Scoring for Action: Composer Chris Bezold on Day Labor

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

In Freestyle Digital Media’s new action thriller, Day Labor, the saying “kill or be killed” couldn’t be more relevant. The official synopsis of the film reads: A Latino American veteran who seeks work as a day laborer in order to keep his family afloat. A regular day turns into a deadly game of survival when he is mistakenly dropped off at a private ranch in El Paso, Texas to be hunted for sport. Directed by R. Ellis Frazier (As Good As Dead, Repeater) Day Labor stars Corin Nemec, Amy Johnston, Roberto Sanchez, Danny Arroyo, fellow Ohioan Gary Cairns and Kevin Gage.

What would a good action film be without a high-octane score to match it? Having scored the action films Repeater, As Good As Dead, Legacy, Larceny and Your Move, composer Chris Bezold can speak on this subject. Below he talks about his latest film, Day Labor and much more.

Listen to the Day Labor score here.

PH: Can you first talk about your background and what prompted you to pursue music?

Chris Bezold: Absolutely.  I started out in music pretty young.  At the age of four I began taking drum lessons as I grew up I played and performed in various bands.  After high school, I started working in the technology industry, and after some time in this industry, I had the pull to go back to music in some capacity.  I explored a number of different options, and found that I had an adeptness of writing to picture.  I discovered through this process it was something I really enjoyed and found creative fulfillment in!

PH: What is one piece of equipment you think every composer should have?

Chris Bezold: Full disclosure, I do work with this company, but I honestly have to say LucidLink.  LucidLink is a storage collaboration platform that has changed the creative industry.  It allows you to work remotely with anyone around the world as if you’re in the same studio.  In today’s environment, we all work remotely so having the ability to easily and seamlessly work with others is a must.

In addition to this, I’d say a high-quality sample library, and a few acoustic “go-to’s” that you can layer on top of your sampled instruments.

PH: What would you say is your “go to” instrument?

Chris Bezold: My “go to” instrument these days is the piano.  I’ll typically start at the piano, just playing and improvising.  Sometimes the music may lead with the piano, or contains elements of the piano.  And other times it’s just a starting point where more discovery happens while experimenting with other orchestration on top of this base.

PH: Technically, to achieve your sound, what tools do you use to play on and technology to record with?

Chris Bezold: I use Cubase.  I’ve been a customer and user of Steinberg since Cubase 5!  My uncle, who was a professional in the industry, first introduced me to this DAW and I haven’t gone back since.  In addition to this, I’m a big fan of the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88.

PH: You have worked on many action films directed by R. Ellis Frazier. What is key for each of the films to sound different and unique?

Chris Bezold: That’s a great question.  Each film I try to add something new.  One of the more obvious ways to do this is through orchestration, the bringing in of a new instrument or technique.  For Day Labor, we brought in a bass soloist who performed some slap bass techniques, a very unique and cool sound that you won’t hear in any of our other collaborations.

PH: Your latest film is called Day Labor. What stood out most to you about this project?

Chris Bezold: What stands out in this film is it’s much more thematic than some others I’ve worked on.  For example, the themes of the hunted vs the hunters is pretty apparent and when the two sounds come together it’s personally very satisfying to hear.

PH: How would you describe the Day Labor score?

Chris Bezold: I would describe it as a thematic action score.  It has a mix of acoustic and electronic elements but the acoustic elements like the solo bass, solo violin and acoustic guitar really stand out.

PH: What was the best piece of advice someone gave you regarding your career?

Chris Bezold: Well, there’s definitely a few things.  First from my dad which is to find a “business building job”.  You don’t want to be heavily dependent financially on your creative pursuits, so if you take care of your financial requirements with your 9-5, and then on nights and weekends develop and build your craft you will be free mentally of the financial stresses.  Then, when the money does start to come in it’s a nice bonus.  In addition to this, Bill Evans made a comment on how when he started, he just “focused on the music”.  And he knew that if he just did this, somewhere someone would find him and say “hey we’re looking for you”.  I like this attitude because you’re focusing on what you can control and not getting wrapped up on the external results.

PH: Are there any composers that have inspired you?

Chris Bezold: As just mentioned, Bill Evans has been an inspiration.  In addition to him, Pat Methany, Antonin Dvorak, John Williams, and Lorne Balfe to name a few.

PH: What’s next for you?

Chris Bezold: I’m very grateful to have been able to work with some very talented filmmakers and producers.  I’m looking forward to future work with the producers of Day Labor and my other past work.  In addition to this I’m always excited to meet other talented and passionate storytellers and look forward to future collaborations on more action films, and maybe some dramas and romantic comedies one day as well!

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About the Author

Dan Moore
Dan Moore is a marketing specialist who works in the field of film, video game and tv production. Some of the projects he has worked on have been released by Gravitas Ventures, Cinedigm and IFC to name a few. In his free time, Dan enjoys going to the movies and hanging out at the beach in Santa Monica.

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