BBC Cult - Printer Friendly Version
Robert J. Kral - Angel composer at this year's Posting Board party
Tell us how you got where you are today.
I live in Pasadena and this party is in Hollywood so I got in my car, I drive here, took about 20 minutes and that's exactly how I got here. It wasn't that much fun, I was by myself, my wife couldn't make it tonight, but yes it's a lot of fun right now.
It's a lot better, especially because they're handing out this stuff (holds up jar of Vegamite). This is the real deal. And Tim Minear here who's going to step into the shot is about to take a whiff of this. Have you ever whiffed Vegamite before?
Tim Minear: I lived in New Zealand for a year, so yes I have. I think I'm whiffing it now.
Rob Kral: This is fresh. six years ago? This will take you back. Okay, big strong whiff. Yes it is coming out of his ears, yes. It is that powerful.
Tim Minear: It's no problem for me at all.
Rob Kral: I don't think he's used to it. He really spoiled that by being in New Zealand six years ago...
How, in a nutshell, do you create the music for Angel?
I play keyboards and make them sound like an orchestra. I bring in a few live players each week to make it sound more like an orchestra and basically do whatever I can to make it sound good.
I just want it to sound great and usually pull it off and fake my way through it somehow. It seems to work out, I haven't been fired yet so... It's a good motto of mine I think, [I'll be] coming out with the tee shirts. "I haven't been fired yet, it's looking good."
What's your favourite episode to have scored so far, and why?
I think it would be Darla, from season two. Still my favourite. We did a really big episode with Joss recently, the ballet episode, that's number 13 [in season three] and that was really cool, but I still think Darla, which Tim wrote, [was] the coolest episode. There are a lot of themes for Darla; I have got three or four different themes for her. She's just a great character in that episode where she leaves Angel in the middle of season two. It was just gut-wrenching. It was pretty cool stuff.
What's your favourite musical gadget?
That would be the Giga Studio, which is fantastic. It's a PC programme - and I'm a Mac person, so it even got me over to the PC - and it's the most powerful thing out there.
If any music buffs are out there, that's a really cool thing. It's like having 10 Emulators (sound samplers) in one little PC programme. Really cool stuff, really powerful, lots of great sounds. Except... my third machine crashed today and I can't get the stupid thing to work, so it's good up to a point, yeah. Do you know a PC expert? Seriously, it's fried. Tomorrow I've got to find someone [to fix it].
What's the weirdest sound you have ever sampled?
That would probably be a toy from my daughter, from when she was about two years old. You put a little coin in the top and it springs out of the bottom and sort of goes "booooong".
Sample that, play it down low and it's absolutely frightening. It was great, it was a cool sound. Nothing like custom samples.
Have you ever had an odd musical request from a director?
Oh yes. I can't remember the name of the episode but there was a sound, a screechy, seagully sort of sound, sort of like a "Whoooo".
It was on the production [audio] track and not on the music track, but when I played the tape for the producer so he could check the music before he went to the final mix he said, "I love that sound, I want to hear more of that sound".
I'm thinking, "I didn't do that sound", that was like a seagull or something flying over the other day when they were shooting! That was kind of funny - well it was at the time. But it was many moons ago.
One day, should they ever make Angel - The Musical, what sorts of musical styles would you like to do it in?
One of my favourite productions is War Of The Worlds by Geoff Wayne. It's nice to have the traditional musical sort of feel, but I'd love to do something a bit like that, where it's still really dramatic, still in the moment. Not necessarily stylised to the Broadway sell but still a musical, with songs.
That record is going back about 20 years, but that was one of my favourite albums when I was a kid. I probably listened to it a thousand times and I'd like to do something like that.
If you could do a concept album, what would it be about?
I'd do a Darla's greatest hits. I think I've got enough stuff on Darla to do a double album, there's so much stuff there. I'd really like to do the Darla Symphony, that would be cool, I'd like to do that. With a real orchestra.
Keeping it Real?
Do you miss not having a real orchestra, or do you prefer the control that you have over your synthesisers?
That's a good question. I miss having the real orchestra; it will never sound as good as the real thing. It's a lot of hard work getting it to sound realistic and just hours and hours and hours of each day go by just in trying to make the thing sound real.
I could spend more of my time actually writing the music instead of trying to emulate the orchestra ,and so it would actually save time. But on the other hand I've got more control over it, so it's the best of both worlds a little bit. I would like to have more live instruments, that would be nice.