Columns on fashion, culture and ideas

Art & Culture / AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You

Jarvis Cocker on the Importance of the Film Score

Inspirational figures get personal and share a passion with us in AnOther Thing I Wanted to Tell You

Jarvis Cocker
Jarvis Cocker

Jarvis Cocker talks the return of the film score, the potential for a new live-music-meets-film art form and his latest charity project

"I like the art of the film score. We just had a section on 6Music that was called The Sound of Cinema, where we looked at music for film. I do quite a lot about film scores on the show; I think it’s an art that’s coming back. In the 90s, lots of times you went to see a film and it would just have all these classic rock hits as the soundtrack, it wouldn’t have a specifically written score and if it did, it would be just one or two little bits. Now a lot of pop and rock musicians are getting asked to do scores. It’s very powerful when you get the image and sound together; it’s a really enveloping experience. So when they experiment with that a bit, and push the boat out, it can be amazing. I'd love to do a film score!

I did the musical direction on The Big Melt film earlier this year, which was made with BFI footage, and there were some pieces that were written especially for it but we also got people to do arrangements. We had a string quartet do a version of the Human League song Being Boiled and stuff like that. So I put that together and I really enjoyed that, and doing it live. That’s another thing that can happen and should happen a lot more now, now that video projection is so easy to do and you get really good quality. Sometimes people will do a live soundtrack to a film – apparently they had a live soundtrack for 2001: A Space Odyssey the other day down at the Southbank which I’d really liked to have seen. I went to see Sigur Ros – they were playing at End of the Road festival – and in a way their set was almost like a live soundtrack, because the visuals and the projections are so much a part of the show. I think the boundaries of a live concert and a film thing will be gradually be worn down. It’s all part of involving the audience. So I think maybe a new art form or entertainment form will be born."

"I think the film score is an art that’s coming back"

Jarvis Cocker has never been one to limit himself to a single pursuit. Aside from his acclaimed solo career and the joyously-met Pulp reunion, the past few years have seen the bewhiskered Britpop pioneer win over thousands of radio listeners with his weekly show for BBC 6Music, Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service ("putting the boringness back into Sunday"), as well as dabbling with increasing frequency in the medium of film. In the noughties, he made memorable cameos in the fourth Harry Potter film – as the idiosyncratic lead singer of the Weird Sisters – and Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox, for which he wrote a song. And this year he undertook the musical direction of a live score to accompany Martin Wallace's film The Big Melt – a history of Sheffield's steel industry using 100 years of BFI footage. Equally, Cocker has turned his hand to directing music videos, most recently for ethereal singer/songwriter Serafina Steer, whose latest album the ever-assiduous musician also produced.

Steer will play a part in Cocker's latest undertaking – a curated evening of music and spoken word for the Soho charity the House of St Barnabas, taking place tomorrow night in the Greek Street building's beautiful private chapel. "It’s almost like a counterpoint, like a live version of the radio show," Cocker tells us, "and the fact that you’re actually performing in a chapel means it really is almost a service." Aside from Steer, whose lilting harp-centric songs will complete the set, the line-up includes Alasdair Malloy – a glass harmonicist – and members of Sheffield group Monsters I telling stories set to a musical backing. "Some of them are a little bit macabre. Hopefully the reverend won’t be too freaked out by that," Cocker adds mischievously. Cocker's night forms part of the House of St Barnabas Autumn Culture Series, a run of live music events and inspiring conversations in celebration of the charity's new non-profit members' club, which innovatively uses members' fees to provide training and work experience for those affected by homelessness.

For tickets to The House of St Barnabas Culture Series click here.

Daisy Woodward is the AnOthermag.com social media and editorial assistant.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates