For Jeymes Samuel, the music he wrote for directorial debut ‘The Harder They Fall’ represents cowboys who ‘lived in the new west, the new frontier, the new America’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“I was addicted to Westerns as a kid. I loved the scenery, the landscape and I loved the stories” reveals writer, director, producer and composer Jeymes Samuel about what attracts him to the Western. “The Harder They Fall” is Samuel’s feature directorial debut from a script he co-wrote with Boaz Yakin. It features an all-star cast including Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo and LaKeith Stanfield.

We talked with Samuel as part of Gold Derby’s special film composers “Meet the Experts” Q&A event with key Oscar and guild contenders. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

SEE Gold Derby interviews with 2022 Oscar contenders

In “The Harder They Fall,” when an outlaw discovers that his enemy is being released from prison, he reunites his gang to seek revenge. Samuel’s neo-Western brings “balance to the genre” by depicting a wild west in which people of color and women take center stage as the gun-slinging heroes and villains against the backdrop of an ambitious soundtrack featuring collaborators like Shawn Carter (aka Jay Z), filled to the brim with diverse original songs in styles ranging from hip hop to reggae, and rounded out by Samuel’s pulsating musical score.

The British singer-songwriter, music producer and filmmaker, also known by his stage name The Bullitts, worked tirelessly on the film’s sound, aiming to bring a completely new sound to the genre. “I wrote all the songs on the soundtrack,” he explains. “I composed the score. So every single song is, it is a direct thought from a particular scene in a particular place in time.”

Samuel was adamant that he did not want to merely revisit the traditional motifs and themes audiences are accustomed to hearing in Westerns, but instead wanted to create something fresh, dynamic and current. “It’s like when you say the ‘old west.’ No cowboy lived in the old west! It was ‘old’ when Hollywood made those movies,” he explains. “They lived in the new west, the new frontier, the new America. They were technologically advanced as far as they were concerned. So I looked at that and I thought about it, and while I love the big orchestral, I love those big themes,” he says, “I keep the big orchestra, and I do something different with it.”

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