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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Composer Dario Vero Interview
by Richard Jack Smith

In 2019, I made a video documenting the Best Film Score of the Decade. Included were such nominees as James Newton Howard’s Maleficent and Naoki Sato’s Space Battleship Yamato. Ultimately, I chose The Stolen Princess, composed and conducted by the remarkable breakout talent Dario Vero.

In many ways, Vero’s score was magical. Above all, I compared him to a veteran Alex North. By expressing the film’s emotional ideas in broad and specific gestures, he captured numerous contrasting moods, while elevating the drama in context.

For the following interview, I queried Dario Vero about his background, how he got into writing music for films and other matters related to The Stolen Princess.

Question 1. How did you become interested in cinema and especially film music?

You know Richard, music has always been an important part of my life. Generally speaking, this passion (I think) is something that you have/feel, or you DON’T feel at all...it’s a fire that burns inside you. And I always had this fire inside me.

So, I started with some piano, then some choir lessons with my uncle (he was a respected international choir conductor, RIP) and then I jumped on some guitar lessons. You know, I maybe can’t even imagine how many hours I spent in my room playing music and composing.

Of course, music surrounds us... TV, Movies, background music in the airport or in the bar, videogames, commercials. Music is basically everywhere nowadays. 

How I became interested in film music? Spielberg of course! 

I still have the same exact feelings every time I watch or listen to some Spielberg/Williams works! John Williams is still THE Maestro of film music in my opinion.

I mean: Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, E.T. 

Question 2. What was your first job in the movie industry?

My very first “work” (I should still have it on tape) was a sort of original podcast that I produced for my grandma, with of course an original soundtrack! I made it for her over her sickness time. I was about 10 years old. Then some other things like this with my parents.

So I started to “play” this game putting all my passion into it. Nothing more than passion.

Then my career started.

As a professional composer, I made my first steps scoring some trailers and TV shows.

And during this first period, I always felt the support of all the producers that I worked with...

Then a phone call from one of the producers. I was very very young (still a teenager, student in Conservatory!). They needed an original soundtrack for an independent movie. After that, a lot of companies started to ask for my “music services”. The phone was always ringing. 

Question 3. In 2018, your score for the animated feature The Stolen Princess was released. What was it like working with director Oleg Malamuzh?

Oh, you know, “The Stolen Princess” means a lot for me. The whole creative process, the Animagrad team, the atmosphere... everything basically was perfect. To work with Oleg was amazing; it was an honor to me to work with such a talented director. Of course, every project is different; so sometimes I collaborate with the creative team. Some other times I work with the director, or maybe with some music editors or with some publishers; some other times I work with the producer. It depends on the situation, I would say.

In this very case I had the incredible chance to work with Egor Olesov, producer of “The Stolen Princess”. Egor is not only a very talented producer, but also a tremendous music composer... So what a fantastic opportunity... he is really a mentor for me... and we had a lot of fun together!

After this incredible experience I feel the whole Animagrad/FilmUa team is my second family! They are FANTASTIC!

Question 4. Did the director have specific ideas on how he wanted the music to be?

Egor had a very specific musical world in his mind. We discussed about the sound, about ideas, about arrangement... basically he knew exactly what the movie needed... plus, because of his skills, he knew also HOW to ask me some more specific details like: tempo, meter, orchestration, instrumentation, arrangement... he is fantastic !

Question 5. Did you spot the film together?

Yes, we definitely did it together. I helped the “visual” team with my music, also for the montage and for some inspiration and they also helped me a lot.

When I jumped in the movie was in a sort of mid stage; some scenes were ready… some other scenes were still in post-production (animatic). And that’s why it’s amazing to work in animation. Music composer is a big part of the picture...  

Question 6. Was it a large orchestra?

“Kyiv Virtuosi” is definitely a large orchestra. I very like the way they performed this soundtrack. First sight reading, amazing interpretation, perfect timing, professional approach, very smooth sound, incredible dynamic range from pianissimo to fortissimo...Their performance added something magical to my work.

This orchestra is great! They really “turned/translated” in music what I had in my mind and what I wrote on the music sheet. I also had the chance to conduct them.

What a day! 

 

NOTE: For more on The Stolen Princess, check out the following links:-

Best Film Score of the Decade video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KflWTcnvqiU

Dario Vero talking about his score for The Stolen Princess:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYb6BaI7xME


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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