Sexta, 19 Dezembro 2014 17:56

An Exclusive Interview with Doug Adams pt. 2

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For the second part of the interview, Doug Adams talks about he and Howard Shore’s first New York Comic Con and The Lord of the Rings live concerts including the ones at Lincoln Center next Spring.  The first part of the interview was posted yesterday and if you haven’t already, click here to read it.


Myla Malinalda: Going back to NYCC, was this your’s and Howard’s first convention you’ve been to, or just the first you’ve done a panel for?

Doug Adams:Yes. Well that’s not true because I did a comic convention this summer in Utah, and I’ve done smaller LOTR things but they’re not that big massive Comic Con type of thing. For Howard, yes it was definitely his first for anything like that. It was a little different for the two of us. As much as we have dealt with these pop culture type of elements, we’re both musicians, we hang out at the opera and things like that, so NYCC was a new kind of experience.

MM: Did you guys see any Tolkien cosplays?

DA:Yes! I mean our panel alone had Gandalf and Bilbo’s and many others. I always like it when you get the people in the talks from a different fandom. The one I did this past summer, I gave a talk and the whole front row was of Captain Kirks, it’s like the biggest culture clash I can imagine. I’m sitting here talking about the little details of the music of the Ents and I got James T. Kirk staring me down in the first row. Where else can you go where you see Batman and Superman in line for the men’s room? It’s a very different type of thing.

MM: Do you think you and Howard Shore will want to go to more conventions?

DA:Yeah, well he and I have done a whole bunch of appearances over the past years. I think the first time we did a public appearance together was the Tribeca Film Festival back in 2004, ten years ago which is crazy. We’ve been doing public appearances for quite some time, both in the States and in all throughout Europe and things like that. So yeah, I’m sure we would love to show up for other Comic Cons, if the invites are there, that would be great.

MM: Well I vote that you guys come to every NYCC from now on. And in a bigger room because that room got packed fast!

DA:Yeah, yeah it did. And I need a water next time. I was dying, haha.


MM: For a while NYCC didn’t have much Tolkien related panels, that’s why I was so excited when I saw the announcement that you and Howard were going to host one.

DA:Well a part of that is that they’re trying to push awareness for the Lincoln Center concerts in the spring, though I think they’re just about sold out. This’ll be the first, well, I guess it’ll be the second time the entire cycle has been done in the States. They’re doing an early run somewhere out West, I forgot the exact schedule. I saw the cycle in Switzerland in 2011 I think, and it’s an incredible thing to see live. It’s like an athletic feat for the orchestra and the chorus to get through that much music in a certain amount of time. The conductor, Ludwig Wicki, is powered by strong coffee and Swiss chocolate; he just keeps going and keeps going. He’s an amazing musician. An amazing worker too.

It’s wonderful to hear all that music in that amount of time because you really get that sense of how closely connected the ideas in the scores are and how things develop. It’s such a long stretch of time, what, like 10-11 hours of filmmaking, isn’t it? And this is just the theatrical versions. The scores themselves progress as the story goes along. The vocals for example, there’s a lot of folk-type of voices in the early parts of the score and by the end you have an operatic soprano, you have Renée Fleming. So that progression from folk music to full blown opera is something you may not notice if you watch the films or listen to the score within a certain amount of time. When you see that squeezed in that cycle, it’s kind of exciting to understand how the music shapes the storytelling and the world. It shapes that conception of Middle-earth and shows the progression of time and the raising of stakes, and just how Tolkien’s story is told through music. I think that’s an amazing thing, and it really only comes out in that sort of setting.

And it’s also like a big party, almost like the Comic Con type of atmosphere where you have a lot of enthusiasts who are in the same area at the same time. There’s always some good adventure to have or good conversation to enjoy. It’s a cool gathering.

MM: I went to The Fellowship of the Ring screening at Radio City Music Hall, and you were at that one, right?

DA:I was, yeah.

MM: Because I have a signed program and when I looked back on it I thought, “Oh that must be Doug Adams who also signed this.”

DA:Haha, yeah you can’t recognize my signature, it’s pretty bad. Howard always makes fun of me at book signings as the night goes on. He leans over and goes, “Your signature is just getting more and more cryptic, you gotta make it look like something.” So I get a little fast with it, push people through the line, “Here, my squiggle!”

With the Radio City concerts we did some press the week before like at the Paley Center and things like that. And we did a little presentation I think both nights of the concers, it all gets blurry at a point. Those are boisterous crowds too; those are people who would cheer when their favorite sword came on screen, they were really hardcore fans.

MM: These Lincoln Center concerts are going to be crazy. Do you know what’s happening with them? Because depending on what ticket package you get, you can go to a post-concert reception and a symposium event.

DA:I don’t know what any of those things are going to be, honestly. I’ve heard little bits and pieces from the production company but they’re kind of playing their cards close to the vest right now. I’m not sure exactly what they have in mind. I’m not even sure if I’m involved with any of it, so I’ll just find things out as they go I suppose.

MM: Will you be there for both cycles?

DA:I don’t know if I will be at any of them to be completely honest. That’s mostly just because nobody has told me, haha. I hope that I can be there for it. It partly depends on if they have anything they need from me and it partly depends on my own schedule because it’s going to be a very tight Spring especially around the March-April time. I’d love just to hear the music, more than anything else.

The concerts are really like a feat of athleticism, those instruments take a lot of physical prowess to play and they take a lot out of you. And just the mental aspect, I mean think about how much music there is in ROTK. Your mind as a musician, you can’t really relax or lose focus the entire time. You have to be keyed in the entire time, so that’s a lot of work. Good on them, I know they can do it.

MM: I’m just going to be sitting there watching and listening and I’ll probably feel exhausted afterwards, I don’t know how they do it.

DA:And you know what? Mark my words, they’re still going to be the ones closing the pubs the next night. They’re going to be the ones out the longest.


MM: I know you’ve talked on your website about why the colors for the LOTR complete recordings don’t match up to the DVDs. And now with The Hobbit, the color for DOS’ soundtrack is purple while the DVD case is green.

DA:Wait I’m trying to remember, there was an official name for the color because my friend always makes fun of me for getting the official Warner Bros. description of the color wrong. Anyway, the short and long answer for both is I don’t really know. I suspect that what’s happening is that the departments that make those decisions are no longer under the same roof. The soundtracks are put together by WaterTower, which is a division of WB but I don’t think it’s related to their home video division.

It’s also important to remember that these things are happening a year in advance, for example the color of BOTFA. Everybody saw the early draft of that in October, so we’ve been working on that with that green-blue, teal cover. So that’s out there, but they may decide by the time they get BOTFA onto home video, “Oh you know, now that the picture is finished and we’ve seen all the art and we know what the mood of it is, we want something more white/grey that goes with the snow,” or something like that.

MM: That would bother me so bad, haha.

DA:I know, I know, haha it’s the OCD element of it. It’s major corporations you know. You have a lot of departments making a lot of decisions and who knows what the other one is doing? I don’t even honestly know where the colors initially come from. If you go all the way back, why was FOTR green? I guess the green sort of makes sense for the Shire. At some point the choices are somewhat arbitrary anyway, they either match them or they don’t.

The color choices may be the number one question I get. You don’t even want to know how many times I’ve been asked that question over the years, haha. I’ve got a whole book analyzing notes and instruments and people just want to know about the colors.

MM: Will there be complete recordings for The Hobbit? Because in the special edition soundtrack you don’t get to hear the entire Lake-town theme which disappoints me because I enjoy it a lot.

DA:The subject of the complete recordings has not really come up yet. That’s not me being dodgy, it’s just honestly we’re not at the stage where we can talk about it yet because there’s no decisions made. People have to remember that when the complete recordings for LOTR came out, it was the years following the films. Right now even though people feel like we’ve wrapped up and we’re done, everyone’s just finished putting the last touches on BOTFA. And now people need to just take a breath and spend some holiday time with their families and that sort of thing. And I’m sure the subject will come up when everybody has had time to regroup and talk about what’s coming next. It’s just not on the table yet.

Near the end of the interview Doug shared some kind words about Howard Shore:

“Howard is great. I couldn’t have done any of this without him. The creative part of it, it’s all based on his work. But just the support he’s showed me and sort of guided me on how to deal with deadlines, public opinions and things like that, he’s been an absolutely invaluable resource. And to be able to finish all this up, if I didn’t gain anything else out of it, I gained him as a friend which is just absolutely wonderful to me. He’s just a very fine human being. As amazing as a musician he is, he might be a better person and that’s a cool thing. You can’t say that about everybody. How many people do you look up to that end up being kind of scuzzy, you know? That’s not the case here so it’s pretty great.”

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