Scottish composer Lorne Balfe has become one of the biggest names in film, games and TV. He began his career working with Hans Zimmer and has garnered acclaim for scoring such high-profile blockbusters as Mission: Impossible – Fallout, The Lego Batman Movie and Top Gun: Maverick, where he again joined forces with Zimmer, Harold Faltermeyer and Lady Gaga. One of the biggest films of 2023, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, will see him reuniting with director Christopher McQuarrie to score both of the final installments of the multi-billion-dollar franchise.
Lorne has been nominated for a Grammy, two Primetime Emmys, four BAFTA Games awards and took home the Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media with Hans Zimmer for their work on The Dark Knight.
We’re thrilled that, as such an industry expert, Lorne has curated a collection of the best in sync music for movies, trailers, dramas and games for Audio Network. We sat down with Lorne for a chat about his aspirations when he began his career, the inspiration he gets from recording at the world’s most prestigious studios, and his role as a composer on some of the most high-profile global hits of the last decade.
Why This Project?
In production music, orchestral film music is one of the most requested. So I saw this as an opportunity for us to create the definitive collection of orchestral film music.
Just as importantly, I wanted to give the unsung heroes of the team the opportunity to contribute to a production music catalogue as credited writers and build future value.
This collective is about celebrating the people that I work with and also about discovering new talent and encouraging the talent around me. I want to help the next generation into the industry – walking them through the stages of composition and production at a high level.
I wanted to look at each album as its own identity and own genre, and to embrace and progress that sound. With film music, unless it’s part of a franchise, there’s no room for further development. Whereas with this project, it’s been great being able to say: "Ok this is our starting point, how do we progress?"
I know that the genre of orchestral scoring we specialise in is highly sought after by customers of production music. So I wanted to work with my team to put this definitive collection together with the best partner. To me, this partnership is about growth. It’s about finding the next generation of composers.
What Does Storytelling Mean To You?
I can be working on totally different styles of music, but it’s the same task in hand: it’s about trying to tell a story.
I’ve been doing library music now for over 25 years and the one rule I’ve always worked to is that the music has to tell a story. There has to be a concept, and I always think of it visually first and then I think of it sonically. I see myself as a filmmaker and storyteller first and a composer second.
I began doing commercials, so I'd look at that as telling a story within 28 seconds. I knew that I had to get from A to Zed, and there was a story and a narrative that had to be told in that period of time. And I feel the same with library music. I can be working on totally different styles of music, but it’s the same task in hand.
What Role Did You Play in the Making of This Collection?
My role is exactly the same as when I’m doing a film - it’s about finding a tone that works and that helps tell a story. Everyone has their own personal view on what a piece of music should be and if it’s good or not, and all I can do is bring the experiences I’ve had to it.
So when I'm talking to the team, and I'm talking to other composers, all I can do is try to give them my input and my experience musically, to how I feel it should be. It’s great to push yourself, no matter what level you are.
I love being part of the creative community of filmmakers, game makers and TV makers. It takes a lot of people to create one single piece of music for a project and in the past there has always been a tendency to keep people unknown. But this is what’s making this project so fun – I’m getting to help mix and produce other people’s music.
Tell Us About AIR Studios
I’m privileged enough to have been recording at AIR for 27 years and the same with Abbey Road. They’re iconic studios and they’re iconic for a reason.
The history in those walls are so deep that they can't not inspire you. And they can't not inspire the musicians they're playing - it becomes a secondary home to you.
Why Audio Network?
We chose Audio Network because of the passion they have for recording live musicians, which is very rare in the production music industry.
There’s a purity and an honesty to Audio Network. They always want to make sure that it’s the best possible end result – and that means always using an orchestra and recording at the best studios possible.
Thank you Lorne for such an insightful interview, from all of us at Audio Network.
Discover The Lorne Balfe Collection
The Lorne Balfe Collection of hybrid orchestral music brings you the real sound of Hollywood, produced and curated for production music use. Whether you need a track for an epic trailer, a huge action set piece, music to create a world of fantasy or adventure, this is the collection that consistently delivers, creating an impact as well as setting the scene. Check it out below.
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