Listen: Jónsi’s “Gathering Stories”

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Posted by Greg on November 15, 2011 at 11:30 am
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NPR premiered the brand new song from We Bought A Zoo entitled “Gathering Stories”. The song is a collaboration from both Jónsi and Cameron. Have a listen, we hope you like it.Here’s Cameron discussing how Jónsi and his music inspired the film and how he ultimately became involved. These are part of the liner notes for the soundtrack which will be released on December 13th. (Amazon.com or iTunes)

Both with Sigur Rós, and in his solo work, Jónsi has always made music that captured the human adventure. Early on, it was obvious that this music would have a profound effect on the making of “We Bought A Zoo.” In preparation for making the movie, we gave all the actors and crew members a copy of Sigur Rós transcendent documentary, “Heima,” (Icelandic for “home”). We all watched the film and listened to the music, and it quickly seeped into our own journey in filming the real-life story of Benjamin Mee’s book. The actors listened to the music during their takes; it was immediately part of the film’s DNA. Even the signs guiding our crew members to the set revealed our inspiration “Heima.” During filming, I sent Jónsi a photo of one of the signs. He wrote back with characteristic enthusiasm. On our last day of shooting in April, I contacted Jónsi again and asked him if he was interested in scoring the film. I sent him a copy of the script, and a Quicktime of one of the scenes. The story affected him. He’d already begun composing new music for the film when he arrived from Iceland with his toy sampler keyboard and a headful of ideas.

His first theme for the movie fit perfectly. Within a week, Jónsi had composed a series of themes that would reflect everything we’d hoped for. In his music were all the highs and lows and passionate in-betweens of the film itself. Over the course of several visits to Los Angeles, Jónsi sculpted and orchestrated a soundscape with elements I’d never had in a movie before: bells, strings, cymbals, toy pianos, even melodies played through a small Dictaphone. The instinct that began the movie had come full circle. On a warm fall night in October, we finished. The e-mail he sent last night before boarding the plane back to his home in Iceland says it all: “It was such a blast.” And so it was. Here, with thanks from an inspired director, and special gratitude to Alex Somers, who helped shine it through a prism of love and wonder, is Jónsi’s first score for film. This is his music for “We Bought A Zoo.”

Cameron Crowe
October 2011

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