Exclusive: Bill Brown, The Man Behind SyFy’s Dominion Season 2 Score

Exclusive Interview with Composer Bill Brown: The Man Behind SyFy’s Dominion Season 2 Score

Dominion Quick Synopsis:

In a post apocalyptic world, God has disappeared. In an effort to bring his Father back, Archangel Gabriel backed by an army of lower angels believe it’s his duty to destroy all mankind. But his brother, Archangel Michael, has something to say about that, as he guides Alex, a soldier who is the chosen savior of the human race. Alex is the only one who can stop the slaughter brought on by Gabriel and his minions.

Faithful viewers have reveled in Season 2’s elevated action, writing and the score, a vital element of any motion picture. TV Show Junky recently had the opportunity to sit down with the man behind the music, composer Bill Brown, and discuss Season 2, his background in the video game industry and his creative process.

Bill Brown gave TV Show Junky a full length version of his score “Michael’s Theme” that no one else has. Check it out!

“Michael’s Theme (C)2015 BillBrownMusic”. Released: 2015. Genre: Soundtrack.

What attracted you to work with this production? Did the producers of Dominion approach you?

Director / Producer Deran Sarafian was already filming Dominion Season 2 in Cape Town South Africa when he contacted me about writing the music for Season 2. Shortly after that I met with Vaun Wilmott (the creator and show runner of Dominion) and we discussed the direction season 2 was heading in. It was so great meeting Vaun that day and working with him every week after that has been like a dream. He and Deran are so talented and dedicated to the work. Our collaboration has inspired some of my best work to date and has been such a pleasure.

As your background is also in video games, what was the allure in working with television shows besides the obvious career advancement? 

I really enjoy being able to explore and develop a score over the arc of a television season, to really dig in and find fresh ways to approach characters and scenes and develop musical ideas, expanding on them over time. It’s magical when a musical idea brings something new to a scene that wasn’t there before you found it and takes it to the next level. Video games offer the same opportunity to create and develop themes but with TV, you have this continuing relationship with the characters and the story over time, and continual inspiration from each new episode.

What is the difference when scoring for a video game versus scoring for a television show? Is your process for scoring for a television show different than for a video game? 

It always begins with thematic musical ideas and developing those ideas in whatever form they take. With video games, the implantation can be much more complex, breaking the cues up into interactive blocks and programming them to work reactively in the context of game play. TV and film are static, they never change as you’re scoring them, but video games are controlled by the player so they are always changing, which usually makes music use / implementation more complex.

Did you watch the completed show prior to developing the score, watch dailies, read the script or simply have an initial idea when starting the composition process?

I usually get together with the producers and editors (sometimes even the director) and watch the completed episode before beginning the scoring process. That’s called a ‘spotting session.’ That’s where we ’spot’ where we want music to go, and discuss the dramatic direction of the score as we go. Then my music editor creates spotting notes for me, I download the locked picture for that episode, and start writing!

How do you feel music enhances the story?

I think the Sibelius quote is, “For me, music begins where words end.” Music is like this universal language of emotions that stretches beyond words and speaks to the unconscious. What I try to do is find something magical that elevates the scene. The process works on so many levels, it’s kind of difficult to describe, but to put it plainly, if I jump out of my chair from excitement, I know the score is working, if it makes me cry, I know it’s working. Not that I cry all the time while I’m writing, but it’s that magic that I’m searching for as I write. How it happens is also slightly magical. I think unicorns might be involved.

Fans have dubbed episode 7 the best of the season and some have said the best of the show. How do feel when you hear that response?

I totally understand that response. It’s probably my favorite episode of the season, although it’s difficult to choose really. When Vaun wrote 207, he told me it just spilled out of him. And that is a sure sign of something magical happening creatively. It’s such a brilliant episode. Scoring it was such a blast for me. I’d like to watch it again now please.

Every episode seems to have new elements with so many twists and turns in the story. What has been your favorite moment to score so far? And what is your favorite theme for Dominion so far if you have one?

The Mallory Battle in episode 201 was an incredible thing to score. It started with Deran Sarafian playing my original demo of “Michael’s Theme” over speakers on set while filming the battle sequence in South Africa. He said the actors would sometimes cry while he played my score on set – in scenes where they weren’t supposed to cry. It was a nice complement. Our collaboration was so inclusive of the score and was unlike anything I had done before. A matter of weeks later when I finally had locked picture to score, I created the version of “Michael’s Theme” you hear in the season premiere, adding electric guitars, cello, epic choir, the female vocals… everything along with the orchestra. The whole process was magical and it really resonated with the fans. There were other themes we were also doing the same thing with while Deran was filming, so there are actually a lot of those stories. I have a lot of favorite themes now and I’m hoping to get them on a season 2 soundtrack soon…

Please Follow Bill Brown, you can find him at the below links.

Bill Brown www.billbrownmusic.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BillBrown.music.composer

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BillBrownMusic

Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/billbrownmusic/sets/dominion-season-2-exclusive


About Sonyo Estavillo

I am a creative professional with extensive project experience from concept to development (scripted and non-scripted). My talents are diverse and include: producing, directing, production management, videography, social media/viral marketing, research, non-linear editing, story development, and content writing. *Masters in Television, Radio, & Film @ Newhouse, Syracuse University *Bachelors in Film Production @ CSULB

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