Everest On The Track

Meet Composer Raj Kamahl

Thanks to the generous support of our Kickstarter backers, we were able to have an original score created for BANNISTER. The man delivering that key element is Rajan Kamahl -- or "Raj" -- an Australian-based composer that connected with the project via an introduction by Boston producer Dan McKinnon, with whom he'd worked previously. Raj's work has run the gamut from commercial spots to television and feature films... many examples of which you can hear at his website. Raj answered a few questions about his story and process, below.


How did you get into composing and, specifically, what drew you to scoring cinematic projects?
I started out playing in bands and touring here in Australia. That led to a gig at a studio that did music and sound design for commercials and I got into composing for TV through that.

Scoring films was something I always wanted to do, but after I won a scholarship in L.A. to study under Mike Post, it became more accessible to me.

Do you remember any particular movie that stoked your interest in composing for film?
There are so many, particularly the films scored by composers like John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Bernard Herrman. But one that stands out for me is Elliot Goldenthal's score for Alien 3. It's still one of my favourite scores that I listen to regularly.

How do you approach the process of composing on a project like this?
I like to watch the film a number of times before writing anything at all, just to let in soak in. Sometimes I find that helps ideas evolve, rather than just sitting down trying to see what works.

What part or parts of this project or story has inspired your choices in composition? The athletic aspects? The historical elements?
The whole story is pretty amazing. When I was at school, I had a teacher who compared Roger's achievement to that of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier: doing something that the whole world said was not only impossible, but dangerous to even attempt.

What I didn't know was the story of Bannister growing up during the British food-rationing period after World War II, and how that must have affected him.

We take it for granted now that most of the records broken since then have had the benefit of science and sports technologies: tracks, shoes, training and diets that are all optimised and researched to give athletes advantages that no one could have dreamed of at the time Roger was competing.