MI6 caught up with composer Christopher Lennertz who has just finished work on the forthcoming James Bond videogame "From Russia With Love"....

Christopher Lennertz Interview
10th September 2005


How did you approached to score the 60’s themed ‘From Russia With Love’? How eager are you to be involved in a project that is related to such a famous series?
EA’s head of music, Steve Schnur, introduced me to Paul Gorman who was the audio director on the project. We spoke about the concept of doing an old school Bond score and really trying to bring that 60’s spirit to life within the game. We both had so much respect for what John Barry had created, that we knew it would be a good fit. Since I’m a huge Bond fan, I was thrilled to get a shot a doing a score for such an amazing character.

...we used the early Barry scores as inspiration...

How did you collaborate with Vic Flick? What did he bring to the project? Did you create any original music between you for the game?
I had been put in touch with Vic through the webmaster at John Barry’s site. I was just hoping to get some info on how they got their sound, but, to my surprise, Vic lived in LA and wanted to have lunch. After a fantastic meeting, he offered to play for us. We had him overdub his parts here in my studio and mixed that with the orchestra recording we did at Abbey Road in London. While I wrote the original score, Vic lent his unmistakeable sound and energy to the score and will be featured in some key spots throughout the game.

What are the main differences with composing music for a game compared to a movie?
Well, in this case, the biggest challenge is that the game is much more action oriented, whereas the film From Russia With Love has more dialogue and espionage. So we needed to expand upon the Bond action sound to give the game what it needed, while still staying true to the ambience of the piece.

Will you be using established queues and motifs from the film? How have you preserved the theme of the 60’s in the music?
Unfortunately, it wasn’t an option for the game. Aside from the Monty Norman theme, all the other material was my own. However, we used the early Barry scores as inspiration. Paul Gorman originally brought up the idea of recording at Abbey Road in order to steep the sound in the British vibe. We used all of the vintage mics and amps to tailor the tracks and keep everything as accurate as possible. So ultimately the player will be hearing a score very much in the spirit of the film.

"In From Russia With Love, we were recreating the 60’s Bond sound..."

Left: Sean Connery render

When writing the music for the game, did you relate to any pieces written by previous Bond composers? Do you admire John Barry’s famous work on the Bond series?
In this case, the inspiration was mostly Barry, of course. He set the standard and created the Bond sound. He’s a hero of mine and I tried to write music that was coming from a similar place, while always fitting the needs of the gameplay.

The music scores have been very solid over the last few games, how are you bringing something new to the music in the series?
I think the real answer is that I’m bringing something “old” to the series. The previous Bond games have taken place in the present and made use of the techno elements of the Arnold scores. In From Russia With Love, we were recreating the 60’s Bond sound – utilizing the classic guitars, percussion, and all of the jazz elements that made that made it come to life.

"Will the game feature the original opening song sung by Matt Munro?"

"It will feature the song “From Russia with Love”, but not the Matt Munro version."

At what stage of the production is the ‘FRWL’ score? When is it due to be finished?
I have finished the score and it is now being programmed into the game for a fall release.

Above: Christopher Lennertz


What are the differences between scoring a-none franchised game compare to an established series such as Bond?
- In one sense, you need to stay true to the sound of the series, but in the other, it is an honor to get to wear the Bond composer hat, especially while accompanying Sean Connery.

Fans have been eagerly awaiting isolated soundtracks for the previous games, since the ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ video game soundtrack was released in 2000. Would you like a soundtrack of the ‘FRWL’ music to be released, and are there any plans of such an idea at this stage?
While I don’t know of any plans, I’d certainly love for people to hear the music. They just need to keep in mind that it was created for the game and its dramatic needs, not to rescore the original. Hopefully it can stand on it’s own as part of the Bond legacy.

"Vic lent his unmistakeable sound and energy to the score and will be featured in some key spots throughout the game."

What equipment are you using to compose the music? How are you balancing the mix of synthesized and orchestral aspects?
I use both Protools and Sonar, with Gigastudios to create mock-ups, but still sketch with pencil whenever time permits. Because of the 60’s nature of the game, there will be no synth elements to the score. Everything you hear will be live!

How have you adapted the song to feature in the game?
Actually, we re-recorded the instrumental version that John Barry did for the movie’s opening title sequence. It’s the only Bond film except Dr. No where the theme song is an instrumental.

Left: Eva played by Maria Menounos


00-Seven Questions

How were you involved in the Bond series?
I wrote and conducted the score for the upcoming game title.

What did you think of the last film, "Die Another Day"?
I thought it was the best of the Brosnan films.

What is your favourite Bond film?

Who is your favourite Bond?
Sir Sean Connery

Which Bond girl should come back?
All of them…maybe we’ll start with Ursula Andress

What is your favourite Bond moment from the series?
The very first time Connery says “Bond…James Bond” never fails to send chills up my spine. You could just tell it was the beginning of pure genius.

Many thanks to Christopher Lennertz.

Above: Red Grant


MI6 Biography

Name: Christopher Lennertz

"From Russia With Love (VG)" - Composer

Related Articles
"From Russia With Love" Movie Coverage
"From Russia With Love" Game Coverage
"From Russia With Love" Christopher Lennertz announcement