‘Game of Thrones’ composer loves heavy metal — not to mention dragons

Updated March 23, 2017 - 6:21 pm

Heavy metal dudes only wish they could rock a dragon like Ramin Djawadi.

And if they think they are denying the “Game of Thrones” composer his moment of arena rock glory, they’ve been too long in the Iron Islands.

“I was big into Metallica and Rage Against the Machine, all these metal and rock bands while always still maintaining the film and classical music (interests),” says Djawadi, composer for the HBO hit.

“I did a lot of rock music and it helps me break out of the box and utilize instruments in a different way,” he continues. “I see it with the orchestra, too. When they play some of my music they have a smile on their face, because sometimes they notice and say, ‘This is not necessarily the classic approach, but it’s fun to play.’ ”

It helps explain why Saturday’s “Game of Thrones: Live Concert Experience” is staged in a circular setup in the MGM Grand Garden arena, with side stages and thrusts to let cellists and violinists step out for solos amid real fire and video dragons.

Las Vegas is early to whatever you call this new trend of film music performed live. Djawadi’s “Thrones” concert will be followed April 21 by his mentor, Hans Zimmer, at the Park Theater. “La La Land in Concert,” which is set to premiere in May in Los Angeles, doesn’t yet have a Las Vegas date, but Djawadi tells us why he’s a big fan of that score, as well as what to expect from his corner of this new genre Saturday.

On Justin Hurwitz’s “La La Land” Oscar for best original score:

“When I saw the film I was immediately on the edge of my seat, like ‘Wow, this is just beautiful.’ I love his use of jazz, because many times nowadays in scores, there’s not many jazz elements in there anymore. I love the way he blends the jazz and the show tunes.

“I went through Berklee (College of Music), which is primarily a jazz school, so I love jazz.” But on “Thrones”? “I don’t think we’ll push into that direction any time soon.”

On how to build on previous arena concerts Las Vegas has hosted for “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings” soundtracks.

“I never saw any of those shows, and I on purpose didn’t watch them, because I had this idea in my head of what I wanted to do and I didn’t want to be influenced.

“I always said that if we do this, let’s do something that’s never been done before and redefine this medium of entertainment. It’s instrumental music most of the time, and I wanted to reach out to a broader audience with what we’re doing with pyro and all kinds of stuff happening onstage. I was hoping to reach a younger audience that also enjoys going to rock concerts.

“If you don’t have any (film) footage I was afraid it would get boring. But I also wanted to make sure the focus is on the music, and we never get carried away and start watching the show and forget there is live music there. That was a balance that was very important to me.”

On how melodies emerge from the six hours of music (and counting) he has composed for “Thrones”:

“It’s important. You want to identify a movie or show with a theme. I grew up in Germany, and there these pop songs that had these hooks, like ‘99 Luftballoons’ (by Nena) or a-ha’s ‘Take on Me.’ You hear that melody and that’s a hook you can sing. And that’s something that really influenced me. It’s not only the classical music, it’s those pop songs that are just hooky, that I still get excited about when they come up.”

On revealing on National Public Radio that the “Thrones” theme came to him in the shower, and that professional film composers don’t always write the notes down — at least not right away:

“That’s how these melodies just come to me usually. Many times at night or when I wake up in the morning, I feel like that’s when the outer influences — the noise and the radio and people talking — have all kind of faded. You just wake up fresh, and that’s when I start hearing things.

I used to scribble them down on a little piece of paper really quick, but now with the phone, technology is easy. I just sing it. Or I have instruments everywhere in the house, so I’ll grab an acoustic guitar and turn on the phone and just play it in. Let it go, have breakfast, come back later and see if I still like it. Grabbing it in the moment is what I like to do.”

Read more from Mike Weatherford at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com and follow @Mikeweatherford.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu (Al Mancini Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like