SKSM: Could you start by telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Lars Deutsch: My name is Lars Deutsch. I am a composer / music producer. You could say I use sound and music to tell stories, or to help tell stories. I have scored over 350 films and commercials, written and produced countless songs and created audio logos, alarm clocks, wake up ambiences and mixed a number of songs, films and commercials.
SKSM: How did you become involved with The Passenger?
Lars Deutsch: Alexander, the director, asked me over coffee if I was interested in doing the audio post for The Passenger. A little while later I also took over writing the music for it. Alexander and I had been in a touch for a while in Europe, but met in person in LA.
SKSM: How did you get started as a composer and what do you do on production?
Lars Deutsch: After my BA / MA in classical composition I scored a lot of student films and gradually graduated through the European indie scene to projects in LA. I have been in my studio in LA for 11 years now.
SKSM: How did you get started to write the Soundtrack for The Passenger?
Lars Deutsch: I wanted to signify the mind-bending aspect of the story with something unique in the score. I felt the tire iron kill blow was the first moment to anchor the score on. The build up to that is unsynchronized harsh bow hits on the strings, reversed through a guitar amp. It is messy and annoying, I guess like the tingling our main character feels until he kills. Only the final death blow ties the score together.
The second moment is the when our main character looks in the car mirror and the third one is the reveal in the end.
I wrote some dramatic music for the car mirror scene. There is a lot of shock, darkness and drama in this scene. I re-arranged and reversed this section and put it in a huge space for end of the film. The reveal is well done and works without too much support of the music.
SKSM: Is this your most challenging audio so far?
Lars Deutsch: No – not at all. In the audio post, it was a little tricky to carve out the voice and make the lead menacing – especially with the noise of the passing cars. Overall this was a pleasant project without too many hiccups.
Both Alexander (the director) and Tizian (the producer) were very easy to work with and gave me a lot of leeway. They gave me the space to do something unique.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the music that you would like to tell me about?
Lars Deutsch: The sound of the death blow is the sound of water melon smashing on the ground. It worked perfectly here and that same watermelon also made it into a commercial.
SKSM: After The Passenger did you write more music? If so what?
Lars Deutsch: I co-wrote and produced and album for the recording artist Amiena, I scored a project with Keke Palmer, mixed a couple of commercials, created an audio logo and worked on a number of other things.
SKSM: What are you working nowadays?
Lars Deutsch: I am currently working on a flying theater project in China. Wonderful images to work with.
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Lars Deutsch: Yes. Let’s hope this was not my last Stephen King project.
SKSM: What advice would you give to those people who want to be musicians?
Lars Deutsch: The job of a being a composer / audio post / music producer is very different from being a musician. To be a composer, study classical composition to as much depth as possible – regardless of what style you want to work in.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Lars Deutsch: If you are interested in unique and dark music, check out Amiena’s – „Flare“ on Spotify. It’s very theatrical, almost like a horror film. This was one of my 2021 projects.