Steven Price interview: ‘Over the Moon’ composer
When composing the music for the animated film “Over the Moon,” Steven Price was actually able to draw a lot from his experience composing the score to Edgar Wright’s 2017 film, “Baby Driver.” “The score is embellishing those songs and layering it and making it do a different role and really enabling the song to act how a score does. The idea of weaving through songs has been something that has been in a lot of work,” the Oscar winner says during our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above). Price was then able to take that experience and apply it to songs written specifically for the film. “I kind of felt when ‘Over the Moon’ came up that this is great because I could try some of those techniques but with original songs and having a bit more control over how you can use things thematically.”
“Over the Moon,” which is streaming on Netflix, focuses on a young Chinese girl named Fei Fei (Cathy Ang). Several years after losing her mother, her father gets engaged to another woman, much to Fei Fei’s chagrin. When her father reveals that he no longer believes in the story of the Moon goddess, Chang’e (which she first learned about from her late mother), Fei Fei builds a rocket to fly to the moon and prove that Chang’e is real. The film also stars Sandra Oh, Phillipa Soo, John Cho and Ken Jeong. Price’s score is accompanied by original songs that were composed by Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield and Helen Park.
Doing the score to an original musical was actually something that Price had been looking to do for several years. “I have young daughters who are obsessed with all things musical theater and I love all that sort of stuff and we end up listening to a lot of it together,” he confesses. The songs had already been composed and demoed by the time Price came on board, which presented him with an interesting task for his composition. “Part of my job became weaving through those songs and trying to make it feel like this seamless journey where all those styles feel very natural as they come up. My main job was to follow Fei Fei on her journey through all of these songs.”
Price won an Oscar back in 2014 for Best Original Score for his work on Alfonso Cuarón’s film, “Gravity.” While the experience of the win and the celebration that followed was incredible and surreal, the thing he remembered most was being congratulated by fellow nominee and legend, John Williams. But Price actually had several memorable run-ins with Williams prior to the ceremony. During rehearsals for a concert where all the nominees performed elements of their scores, “John Williams had come to my rehearsal for that as a supportive gesture to the new boy who had never been doing this before.” This also extended to the nominee’s luncheon where Williams would periodically check-in with Price to make sure he was doing okay. “Beyond all the amazing music that he’s done, my main memory of him was just what a wonderful and thoughtful human he was.”