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Published on 10 January 2013

Welcome to The Lost Art of Interrogation. Here, we will practice this "lost art" with some people involved in the world of GOLDENEYE. Interviews have been done by private e-mailing and might have had some slight editing to fit the structure of the site, but the opinion of the interviewed remains, of course, untouched with its actual words.

Our first interviewee really needs no introduction. He's a famous composer, as famous as James Bond is in a way, and he was also responsible for making Pierce Brosnan a big star after suggesting director John McKenzie to cast him in a leading role in 1987's THE FOURTH PROTOCOL. Born in London in 1949, John Altman has composed and produced music of many famous films like the critically acclaimed TITANIC, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

A Bond fan for decades, John finally had the chance to leap into the incredible world of 007 in 1995 when GOLDENEYE came out - he had to re-score what it is one of the best scenes in the whole franchise.

How where first involved with GOLDENEYE? How did you get to re-score the tank chase sequence?
I came on board since I had done two movies previously with Eric, ATLANTIS and LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL as his orchestrator/conductor. When the producers and director indicated they were unhappy with the way Eric had scored the tank chase and Eric refused to rewrite, they approached me to rescore. I did this on condition that Eric gave his approval as it was he who had brought me into the movie in the first place.

How would you professionally rate him and his work in the film?
He (Eric) loved Ryuchi Sakamoto's work on SHELTERING SKY, which I had orchestrated and conducted, and hired me to replicate that role in his first ventures into orchestral writing. The producers hired him to write Eric Serra but decided they wanted a more traditional approach. I think he was ahead of his time but, as we have seen, nearly 20 years later Bond music still follows the traditional paths.

You know the tank chase scene is perhaps one of the best moments in GOLDENEYE, of not in the entire James Bond franchise. Do you think that is in a way related to the re-scoring of the music you did?
I would hope that what I wrote added to the excitement. I was scoring a couple of movies at the time as composer too so it was fun to jump in and do Bond! - I wish the original soundtrack version which has never been issued on CD would come out as it sounds amazing - it was all written and recorded in four days so it has a wonderful energy.

Let's talk about James Bond and his music. Have you grown up as a Bond fan and listening the John Barry scores? And what do you think of Thomas Newman and David Arnold in the modern Bond films with Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig?
I was a big Bond fan - curiously I was a very good friend of Terence Young who directed several Bonds, Monty Norman sings with my jazz group from time to time, and I've written songs with Don Black who was an early mentor of mine! I do love the Bond tradition and am honoured to be a part of it. I'm off now for lunch with David Arnold!

Now, let's finish talking about your future projects. Anything in the horizon right now?
I have just recorded a big band album which will come out this year. I'm heading to China to do some concerts with the band. I hope to have a couple of movies to score, a BBC show to do, and am still working on live shows and concerts. I produced one CD for the TITANIC 3D Anniversary Edition so I am also involved with that and its aftermath.

We thank John for being the first GOLDENEYE member answer our questions, and we wish him good luck in all his projects. Now, let's see who's the next one to visit us in the Lost Art of Interrogation sessions.

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