“Sometimes, simplicity is the most difficult thing to achieve,” admits Grammy-winning composer Marius de Vries about his emotional score for “CODA,” which he says is more intentionally simplified than some of his previous compositions. “It’s the thing which you become successful at a lot later than some of the more extravagant gestures we’re all capable of, and that’s one of the reasons I valued this project.”
We talked with de Vries 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.
The Apple TV+ coming-of-age drama was written and directed by Sian Heder, and stars Emilia Jones, Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant and Eugenio Derbez. It follows Ruby, a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) who is the only hearing person in her family. When the family’s fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her love of music and her fear of abandoning her parents.
“It was difficult to begin with because, I guess in a lot of what I’ve done, it’s been loud and complex and strange and sometimes abrasive,” he says. “Sian really encouraged me to pair that back and I think that was good for me.”
“There’d be moments where I’d be sitting down playing a cue back for Sian and she’d say ‘it’s kind of all right, but we just need to simplify it,’ and eventually, sometimes it would just be one piano note,” he smiles. “She said, ‘you’re close, but it’s still too much,” he laughs, adding “there’s only one place to go from that!”
To watch this same interview with closed captions, view the YouTube video below and click the CC button on the bottom right.
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