NPR Music recently caught up with Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood to talk about his composition for the film ‘The Master.’ During the interview, Greenwood said that he wasn’t always proud to admit that he played the guitar, calling it, “very old-fashioned.”
Greenwood wrote eleven original pieces for ‘The Master’ soundtrack, six of which were performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra. Furthermore, the album features recordings from such revered 1950s artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford and Madisen Beaty.
Greenwood, who also wrote the score to the acclaimed 2007 movie ‘There Will Be Blood,’ told NPR that he enjoyed the challenge of writing for multiple instruments: “What I really enjoy about writing for orchestras is realizing that — and it’s kind of self-evident — but the fact that they are 48 individuals,” he explained. “It’s not, you know, a preset on a keyboard. It’s all these people who have opinions and who are making decisions about how to play.”
Greenwood added that writing movie scores was for him, an escape from the normality of the guitar: “I sometimes feel a bit embarrassed to play guitar,” he said. “There’s something — I don’t want to sound ungrateful — but there’s something very old-fashioned and traditional about it. You meet kids today whose grandparents were in punk bands. It’s very old and traditional, but then, so is an orchestra and so is a string section. … [It] is a contradiction going around in my head, and I can’t really resolve it.”
‘The Master’ was written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams. The film is based loosely on the story of L. Ron Hubbard and the early days of Scientology.
Click here to read the full NPR interview.
The soundtrack for ‘The Master’ is streaming in its entirety on Spotify for free and can be heard below.