by Dan Goldwasser
SoundtrackNet had a special opportunity to send some questions to Phil Collins about his work on Tarzan and Brother Bear. We then followed up with Mark Mancina to get some comments from him, and are pleased to present both exchanges here, for your reading pleasure.
How were you first approached to work on Tarzan?
A phone call out of the blue really. Chris Montan, the head of Walt Disney Music, called with the invitation. We then all met up in Geneva to discuss everything. I was very nervous about being capable of writing songs like that.
At what point did you start to collaborate with Mark Mancina?
We met on a visit to Los Angeles to start the storyboard process and I visited him in his studio. He did the score on Tarzan by himself. I played some drums on some cues. He also orchestrated "Two Worlds", which was up until then, a rock track.
What was your involvement with the score for Tarzan?
As I said, except for playing drums on a few cues, not much at all. As I wrote the songs, I also gave four alternate ways to use the melodies, some of which ended up being used. "You'll Be In My Heart", particularly.
When did you get involved with Brother Bear?
The day Tarzan opened in London, I sat in a hotel room and discussed the project in detail. Though we had previously discussed 2/3 way thru Tarzan me doing another film, it was in London that it become Brother Bear. I started writing straight away and "No Way Out" and "Great Spirits" came out of that early stuff.
Did you find it easier to work with Mancina the second time around?
It's always been easy with Mark, he's a rock fan and we speak the same language. He's a big Beatles fan too. We worked a lot via CLI calls, though only meeting up once every couple of months.
Was your involvement with the score to Brother Bear more extensive than it was with Tarzan?
Totally! Tarzan was all Mark, and Brother Bear was a collaboration. He took the cues that I felt I couldn't yet handle. Big action cues, comedy stuff… I did more of the spacey, dread and mourning stuff! Though we ran all the cues by each other for feedback, it was a true collaboration, though 6,000 miles apart. Dave Metzger orchestrated for us, and he should not be overlooked - he made sense out of a lot of what I did.
Would you go off on your own and compose music?
As I said, we split the cues with everybody on a CLI call and I'd go off and work, then send it over the net to Mark for a critique (or not). Sometimes, I wrote a drum framework which he then orchestrated on top of.
What projects are you working on now?
I'm writing new songs for a Broadway version of Tarzan, which is very interesting. I think what I learned from the Brother Bear score side of things, I've brought into the new Tarzan songs. Thinking outside just guitar, bass, drums and keyboards.
Do you think you will do another Disney collaboration?
I'd love to work with Disney again.
How did you get involved on Tarzan, and at what point did you meet Phil?
I met Phil at Signet Studios. I arranged and played the instruments on "You'll Be In My Heart". Phil loved it, and we were off!
What was Phil's involvement with the score to Tarzan - and what was your involvement with the songs?
Phil was not involved in writing the Tarzan score, but he did play drums on some of my cues.
When did you start working on Brother Bear? Did you and Phil start at the same time, or did one of you start "first"?
Phil started first, then I came on board.
What kind of collaboration did you have with Brother Bear - was Phil more involved in the scoring process than with Tarzan?
Phil was much more involved in the scoring with Brother Bear. He got his feet wet! He worked very hard on the cues, and experienced the film scoring process.
Do you find that scoring an animated film is easier than a live-action film because of the lengthy turnaround time to work on it?
Scoring animation takes about three times longer than live action. I think it has something to do with giving the characters more substance.
Is there less or more pressure working on a Disney film?
Working on a Disney animated film is a pleasure compared to most.
Did Brother Bear overlap much with The Haunted Mansion?
Yeah, The Haunted Mansion ran right into the back of Brother Bear.
Are you working with Phil on the Tarzan Broadway show?
No, I am not working on the Tarzan Broadway show.
What projects are you working on now?
I am currently working on my own musical with a great group of talent.
The soundtrack to Brother Bear is available on Walt Disney Records. Tarzan is currently available on DVD and the soundtrack is available from Walt Disney Records as well.
Special thanks to Emmy Chang, Phil Collins, and Mark Mancina.