By Alice O’Neill With thanks to Albert Tello at Costa Communications
Composer Andrew Lockington Captures the Sound of Destruction for San Andreas
The composer incorporates real-time waveform data collected from U.S. Geological Survey
The San Andreas Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Available Now on WaterTower Music
(Hollywood, CA) May 26, 2015 — Composer Andrew Lockington scores Warner Bros.’ epic disaster thrillerSan Andreas, in theaters May 26, 2015. Directed by Brad Peyton, the film follows a search and rescue pilot (Dwayne Johnson) and his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) as they make their way from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter after the infamous San Andreas Fault gives, triggering a magnitude 9-plus earthquake in California. Director Brad Peyton turned to Lockington, his frequent collaborator, at the earliest possible point in the film’s production. Peyton explains, “The way I like to build the world is to look at the tone and the music. For ‘San Andreas,’ the question was how to create an original, epic and very emotional score, so we just dove in and started playing around to find the themes and the vibe of this movie.”
Always open to unique influences, Lockington incorporated sounds derived from actual waveform data collected from the San Andreas Fault to capture the intensity of the destruction. “Using real-time seismic event data collected from the U.S. Geological Survey, we found seismic elements that could be manipulated to create these incredible sounds,” explains Lockington. To capture a sense of discord inspired by the collapsing Golden Gate Bridge, Lockington relates, “I got an old piano and spent two days destroying it with sledge hammers and wire cutters. We had only planned to record hitting it with the hammers, and those sounds are blended in with the orchestral elements in the film. After that, I sat down to play this broken instrument that was hanging on by a thread, and I could play notes, but they didn’t sound like they were supposed to, and it no longer even sounded like a piano. So suddenly we had this whole new instrument – and some of those sounds figure prominently in certain scenes as well. It’s an interesting rhythmic element.”
Lockington then worked with a programmer to synthesize portions of the damaged piano notes into a raw, terrifying noise that he describes as feeling like “fist dropping down on the rest of the score.” Transitioning from fear and destruction to perseverance and hope, Lockington also introduced portions of a boys’ choir “to cut through everything else that’s going on and get into the depths of emotion of these characters and their will to overcome. We also have a very beautiful theme that transcends the disaster, with a lot of strings.” Director Brad Peyton echoed that sentiment explaining, “When we talk in terms of locking into a character’s experience with the music, we’re trying to see what they see. Beyond the epic action, buildings coming down and waves crashing through a city, there are love stories, emotional connections and the idea of a family putting itself back together.”
Andrew Lockington’s score for 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth received critical acclaim worldwide and earned both BMI and SOCAN Film Music Awards. He also composed the score for City of Ember, produced by Tom Hanks and starring Tim Robbins, Bill Murray and Saoirse Ronan. Lockington’s recent projects include Thor Freudenthal’s blockbuster hit adventure Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, as well as two films for director Ritchie Mehta: the sci-fi mystery I’ll Follow You Down and the drama Siddharth.
His scoring assignment for director Brad Peyton’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island saw him backpacking through the remote jungles of Papua, New Guinea, to research and record ancient tribal drumming, and earned Lockington his second BMI and SOCAN Awards. He re-teamed with Peyton again, on the upcoming thriller Incarnate. Lockington also wrote and performed the song “Stalking Stars” for Ben Affleck’s acclaimed 2012 drama Argo. Previously, he composed the eclectic score for the Golden Globe Award-nominated Frankie and Alice, starring Halle Berry and Stellan Skarsgaard, and Rob Adetuyi’s Inner City parkour dance film Beat the World. It was his ground-breaking orchestral score to director James Isaac’s dramatic thriller Skinwalkers in 2006 that opened the door to several big-budget studio films. In 2008, Lockington was named Breakthrough Composer of the Year at the International Film Music Critics Awards. He was also nominated for Discovery of the Year at the World Soundtrack Awards.