Michael Brook Q&A: ‘Brooklyn’ composer
Michael Brook, known for his work in rock and electronica, may seem like an odd choice to score John Crowley’s “Brooklyn,” a period romance that follows a young girl (Saoirse Ronan) on her journey from Ireland to America. In our recent webcam chat, Brook revealed, “I’m not classically trained as a musician, and I think John was trying to stay away from obvious stereotypes. I think that’s one of the big reasons he chose me.”
Brook, who hails from Canada, got his start as a guitar player in rock bands before moving into avant garde music. He started working with Brian Eno as a video editor, and Eno later helped produced Brook’s first album, “Hybrid” (1985). After moving to England, he began producing for Peter Gabriel’s company, Real World Records, where he worked and performed with such artists as Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, Djivan Gasparyan, and Iarla O. Lionaird.
Eventually, he moved from England to America, where he began transitioning from album work to film. His credits include “Into the Wild” (2007), “The Fighter” (2010), and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (2012).
When it came to crafting the score for “Brooklyn,” the composer says, “We wanted to support and heighten emotions, but not push emotions.” As he explains, “It felt like there was already so much emotion in the script alone, and then in the performances, that it would sort of feel cheesy if we push the emotional side of it too strongly. A lot of our work involved kind of fine tuning the basic ideas. Once we felt like we were on the right path, then there was a lot of finessing and subtle tweaking of things.”
Brook received a Grammy nomination in 1996 for his work on Khan’s album “Night Song.” And he shared in a Golden Globe nomination with Eddie Vedder and Kaki King for their score of “Into the Wild”.