Spotlight Interview: Assassin composer Mark Tewarson

ComingSoon got the chance to talk to composer Mark Tewarson about his score for the action thriller assassin.

ComingSoon got the chance to talk to composer Mark Tewarson about his score for the action thriller assassin.

“A private military operation invents futuristic microchip technology that allows an agent’s mind to enter another person’s body to carry out covert, deadly missions,” reads the abstract. “However, when an agent is killed during a covert mission, his wife takes his place and attempts to bring those responsible to justice.”

Directed by Jesse Atlas assassin With Bruce Willis, Nomzamo Mbatha and Dominic Purcell.

ComingSoon: What made you decide to become a composer?

Mark Tewarson: I studied composition in college and loved it. Then, early in my career as a guitarist, composers hired me as a session musician and I thought it looked like a great gig! I managed to get my first jobs in the commercial world.

Were there specific people in the industry that influenced your style?

Several, so many of the greats influence me in different ways. These days I’m into a big kick from Giacchino and Johan Johansson. But of course John Williams, Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman were also big influences.

How has your technique/style evolved over the years?

Certainly my technique and my ability to write efficiently and effectively have improved, but I’d like to think that more importantly, my ability to participate in the storytelling aspect of the film has improved.

What drew you to work on Assassin?

I had worked with director Jesse Atlas on the short version of the film in 2017 and loved the concept and it was very rewarding to work with Jesse. I’m also a huge sci-fi fan!

What was the biggest challenge you faced with Assassin and how did you overcome it?

The hardest part was probably knowing when to back off. There are a few twists in the story and I had to be very careful with the music not to give too much away.

Do you have any fun behind-the-scenes stories about the making of Assassin to share?

Unfortunately I wasn’t on or around the set during the early development phase because it was a Corona time. So for me most of the composing was in my garage!

What kind of instruments and/or devices do you use in your score? Were there any that you hadn’t used before?

The score consists mainly of modular synthesizers, viola, piano, drums and tape delay.
I got myself a set of Tibetan singing bowls that I had never used before and it was great fun to use.

Composers deal with films in different ways – how do you deal with film music?

In my experience, that decision often rests with the director and what they want from the music in their film. However, I never want to get in the way of an actor’s story or performance. However, when the moment comes when the music takes center stage, I’m all for it too!

Were there things you learned while working on Assassin that you would like to apply to future projects?

Yes for assassinI started early on to create some weird sounds, pulses, beats, etc. with my synths and then used those assets throughout the film. I’ve never done this before and really liked the continuity it created in many of the clues.

Do you have any other projects that you can share with us?

I have an NBA documentary called Iceman that is about star player George Gervin.