In 2009, Sean Lennon took his first crack at film scoring with director and friend Jordan Galland’s outrageous Hamlet adaptation, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead. Last year, the son of John and Yoko reunited with the filmmaker: Lennon penned the score for Galland’s alternative comedy Alter Egos. The film was released in select theaters last fall, but its soundtrack – which veers from ominous and foreboding to slinky and suave – can now be heard for the first time exclusively at Rolling Stone.
The film, which stars Kris Lemche and Danny Masterson as down-on-their-luck superheroes, was an all-encompassing endeavor to score, Lennon explains to Rolling Stone. “It really sort of engages my whole mind,” he says of the process. “I have to really be on the edge of my abilities, in terms of arrangement and composition.”
The 37-year-old has been occupied lately with avant-garde musical endeavors, including the Ghost of a Saber-Tooth Tiger, his project with girlfriend Charlotte Kemp-Muhl, and Mystical Weapons, his newer improvisational duo with Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier. The structure of scoring, Lennon explains, was a much-enjoyed exercise by comparison. “It’s a relief to have such specific guiderails,” he says. “You’re watching a scene and there’s an edit that you have to fit the beats to, and everything sort of has a predefined infrastructure that you have to tailor [the music] to. So it’s almost like the road is already laid out for you.”
Lennon, who logs a cameo in Alter Egos as the skeleton-masked Electric Death, says he hopes film scoring will become more than a one-off pursuit. “I always imagined that if I was unable to jump around and play rock shows that I’d be able to maybe score films with some dignity into my older years. It would be something nice to do,” he says. “But I also know that it’s a very competitive field, so I don’t really know what kind of jobs I’d be offered. . . I just imagined that if I did Rosencrantz and Alter Egos that maybe people could see that I was able to score, so that’s sort of a nice first step.”