New York, NY (March 15, 2004)–Composer Steve Horowitz created the original music score for the Sundance hit Super Size Me, capping off a productive four-year relationship with director Morgan Spurlock, that began with the MTV reality show I Bet You Will. The film, picked up by Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn, to be released in theatres across the U.S. this spring, follows Spurlock for 30 days as he drives himself to near physical ruin by eating only McDonalds.
“It was decided right from the start, because Super Size Me was made for the big screen, we’d have to raise the bar on the music from the TV show I Bet You Will, regardless of the film’s small budget,” said Horowitz. This posed a significant challenge for the composer, as he’d have to score the movie almost entirely on his home studio desktop, without the luxury of replacing desktop sketches with hundreds of live cues, as he did with I Bet You Will. To compensate and maintain the authentic edge needed to support Spurlock’s grass roots documentary, he drew from his experience as a Grammy award-winning engineer.
“When I go to score a film like Morgan’s, I want to have a palette that no one else can touch, something beyond switches and knobs,” noted Horowitz. For the voice over, informational sections of the film, examining the mentality of fast food culture, Horowitz explained, “We tried a lot of different music, but what seemed to work best was a folksy down home sound.” The meat and potatoes of these “folksy” tracks are live drum parts, pulled from his vast custom library, compiled from nearly twenty years of recording music. “I don’t use two bar loops, I try and take as big a chunk as possible so it sounds more natural,” described the composer. With the addition of a sampled Horowitz on bass and a live guitar track, provided by Andy Barbera, the “down home tracks” were complete.
For the “happy” eating theme that juxtaposes the increasing seriousness of Spurlock’s dilemma, Horowitz put together a virtual recreation of his own band “The Code International” by digitally speeding up and slowly down samples to create a new composition. These techniques were instrumental in giving the film “a live feel” that it otherwise would not have had. Horowitz stated, “The challenge for the new generation of composer, increasingly faced with projects where they’re called upon to engineer as well as compose, is to harness the power of today’s desktop in support of their unique voice and keep it from getting lost in a sea of pre-sets and factory samples.”
Director Morgan Spurlock commented, “the beauty and miracle of independent filmmaking is the resourcefulness of the personalities of the people involved, like Steve, who have the guts, determination and skill to pull it off, regardless of the obstacles they face in the process. Steve’s music is what the picture needed.”
Steve Horowitz has also written original songs for Joe (from the hit children’s TV series Blues Clues) as well as Dora The Explorer. He won a Grammy Award for production work on the album True Life Blues, the Songs of Bill Monroe, which won Best Bluegrass Album in 1996, and a Webby in 2003 for music and sound design with Nickelodeon Online.