Loverboy Magazine, October 2016 (interview by Fallon Gold)
"I love performing songs of desperation and obsession"
Helen Noir returns to The Glory this month and next with a quartet of deliciously camp and cult films, providing us with original live scores. Helen’s legendary soundtracks have changed people’s lives – honestly, literally – when she’s performed them in the past and we are in for quite a giddy treat. Loverboy’s Fallon Gold chatted to Helen about her chosen films, her outstanding career and fantasies of debauched parties in old Hollywood.
This is such a unique approach to film screenings. How did you get into live scoring?
By accident really. I’d just finished a film screening in Tokyo for which I performed existing songs, and was looking for a project that would allow me to write and produce my own music, as well as perform it. Dawn Harvey put a call out for people to present live soundtracks for a series of silent film screenings at the Hackney Picturehouse. I suggested ‘Salomé and it went from there. Now I’m showing four films at The Glory as a mini-season.
I know you put loads of research into selecting the films you are going to perform to. What is your criteria?
I do a lot of research, but it’s a really rewarding part of the process. I’ve always had quite an academic approach, at least before I start writing the music, when it becomes more instinctual, but I really enjoy it – I get to watch lots of films, read in-depth about the performers and history and listen to hours of incredible music. In order to score it, I have to love a film enough to be able to live with it for a prolonged period, and watch it many times over. It must also be very visually appealing to me and I have to feel I can add something by re-scoring it. I wouldn’t use a film that already has an amazing soundtrack – ‘The Hunger’, for example, is one of my favourite films, but the existing music is so perfect I wouldn’t want to reconstruct it. I also try to pick films that are not really well-known so that at least some of the audience won’t have any pre-conception about the soundtrack. I reject a lot of great films because they don’t meet all of my criteria...
Full article here