walk around in high-heel shoes/ Keep our feet off the ground, our mind off the blues.”

So, I was reacting to all these glam rock guys in their platforms, but the irony was that the song says towards the end, “If we’re laughing loud enough, we may not hear destructions rumble.” It was a real-world-coming-to-the-end kind of song — I was really scared of the whole nuclear thing at the time — but the bottom line is that the Mercer Arts Center was in a hotel and it collapsed. It literally did crumble.

You went on to open for George Carlin and Andy Kaufman. Do you have any particularly funny memories?

Yeah, I have a few things. I was playing at My Father’s Place, which was a space about an hour and 20 minutes outside of New York where top acts would come through. It was far enough from New York in those days that they would have an audience from the north shore of Long Island, so we got amazing people that came through there. I was still in college and hanging in the area and the owner of that club liked my stuff. I had played open mic nights, so if for some reason he had a dropout or he didn’t want to play an opening act that much, or whatever, I would get these calls last minute.

So, he called and was selling me on Andy Kaufman like, “Don’t worry, it’s a comedian.” But everyone’s afraid of a comedian because if a comedian dies, it’s hard to get the audience back. So I’m doing two nights and I go the first night and Andy is doing his thing where he’s doing all these imitations with like an East Indian voice and it never changes. He’s supposed to be doing Nixon, he’s supposed to be doing this person, but he always says, “Thank you very much,” at the end of each one. And the audience was … dead. They didn’t laugh once. It was totally in the toilet.

Then he does this amazing Elvis. He had his own little tape recorder and he was hitting it and 2001‘s “Zarathustra” would come on and he’d turn around and do this spot-on Elvis Presley, and even that didn’t get the audience. So, I’m going, “Oh man, this really sucks,” so I go out to do my set and I’m looking at the owner thinking, “Yeah right, this guy is out of his mind, what the hell?” And the next night he does the same act, I mean to the second, he was like a machine, and the audience went through the roof. The audience was just rolling on the floor

And that’s when I blessed the fact that I was a musician, man, because I realized how scary comedy was. He had to just stick to his guns. He was just totally like, “This is what I’m doing,” and it died, and he did it again, and everyone just went crazy for him. But with a song, when you’re playing a song, you get like a medium reaction to a great reaction, but it’s basically the same song. If it works, it works.

Eventually, you went on to work on television and film, but how did James Cameron find you?

I was at the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency — and technically I still am, although I haven’t really been doing film scores for quite awhile — and there was a third agent, like the apprentice, a new agent, this woman named Beth Donahue. But she was really a go-getter and she found out [James Cameron] was doing a film and sent him a cassette of my music and he was intrigued and apparently listened to it for a couple of weeks in his car and then had her set up a meeting. He came to my studio with Gale Anne Hurd and screened the film for me.

At this point, I had way more credits. He had worked on Piranha II and I had worked with Arthur Miller on Playing on Time with Vanessa Redgrave. I worked with Anthony Hopkins. I had done a lot of stuff in TV, but really high-quality TV. But you know, at one point, when Arnold got up when they thought he was killed, I literally said out loud ironically, “If he gets up again, I’m leaving.” I was basically an audience member at that point. I thought, “I can’t believe I just said that. I totally blew it.” I thought they might not understand that I was actually kind of blown away.

But Gale Anne Hurd was really skeptical. I don’t want to get into that, but basically she was concerned that I was a TV composer, and they were trying to break into feature films. Ultimately, I had an experimental piece I was working on just for myself, but it was the beginning of when you could MIDI an acoustic piano — the very beginning of that technology — so I was experimenting with that. I would improvise at the piano, and I would record it to a 24-track and, at the same time, chain along a lot of other electronic instruments and then just kind of fix it in the mix like I’d have this whole assortment of things following the piano, percussion, and weird sounds. And then I would just kind of play through it and have weird tracks and open up tracks and be like, “Well, that’s cool,” because it was all in sync with my weird time signatures.

So I thought, “You know, I’m going to play this for him, because it’s really dark and I think it’s interesting for him.” So, I played that for him, and that’s when he was sold.

Do you still have that piece?

No, I don’t, and actually I have that moment in my show, and I had to recreate a piece kind of approximating it. But I don’t. I don’t even have a 24-track. I don’t have an analog board. But I thought of it. I wanted to have it in the show, but it didn’t work.

What’s intriguing about the actual theme to The Terminator is how you carved out this elegant dichotomy between the synths and the piano. The standard keys seem to capture the humanity of the story, specifically how they follow Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor, while the synths tend to encompass the unstoppable presence of the machine.  The “dun dun dun dun” is the iconic part, but for me, it’s always been that piano melody.

Truthfully, I’m surprised at that too. I kind of get it because it’s a sound bite. Who will watch Jaws and remember the melody that much? But they’ll remember the “dun, dun…” — it’s some kind of primal, tribal thing. So I get that people gravitate toward it. But I think the juxtaposition of the melody against that is what really makes the themes work. The kind of simple poignancy of the melody with also this little touch of human pride in it, of hopefulness, of strength, so yeah, to me, it’s the combination.

What’s interesting is that when I wrote that theme at the piano, Jim had a temp track and I begged him not to hear it. Even back then, I knew that every score is a romance between me and the film, and even if it had imperfections, I would find something to love, but the minute I hear a temp track, then I’m second guessing and it’s a love triangle. It’s me, the film, and this other music that they seem to like, so how do I juxtapose? So he respected me and showed me the film without the temp track.

I wrote that solo piano love scene, and when he heard that, his body jerked. He was like, “Whoa! Lemme see that again! That’s so different.” I don’t know what he had in the temp, but I think he had something pretty bombastic, and when he heard that love scene, it kind of opened him to the idea that this film that he wanted to be relentlessly driving could have this other layer, this poignant, slightly doomed but slightly hopeful thing about the humans, and they were the humans really in the sense, so when they make love and create the future, that was the time to have the theme be as pure as possible

So, that was the first thing you wrote for it?

What I did was I played around. There was never any time. I basically had a day it felt to come up with a concept and present it. So, I remember being at the piano, and it was this MIDI piano, and playing the theme, but also playing with electronic textures. I believe what I presented was pretty much the main title, and I think it pretty much went in. It was one of those moments that you pray for as a composer and luckily ehh, you know, 90% of the time, I hit it in my 20+ years. But if you don’t hit it the first time, there’s a little insecurity that comes up, and you’re playing this interesting cat-and-mouse game. It’s really important to be able to verbalize back to the director what you think he’s trying to do, which was important in my relationship with Jim. I really talked to him whenever we worked together about what I saw he was doing just to see if I would hit the deeper level of his subtext, and then that would help me trust my feeling about the film and then it was like that.

So yeah, I believe I played him the main title and he was like, “That’s it, that’s the film.” It was really cool, and then we moved forward. In every film, we did together there were always a couple of cues where my instincts were a little different from his, and then he would say, “No, Brad, the canal chase in part two isn’t about the big truck. It’s about the scared boy trying to get away,” and he’d flip the orientation, which always worked. He knows his stuff inside out, and there isn’t a real right and wrong in film scoring. It’s really just a choice. There can be some things wrong, obviously, but usually if you’re pretty good at what you’re doing, you could do something and really argue why it works. Bottom line: It has to work for the filmmaker. Most of the time, we were totally in sync. I think there were a few times I wasn’t sure — I don’t remember on that film, but I know on T2 and True Lies — where he had to reorient. Or he knew what didn’t work, but wasn’t sure what he wanted, which meant I would have to get loose and play around and finally hit it.

There are some bizarre sounds in both The Terminator and T2. Most of the time, it sounds like a bunch of machines arguing with one another. How the hell did you come up with some of these sounds?

Sheer terror of not getting done on time helped me as a method composer to have enough fear in the music. [Laughs.] But no, everything is just gut level, experimentation, improvisation, ah that works, crafting and shaping once I got concepts, once I had certain sounds. I almost always try and not have all the time, even meters, because in a proposal film, there’s something sort of square, which is why I haven’t loved typical rock ‘n’ roll as a score device for action. But anyway, I would tend to be playing around with 5/4, 7/4, something that made you kind of lean forward into the next measure.

Were you using all synths, or did you also incorporate some more organic sounds?

The Terminator was 90% analog synth: Oberheim, ARP 2600, Prophet 10, but then I had a very early emulator, so that the clank was a recording that I made of me hitting my frying pan with a hammer, distorting a rather cheap mic into a really funky sampler, but then at least I could play the clank back with some regularity, so I did that into it. Then, on both scores, you have a violinist, an electronic violinist extraordinaire Ross Levenson, who, there have been a lot of electric violins since then, but at that point, people didn’t know what they were hearing.

So, on that score, and Fright Night, he’s a chameleon. I wanted certain sounds that a guitar would have a lot of trouble doing, and I met him in New York and we became buddies, and he kept having these crazy instruments custom made for him, and we’d play around with pedals and this and that. So really, the actual performance is me, and any kind of wild soloing kind of stuff you hear, that’s the electric violin, but there are times it sounds like a roar … you can’t even, you won’t even know what you’re listening to.

prophet 10 Stream + Interview: Brad Fiedels The Terminator Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Exactly. I will be forever baffled by whatever you put to tape.

Well, the two things that I had that were kind of sequenced was this Oberheim chain, which was a keyboard, a sequencer, and a drum machine, so I could take like a real sawtooth bass and then it would sync with the kick drum, but it was not typical with what a drummer would typically do — that’s the machine-like thing. Then there was another sequencer on the Prophet 10, which sounded like the inside of the Terminator’s chest vibrating like the “dun dun dun dun.” That stuff was the Prophet 10, and one of the reasons it’s all so crazy is that I did not have MIDI. It might have been existing, but these things weren’t made to work with MIDI yet. It was a new idea. I had to hand-sync the two different technologies, so at times, one’s going in a rhythm, and the other one is going in a rhythm…

mancini Stream + Interview: Brad Fiedels The Terminator Original Motion Picture SoundtrackSo, I’m sitting in my studio one day, many, many, years later, and I get this call, and this woman says, “I have Hank Mancini on the line for you,” and I’m thinking, It’s one of my friends, they’re jerking me off here, so I’m like, “Yeah, uh huh, right okay,” and then he gets on the phone and it was unmistakably him. He said, “Hey, RCA has asked me to do a Big Band version of film themes, and man, your Terminator theme swings. I would love to do that with a big band,” and I’m like, “What?! Well, okay.” And he was like, “Can you send me a lead sheet?” So I get off the phone and I call a friend of mine because I’m really busy and I say, “Hey, can you take this and try and figure out what the fuck the time signature is in the original theme?” And the reason is, I think in my head I was doing 6/8, but the way the Prophet worked, you had to record it and then when you stopped with your other hand, you had to hit stop — and the loop wasn’t precise.

It was not quantized at all. The Oberheim was kind of quantized, but the Prophet was not quantized. It just took what you played and made a loop out of it, so it was slightly off. It ended up being 13 something, you know when you really counted it out, but I think we sent it to him in 6/8 because it was just too crazy. Later, he did a talk to the Society of Composers & Lyricists and I ended up getting to be the guy on the stage with him and kind of moderate the whole thing, and he looked kind of thin to me and I didn’t know what was going on, and he said, “I’m going to get to it, Brad, I’m going to get to it,” but then unfortunately he passed away. But what a gift it would have been to hear Hank Mancini’s version of The Terminator theme with a big band. I could kind of see people doing a conga line to it.

That would have been wild, just absolutely wild. Looking back, though, would you say that’s your favorite theme? Or were there other compositions you wish were held in higher regard?

Well, it’s the one that’s survived, but that’s largely because of Jim and the film. In other words, I think I did some equally good work for films that just didn’t go. In Hollywood, I always felt like a real team player, and I’d go to the marketing screenings and I’d worked on films where the audiences loved them, but then opening weekend, for some reason, they didn’t come to the theatre, the competition, whatever! So, it’s hard for me to be objective. I was always pretty much 80% of the time loving what I was doing and I would be loving the one I’m with.

I felt like such an outsider in Hollywood and where I came from musically, especially in TV. I was one of the first guys to do unusual music for television because there was a whole scene in Hollywood where guys apprenticed and orchestrated and created for somebody else, and there was a certain sound to the TV music, and I was kind of one of the guys who shook that up. And I think there’s a part of me that always wanted to belong, so when I got to do certain scores, which I got to do early period piece orchestra scores and stuff like that, I kind of always had this thing where I wanted to prove I was fully dimensional.

The fact that Terminator took off kind of put me in a bit of a box as the synth guy and the Jim Cameron guy, and both of those things were outside the norm so that people wouldn’t think of me for their kind of A-list dramatic film or comedy. Some did! Some were more courageous like Frank Perry on Compromising Positions or certain things that happened, but I was more likely to get a call for Fright Night or whatever. And by the way, Fright Night is one of my favorite scores. The original score was one of the freest scores I ever did. If you listen to some of that stuff in the final reels, I’m just totally wailing from my subconscious, improvising on the piano and doing that thing I was talking about with chaining along all these other instruments.

Fright Night is where I put into practice that experimental piece I showed Jim. I put it into a score in the sense of the technique of wild improvising and having this orchestra in the sense of this craziness that’s following along perfectly in sync with me that I would then create as a kind of collage in the mix by opening and closing things. So Fright Night is a biggie, and it was fun that they released that a few years back.

But I really love some others. I did a little independent Sundance film towards the end of my time — I think it was in the late-ish ’90s — called Eden. That I actually had time to do my own orchestrations. I mean I always laid it out on the computer and had it translated, luckily most of the time by Shirley Walker who was amazing, but this one I actually wrote every note on the score myself. It’s a very ethereal, small score and I love that. And then, of course, Johnny Mneumonic, which didn’t really take off. I got to do some really interesting experimentation with brass, with live instruments, in the way I used to experiment with synth. I had two brass bands sections, one on either side of the studio, and they were just playing answering phrases, but everybody thought I was nuts, including the engineer and the conductor.

But it ended up working because I was so tired of competing with sound effects. I figured, “Well, if a phrase happens on the left and then it’s picked up on the right, then if the explosion buries the one on the left then maybe the right one will poke through and you’ll get the through line of the music.” So I enjoy that score for the experimentation that I got to do and the freedom I had to do it. By the time I did that, there was really no director on the picture, so I was kind of on my own, and I love working with directors but it was interesting to get to do this experiment without having to explain it.

So, there are a lot of them, but certainly I can’t ignore the feedback I get on the Terminator scores and what they meant to people. I get some of that on Fright Night consistently, but the other scores only once in awhile. Like someone came up after my show in Arizona the other night, who said, “I just love Purgatory.” Purgatory was a TV movie with Sam Shepard and a really interesting cast. It was like The Twilight Zone meets a Western. It was a small orchestra with a little bit of my studio keyboard stuff mixed in, and I’ve run into a few fans of that. It’s always rewarding to me when I get feedback on social media on not the main scores, but that someone really heard what I did on Purgatory or really heard or understood what I did on one of the other smaller projects.

I actually just saw a print of The Serpent and the Rainbow last Fall at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre, and all of us cheered when we saw your name in the credits. And it was a great score. I’d never seen the film before.

That was an interesting story, actually. They hired a really wonderful percussionist, the very, very famous Babatunde Olatunji, to do the score, and I kind of get the thought on paper that’s a great idea. But they needed the melody. They needed something more than just drums, and I got the call — I don’t know how many days were left, but very, very little — and luckily they didn’t want me to replace parts of the score. They wanted a new score. And people say, “How did you research? Where did you go?” And I just did it. Luckily, I’d been to Haiti a couple of times because my parents liked to travel to interesting places, and I’d been in that scene, and I’d been to a voodoo ceremony. I was a kid, but I had it in my bones, so luckily I was able to jump into it.

But I like that score. I wish, in a way, I had a little more time. When I go back and hear certain scores, I know what was on my mind, and sometimes I can hear the limitations of the technology at the time, and later there were people who did certain scores where money was no object, where they would actually get a choir of singers where they didn’t have to use funky vocal samples. So there are some times where I can hear the wall between what I imagined and what was on the schedule and the budget I had at my fingertips

Is that something that would be easier now given all the technology?

It would have, but it’s funny how things go around. Part of what I would say is a little bit cheesy in terms of actual synths, especially on the original Terminator, now are very hip. I think it’s one of the reasons that score had sort of a resurgence in appreciation. I think mostly what it’s really about is how the composition, how it melds with the film, and the other details are things that I hear. I don’t know how many people hear that. They just get that the score is a good match for the film.

I always think about Halloween and John Carpenter’s score and how when he originally screened the film without music, it just didn’t work. He had to go back and knock out all of these themes for it. Today, it’s impossible to imagine that film without the score, and the same goes for The Terminator. It just wouldn’t work without the music.

Some people appreciate that film and that score a lot more than Terminator 2, where there was more time and a hell of a lot more money, but I think it was just that film was Jim doing his thing raw. He was trying to get his imagination on film, and I had no second thoughts just, “Okay! What now? Okay this. Try this. This works. Okay, let’s go.” It had that kind of urgency in the process. With Terminator 2, I was working 18-hour days and 7 days a week at that last month, so that has its own urgency in a different way but just a different scope. There’s that rawness with The Terminator at all levels, and that has a lot of impact I think.

It’s a horror movie whereas the sequel is more of an action film — it’s a sprawling epic. Is that something you had to account for with the sequel? Did the change in tones make a difference for you?

I had new toys. I had different toys to play with. Actually, we didn’t decide until down to the last minute not to use live orchestra. Jim and I didn’t say, “Okay, this is an all synth score.” We were just going along and I was sending him the cues and somewhere we hadn’t actually said this won’t ever be translated — the string sound and the oboe and the horn that won’t ever be live it will just be like this — and it just became apparent that it was working and that we really didn’t have the time. The film seemed to be ripe potentially for the combination of synth and orchestra, and, in a way, I’m glad we didn’t go there because I think in hindsight it had more integrity.

Have you ever considered touring?

My version of that is kind of Borrowed Time. I don’t play a lot of tracks I play live. I kind of put you in a scene where I’m actually coming up with some themes — you know, with the process as it was with me? But you know, there’s talk. There is a re-release of Terminator 2, a possible 3D version that Jim is working on. And so, some little inquiries have come my way about putting together some kind of tribute to the score in live performance with pieces of the film.

t2 3d Stream + Interview: Brad Fiedels The Terminator Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Alan Silvestri did that last year for the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future.

I would be up for it. For the most part, I’ve moved on. I’ve been very enthralled with theatre, and I have this one-man show, but I’ve also been writing a more full-blown musical based on an original story, having nothing really to do with me, although it has a little bit to do with my grandfather’s life. But that’s what’s intrigued me.

But, I’ve been out there and on social media, and I get what that project means to people, and I’m happy to support and be part of it. There may be all kind of different fun ways to do it onstage with various musicians and setups and whatever. Truthfully, I sent Lorne Balfe, the guy who did the most recent Terminator, I never do this — although, when Bear McCreary was doing The Sarah Connor Chronicles we got to know each other a little bit —  but I sent him a kudos. I thought that his orchestral version of my theme — and it’s taken very directly from Terminator 2 — if I were going to do that with an orchestra, it would sound very similar to that.

Do you have any further plans to work with Nicholas Winding Refn’s label?

I’m very receptive and reactive to whatever comes my way. My mind is forward thinking. I get requests. There are little labels who want to do vinyls, and if they’re not super experienced, they don’t realize that film composers don’t usually own the copyrights on these things. The good news about The Terminator release is that working with Milan was a pleasure because there was a version earlier called The Definitive Edition, and I was hesitant to give them the 24 tracks, and they actually had some jefe tell me that I had to give them the 24 tracks, so I gave them my 24 tracks on this blood oath that I would be part of the mix because the thing was done on this particular old automation that was part of my studio that didn’t really exist anymore anywhere. So just mixing the tracks without me or whatever, and you know, I’m sorry to hold a grudge, but this is my final justice on that because that version has been the only version that was out, and it had nothing to do with me, and it wasn’t like the worst thing in the world, but it wasn’t my score.

the terminator brad fiedel Stream + Interview: Brad Fiedels The Terminator Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

I actually had people comment who watched the film and were like, “That horn part wasn’t in the escape from the police station, or this part or that part,” and the reason is, because in the real film Jim said, “I don’t want melody right there, Brad. I want them to be further propelled and on the chase aspect, and I don’t want them thinking, Oh there’s the theme and try to hook their heart in at that moment.” So, it wasn’t the score, there were little subtle pieces that weren’t supposed to be in it, but they had no way to really know that. So anyway, the cool thing about Milan is that we had the source material — we didn’t have the 24 tracks anymore — but we had the source material for the MGM 5.1 remix we did years ago, and that we did as accurately as we possibly could. I and this technician, we would just listen to the cue and listen to the film and try and to get it to the same place on ProTools. So the source material was good, and then we had the support of Milan to fold it into a stereo. So basically given that I don’t have my old studio with my old 24 tracks, this was the absolute best that we could do, and I think it’s a pretty faithful version.

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