In an age where music in television is relegated to the back burner by sound effects and needless dialogue, John Debney has pulled out all the Stops with his score for the new series seaQuest DSV from Steven Spielberg. With an Emmy award for best score to The Young Riders and another nomination for best theme to the same series, Debney is well aware of the impact music can have. His fun score to The Jetsons: The Movie was largely overlooked, but with the recent Hocus Pocus he has found a foothold in the motion picture world. I spoke to John recently about his goals of scoring motion pictures, as well as his recent successes in television. I was pleasantly surprised to find a man not only excited about his newfound success, but about the cutthroat industry he has decided to live in as well. He'is, truly, a class act.
Joe Rixman: Tell me the story behind Hocus Pocus.
John Debney: It’s incredibly complex and an incredible stroke of luck for me. James Horner was originally on the project, but due to the studio‘s problem with locking down the film, James had prior commitments to other projects that he had to go to.
JR: So he left the film?
JD: Yes. It was a decision that was agreed to by both parties. After he left, there was a lot of back room stuff that went on.
JR: Could you elaborate?
JD: Well, my agents, Mike Gorfaine and Sam Schwartz were terrific. I can't say enough about them. They were constantly on the phone to Disney trying to convince them to hire me. Kenny Ortega, the director of the film, wanted me. David Kirschner, the executive producer and Ralph Winter, the producer, wanted me and fought for me as well. And James Homer called at the eleventh hour to put in a good word for me. Everyone was terrific.
JR: So, you were signed for the film. How long did you have to compose the score?
JD: Three weeks.
JR: Three weeks? That's amazing. Even more so considering the scope of the music.
JD: It's a good thing I write fast. Still, we pulled all-nighters a couple of times. I had three amazingly talented orchestrators helping me out. My head orchestrator, Brad Dechter, was brilliant. So were Don Davis and Frank Bennett. We had so much fun with this score.