“There’s no other choice than freedom for me”


Cristo_Screen

Cristóbal Tapia de Veer is a film and television score composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist based in Montreal. The innovation, quality and creativity of his work are unquestionable and his musical compositions prompt and allow the viewer to discover hidden feelings and emotions of the narrative universe of television series. His career has been intense, and his musical propositions are risky and courageous, focussing on a constant quest for new eclectic sounds and new techniques.  He is best known for his work scoring on the British TV series “Utopia”, for which won a Royal Television Society Craft & Design Award for “best original music” in November 2013, and the Music & Sound Award in 2015 for Utopia 2. His latest score can be heard on AMC’s / C4’s co-production “Humans”, which has become the most-watched drama in the history of Channel 4. Cristobal is honest, provocative and full of life. Born in Chile, his family was first exiled to Paris and then he finally settled in Quebec with his mother. He studied classical music at the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec where he obtained a master’s degree. Since then, he has devoted himself to popular music as a composer, director, sound mixer and instrumentalist.

1.- What picture/musical sound pops up in your mind when you think about Chile?

Golden grape yards, vagabond cats and dogs  everywhere, dark ocean to the left, tall mountains to the right, empanadas and chicha, nylon string folk guitar, screaming flutes and pounding native bass drums, humble faces, freedom fighters…

 

2.- To create your compositions you play non-conventional instruments, ¿are you seeking different sounds to move away from the commercial aspect and therefore, show your own musician identity? 

It’s about finding surprising things in myself, exciting the mind, waking up from the numbness of social conventions. So much things putting your mind at sleep out there, no chance for authenticity. Unorthodox ways lead to unconventional results. Following rules makes you generic. I start every show as a 9 year old who doesn’t have a clue, not as ‘Mr. Composer know it all’. I just follow the rabbit. You can’t plan for authenticity, has nothing to do with being professional.

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"It's about finding surprising things in myself, exciting the mind,
waking up from the numbness of social conventions.
Unorthodox ways lead to unconventional results.
Following rules makes you generic."

Cristo-2013

3.- Do you have creative freedom when composing?

There’s no other choice than freedom for me. But I’m also a collaborator, and since I don’t follow rules of traditional scoring, I have to work double than a standard composer to get my ideas across. If a producer is not getting a scene, I’ll rework it until it does, for everyone, although it’s the same music, I won’t switch instruments just to please someone. It’s about making my sound understandable to more people, which is what any artist aspires to, reaching out.

4.- From those directors you have worked with, who is the one you have connected most personal and professionally speaking?

Marc Munden, a friend and also the master mind behind Utopia. He saved me from the boredom of the dying Record Industry. I could never be as creative in bands (making pop or rock or whatever) than I’m now, this is the most fun I ever had, I owe Marc Munden so much.

"It's about making my sound understandable to more people,
which is what any artist aspires to, reaching out."

5.- Among all the different themes you have composed for “Utopia”serial, which one do you feel more satisfied with and why? Did the cancellation of the serial surprise you after two seasons?

I think of it as a whole, don’t really have favorites. Utopia cancelled is just business, they weren’t making enough money out of it, that’s all there is. BUT it’s a cult show, best thing on British TV in ages, that’s the word on the street, so we’re really proud of that. Free TV is just gathering a very different audience, family oriented, it’s not Netflix etc…

6.- What aspects of “Humans” serial have been most challenging to deal with when you composed its soundtrack?

It seems like a sci-fi show, technology, but it really is a reflexion on humanity, it’s not about robots, it doesn’t look or sound like regular sci-fi either, it’s doing its own thing.

7.- Humans has been renewed for season 2, will you repeat the experience as composer? May you please share any funny anecdote that happened with the serial team?

Sure would, it’s an opportunity to go deeper into what we did. It was a really intense experience, there was lots of pressure and no joking around, being a US/UK release. Maybe on s2 there’ll be more drinking…

 8.- You mentioned sometime you love cinema and that is within your future plans,what kind of production you would be interested to work in as compositor? With which director?


I’ll do any film Marc Munden would come up with, he’ll make any subject work for me.  I think I could bring something to Nicolas Windin Refn’s table, love his movies. Derek Cianfrance. David Lynch. So many…
de-veer

9.- Where do the ideas keep coming from for so many episodes?

The centre of the universe

10.- What styles of music inspire you and what artists do you enjoy listening to for entertainment?

I like rule breakers, pirates, punks, renegades, marginals, offenders like Miles Davis or Iggy Pop. In a world run by hypocrisy, these are a necessity to maintain some mental health.

"In a world run by hypocrisy, these are a necessity to maintain
some mental health."

11.- What changes do you see in your industry in the next 10 years?

Who knows, I just hope I can contribute something to make it grow in the right direction.

 

12.- Last but not least, what’s your cat name? 🙂 and, can you share a funny joke with us?

It has several names, mainly Wilma… Today is Wilmus, or Bombus, I like turning things into fake Latin, sounds more impressive and ridiculous at the same time, just like people. 🙂
gato

FILMOGRAPHY-COMPOSER

Humans, 2015

2015

Utopia, 2014-2013_200

2014-2013

Jamaica Inn 2014_200

2014

Série Noire 2014_200

2014

The Crimson Petal and the White , 2011_200

2011

Mirage of El Dorado,  2008_200

2008

HONOURS

  • Winner Music & Sound Awards 2015 (UK):
    Best Original TV Score
  • Winner Prix Gémeaux 2014 (CA):
    Best Original Score
  • Winner Prix Gémeaux 2014 (CA):
    Best Theme Music
  • Winner RTS Craft & Design Awards 2013 (UK):
    Best Original Score
  • Winner SOCAN Dance Music Award 2003 (CA)
  • Nominee RTS Craft & Design Awards 2014 (UK):
    Best Original Score
  • Runner Up Televisual Bulldog Awards 2014 (UK):
    Best Original Score
  • Nominee Televisual Bulldog Awards 2015 (UK):
    Best Original Score
cristo 4

CRISTÓBAL TAPIA DE VEER

Composer

bit.ly/CRISTOMUSIC

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