Interview With Agent Carter Musical Composer Christopher Lennertz


They say that music permeates the brain.  However, after this interview, you will believe that musical composer Christopher Lennertz’s talent and enthusiasm permeate the music.  Bam Smack Pow had the very fortunate opportunity to speak with the scoring master where he spoke to us about his start in the industry and what it’s like creating the music for Agent Carter.

Bam Smack Pow: How did you get started in the industry?

Christopher Lennertz: I actually started music lessons at a really young age.  I played in band in high school and also sang in choir.  When I came out to California for school, I knew I wanted to do music, but I was very much focused on the guitar.  During my sophomore year, I met Henry Mancini and that sparked my interest in scoring for television and film.  I knew that this was what I wanted to do.

My career in scoring started out with doing jobs for free: scoring student films, student shows, etc.  This was actually great for me because I was able to create a lot of relationships.  When I graduated from USC, I worked under Basil Poledouris which allowed me to build on my skills.

Soon, all of the relationships and networking I did from working for free during my USC days started paying off.  One big example was Eric Kripke, someone I went to school with and knew for over twenty years, recruiting me to do the music for the hit show Supernatural — which has been going strong for eleven seasons.

BSP: You’ve scored for various mediums: film, television, and video games.  Can you tell me the differences in the creative processes for each?  Or are they pretty much the same?

CL: I’d say that they’re all pretty much the same with one difference — the time!  For television, it’s all about delivering on a weekly deadline.  Because television production moves so fast, you have to come up with thirty-plus minutes of music within five days.

Film has the luxury of allowing you a one-month to six-week range in developing your score.  And with video games, the time frame is even more extended.  Some allow for up to a year to develop the score.  So yeah, the time you get in creating your music is the biggest difference between film, television, and video games.

BSP: Who are your biggest influences?

CL: I have so many, but my biggest influence has been John Williams.  I remember when I was a kid growing up in Massachusetts, it was always a treat going to see him conduct the Boston Pops.  Other big names who I look up to are Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein (who I studied under at USC), Basil Poledouris, Michael Kamen, Dave Grusin, and Alan Menken.

BSP: What did you find unique in scoring for the television series Agent Carter?

CL: Agent Carter is very unique!  It’s a mix of all these genres — spy, science fiction, superhero, jazz, and 1940s.  I was actually introduced into the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically Agent Carter, via working on the direct-to-video Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter.

Agent Carter is such a great series to score for.  You have a strong, smart, female lead mixed in with all these genres.  We had to come up with a variety of different sounds.  On top of the orchestra, we also incorporated a lot of electronics and electronic sounds.

BSP: Yep, completely agree about Agent Carter sounding unique!  When I was watching the Season 2 premiere episodes — “Lady in the Lake” and “A View in the Dark” — I thought to myself, “Okay, the nature of the music is very heroic, yet I found it sort of suspenseful in that James Bond sort of way.  At the same time, you can tell it’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”

CL: That’s awesome!  That was exactly what I intended.  If you heard that, then that means I did my job!

BSP: So there are rumors that a major character on Agent Carter will be singing an original song written by you.  Can you give us any spoilers as to who it is and what the song will be?

CL: I can’t tell you specifically who it will be, but I can tell you that it will be two main characters.  Yep, there will be two major players singing.  The song will pose a question about Peggy’s love life during a dream sequence because, as you’ve seen in the first two episodes of Season 2, she’s sort of in this love triangle now.  I co-wrote the song with David Zippel, who worked with Alan Silvestri on the “Star Spangled Man” track that was in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).

Agent Carter airs on ABC on Tuesdays at 9:00PM EST.

Christopher Lennertz is an American musical composer for films, television, and video games.  Born in Methuen, Massachusetts, Lennertz attended Easton Area High School in Easton, Pennsylvania.  After gaining acceptance into the prestigious Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, he studied under Academy Award-winning musical composer Elmer Bernstein, who is know for his work on The Ten Commandments (1956), The Magnificent Seven (1960), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), The Great Escape (1963), Airplane! (1980), Ghostbusters (1984), and Cape Fear (1991).

Lennertz has worked with a number of industry giants and luminaries which include Basil Poledouris, Michael Kamen, Ozomatli, Dave Grusin, Alan Menken, The RZA, Five for Fighting, and Alien Ant Farm.  His work with Ozomatli on the record Street Signs earned a Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock Album.

In the realm of video games, Lennertz earned several awards for his work on Medal of Honor: Rising Sun (2003), which was the first of three Medal of Honor game soundtracks composed by him.

In the realm of television, Lennertz has worked on Brimstone, The Strip, Supernatural (reuniting him with his USC classmate Eric Kripke), Revolution, Galavant, and Agent Carter.  In 2006, Lennertz was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Musical Composition in a Series for the score heard in the pilot episode of Supernatural.

Lennertz’s impressive film resume include such hits as Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), Horrible Bosses (2011), Identity Thief (2013), Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter (2013), Ride Along (2014), Horrible Bosses 2 (2014), and The Boss (2016).  In 2002, for the score to Clive Barker’s Saint Sinner (2002), Lennertz received the title of Best New Composer.  He also became the first recipient of the Film & TV Music Award for Best Score for an Independent Feature Film for Tortilla Heaven (2007).

Source: Wikipedia