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Interviews |  18 Aug 2015 12:51 |  By RnMTeam

Music supervisor John Bissell will be part of next edition of 'Fallen'

With an experience of over 25 years in the music industry as music supervisor, John Bissell, has gained extensive knowledge on what goes on in bringing the right music to a film or series. He has been actively involved in many films and television series including ‘Joy Ride’, ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance’, ‘The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys’, ‘Lord of War’, ‘Ladder 49’, ‘American Wedding’, ‘No Reservations’,  and ‘The Hurt Locker’ among others. The list goes on, and his skills in supervising are never ending as well. However, at the same time there is a project that he feels he would like to do differently.

Mothlight music president Bissell spoke to about his future projects. 


Supervising music for a young adult supernatural film is a first for you. Tell us about your experience.

Since it was a young adult film, it was a different experience. For this film, we specifically needed to have music for an audience ranging between 12-17 year olds. It is quite similar to the approach taken while getting music for the ‘Twilight’ films. ‘Fallen’ is not like ‘The Hunger Games’, because it not based in a dystopian society. It is based around romance, but is also gothic. Hence, there is a dark edge to it, when you are amidst these fallen angels, but you have to have a pay-off that is romantic at the end.

Is it challenging?

It is still a challenge. We are still switching out a couple of songs. We got a number of artistes to write for it. And the film comes out next year.

Will you be a part of the other films in the ‘Fallen’ franchise, besides the first film?

I have been informed that I will be part of next ‘Fallen’ series as well.

Was it difficult for you to choose songs for ‘Fallen’, since this project is new to you?

I created a lot of folders based on ‘Luce’ -the lead character, the fallen angels, the Sword and Cross Academy. The music on Luce’s life before school has more of a pop element to it, but once she is enrolled in school, the music takes a goth turn. We have created an amazing tune for distinctly different worlds.

I researched all of that and started thinking of artists that pertain to both of those sides and wrote that down and then we asked some artists to write music specifically for this film.

How different is ‘Blacklist’ from your other works?

Every show, series and film is vastly different from another. Even though there is a new show coming from the producers of ‘Blacklist’, the show is slightly similar. However, the music in every show is very different.

 How much time do you spend finding new music?

Probably, two nights a week and a showcase one day a week, so three days a week, I spend finding new talent.

Did you ever think about doing something else?

I consider myself as a failed writer. That was also going on in a parallel universe along with music supervision.

If you were given the opportunity to do something different, what would it be?

I would go back into writing prose. 

So you have a particular inspiration to write?

No, in fact, I have an aggravation. The day I quit writing was one of the happiest days of not only my life, but also that of my wife, since she is painter. We cannot have both people be frustrated at their work. I get a lot of creativity by doing what I do.

What upcoming projects are you working on?

 I have got a Latino-centric film called ‘Low Riders’, then I am finishing ‘Fallen’ and three American TV series. Then there will be a film.

 If there was one project you would go back and redo, which would it be?

2005’s ‘Lord of War’, because I did not get to add as many songs as I wanted.

Is there any specific music genre you like?

I was raised on classical music, and only later did I discover punk rock, whose rawness and immediacy led me to gothic blues, which led me to elements of jazz. Now, I have a son, who has been raised on jazz and punk rock or classical music.

What are your hobbies?

Cooking is a passionate pastime, and I collect wines. When I cook, I also listen to a lot of old school jazz like John Coltrane. I also like to read.

Are you interested in playing any musical instrument?

I love the cello. I feel that is the sound of the human soul.

Did you recently reject any series or film project?

One of the films that I rejected recently was an Indian film. I will not like to name the person, but she and her husband, are a known director-producer duo. The reason I turned down the offer was because virtually there was no money. They wanted me to get 30 songs with no money paid by them in a span of three weeks. I love the film, however, I had other projects and I strongly believe in giving quality work, so I decided not to take it up. 

Would you like to be part of any Indian film in the future?

I would love to work for an Indian project as well.

 What are you excited about next?

I am very excited about ‘Low Riders’. It has Latino music, Latino hip-hop and also K-pop.