Lukas Kendall recently produced the collection of remastered James Bond soundtracks, which included additional cues and never-before released tracks. He also owns and publishes both the Web and print version of the magazine Film Score Monthly. Universal Exports recently got in touch with Mr. Kendall to gain some insight into the release of the latest Bond scores as well as to learn a little about Lukas himself. |
Can you tell us a little about how you got involved with the remastering and expanding of soundtracks and consequently how were you hired?
I publish a magazine called Film Score Monthly and through that produce a CD series of limited edition classic soundtracks. We have licensed titles from MGM (like Khartoum and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three) in the past and so the music executives there know me, and referred me to EMI to do the Bond job. At my insistence of course!
Obviously you’re a big Bond fan; so, which is your favorite film?
Goldfinger is by far the best film but Diamonds Are Forever has a special place in my heart. It's so baroque in a way, with Connery being overweight, and the Vegas locations, and the macabre humor. I can watch it anytime.
Who is your favorite Bond film-composer (omitting Barry)?
I think I found the George Martin score the least offensive of all the non-Barry
Your magazine, Film Score Monthly, recreates and remasters many film scores. So what is it that drives you to expand and/or remaster soundtracks like the Bond’s and many others?
A crazy passion for the music is the only way to put it! I have found that people who love movie music got interested first in movies, and then their music as a way of channeling the emotions of the storytelling in a more abstract way. And then after a while, you become much more interested in the music than the movies.
Would you ever consider becoming involved with the expanding and
remastering of the most-recent David Arnold Bond soundtracks?
I would do anything if I was asked and the circumstances were right – and I like David personally - but I would not have any kind of emotional attachment for those scores.
From memory, how long did it take to remaster and expand the average Bond soundtrack? Which was the longest and time-consuming soundtrack that you worked on? Conversely what was the least time-consuming and did EMI set you a deadline for your work?
The whole process was extremely rushed and happened in the course of four to five weeks, with all five albums that I did happening simultaneously. I think that Diamonds Are Forever was the most intricate because it was an eight-track recording; Live and Let Die was 16-track but somehow my engineer was able to nail the mixes on the first pass. You Only Live Twice was the easiest because it was just a three-track recording and there was not as much editing. Thunderball was also three-track but went down to the wire because a lot of the music was missing and had to be located in a different vault here in the U.S. (all the other tapes were at Abbey Road in the U.K.). On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was also three-track but reasonably straightforward.
Are there any remastered soundtracks you’re disappointed with? What were the resources like that were given to you in order to recreate these expanded soundtracks?
I am absolutely proud of the albums and would not change the mixes. The resources given to me were the best possible: new digital transfers of the original session tapes. For how they were assembled, I said to EMI, tell me what you were going to spend anyway to do these the old, bad way, and I'll give you expanded ones for the same cost. Then I went and did them with my usual engineers (for FSM CDs) and had $50 left over for myself, but it was a once in a lifetime experience. To EMI's enormous credit, they paid for the new transfers - rather than stick me with the bill - and it ended up being absolutely worth it.
I think the albums are fantastic. If there is any disappointment, it was that I had intended to re-sequence Diamonds are Forever and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in film order - and you can program the CDs to play in film sequence because we changed some of the cues internally. With Thunderball and You Only Live Twice I figured we would keep the original album programs and then put bonus tracks after that, but Diamonds are Forever and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service were very disappointing LPs and I thought that they would play better completely reconceived. Due to a legal decision - the executives all had to work very hard to iron out these albums, and I wasn't about to give them a hard time - the original album tracks had to go first.
The whole Thunderball score, as long as it was, is still not able to fit onto the one CD, and hold a reasonable running time. Is there any chance we will get a Thunderball double-CD in the near future, as it is still missing some classic music?
I haven't the foggiest idea. People were paying attention at EMI for around five minutes, and that's when we struck, and it didn't take long for them to move on to something else. That's life at one of the world's largest record companies.
Which expanded soundtrack is your favorite? Why?
Diamonds are Forever. I just love the sound of it and the title song and the colors and the silky smooth Barry style.
A word from the interviewer:
On behalf of Universal Exports, I’d like to express my appreciation to Mister Kendall who gave up some of his own time, in his busy schedule, in order to complete this generous interview. If you would like to contact Mr. Kendall, visit his Web site.
Questions written by Adam Farrington-Williams; edited by Greg Goodman.
To purchase any of the remastered Bond soundtracks,
please visit The Bond Store.