Boston musician Jake Brennan was one of the local names to walk the red carpet at the screening of “The Love Guide” earlier this week. He was there because he provided music for the Christy Scott Cashman comedy, which was filmed in Massachusetts. But he didn’t just offer songs, he scored much of the film. “We went in the studio and we actually had the film up. We wrote the songs specific to the actual scene,” he said, referring to himself and his writing partner on the project, Scott Janovitz. Like many musicians, Brennan has found that getting his songs licensed for television and movies is lucrative, and a good way to draw attention to new music. But Brennan said that writing for one specific film turned out to be another great method of getting music out into the world without putting out an album. He and Janovitz and Brennan’s production group All the Jung Dudes recorded the music for “The Love Guide” at Moontower at Q Division. Brennan said he has already been approached for another film project. “I was actually contacted by a filmmaker yesterday about doing a score,” he said on Thursday. This new project would have Brennan working with a director who had a short at the Cannes Film Festival.
Another local rocker-film scorer is Munk Duane, of the Munk Duane Band, who will soon start scoring his second project with director Arthur Luhn, “The House Across the Street.” Luhn hired Duane for his last local movie, “Conned," at the recommendation of an extra on set. Duane said it was a huge scoring project for a beginner because “Conned” included many deaf characters (Luhn is also deaf), so many of the scenes were low on dialogue. “There was a ton of music in a film like that. How do you capture those emotional peaks and valleys without dialogue?” Duane tells us that he avoided writing Celtic music for that film (he says Celtic music in a Boston gang film has become a cliche). And for “The House Across the Street,” a horror film in progress on the South Shore, he’ll stay away from typical scary music sounds and work with silence as much as he can. “I’ve learned that in a lot of instances, less is actually more,” he said. Duane promises that even though he loves this scoring gig, he won’t stop playing live. “I perform an average of 80 shows a year,” he said, proudly.
It’s worth noting that Boston has a long history of housing film composers: Steven Spielberg collaborator John Williams is, of course, a member of the Boston Pops family, and Carter Burwell, who scored “Twilight” and works with the Coen Brothers, went to Harvard.