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Oscar-nominated movie composer Danny Elfman has revealed that he fell into film music completely by accident. Speaking exclusively with Classic FM, the 59-year-old composer and long-time collaborator of director Tim Burton said music composition was the last thing on his mind.
“I fell into writing; it wasn’t my choice,” he says. “When I grew up I didn’t play any instruments and I took no music lessons. I wanted to be involved with film but composing was the last side of it that I imagined doing. I imagined myself being an editor, maybe special effects.”
He adds: “If you’d have asked me when I was 17 or 18-years-old what I wanted to me I may have said cinematographer or maybe a director but something in film. But I never would have said music; that was quite accidental.”
Elfman, who’s just worked with Burton once again on the Johnny Depp-starred Dark Shadows, explains that a trip to Africa started him on the road to Hollywood success.
“I didn’t pick up my first instrument until I was 18 and I taught myself some violin,” he continues. “I travelled in Africa for a year and took a violin with me and I ended up getting hired in a French musical-theatrical troupe called the Grand Magic Circus and ended up performing with a violin on stage – and I’d only been playing for six months!”
With performance experience under his belt, his brother consequently targeted Elfman for his musical skills.
“My brother came back to the US and started his own troupe and he kind of forced me into being the musical director. That was the Mystical Knights of Oingo Boingo and we played exclusively on the streets for four years and then started moving indoors for more ambitious shows for the next four years.”
And the rest is Oscar-nominated and Grammy Award-winning history…
Listen to the full interview with Danny Elfman below