IMRAN AHMAD (2012) - Page 1

The use of music in zombies films has progressed from the needle-drop stock tracks used by genre pioneer & founder George A. Romero in the original Night of the Living Dead (1968) to the prog-rock sounds of Goblin for Dawn of the Dead (1978). There was also Fabio Frizzi's disco Muzak for Lucio Fulci's Zombi (1979) and John Murphy's grim electronica for Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002), but with the succinctly titled The Dead, directors Jonathan and Howard J. Ford broadened the musical options with Imran Ahamd's percussive and often elegaic score.

Mining his own interests in Indian and African instruments and harmonics, Ahmad's music brings new life to a genre that's been restricted by too many familiar sounds, although the film's West African setting seemed to beckon a new instrumental palette.





Mark R. Hasan: How did you get into film scoring?


Imran Ahmad: I’ve always been passionate about music, and I think most composers are musicians first. I started off playing in bands, and I had a lot of Indian music influence within me from my parents. When I was growing up in the eighties I was listening to a lot of popular and classical Indian music, and also listening to the cool, contemporary music that was happening in England at the time. I had a very broad spectrum of musical exposures, and it just got me interested in music, especially the differences between Eastern and Western music.

Then I started paying attention to music in film scores. The first film I went to see was Return of the Jedi (I was about 4 years old or something) and I was just blown away by that; somehow, it kind of seeped into my subconscious, and years later I realized how music in films was so different to songs, and how the music evolved based on the narrative of the film. I just found that very exciting and very interesting.

Later on I learned that filmmaking is very much a collaborative endeavor. It’s not just you writing music from your own point of view; it’s actually collaborative, in the sense of what is needed for the film. Then I just started to get out there and meet directors for documentaries and short films.


MRH: For many composers, shorts and documentaries offer a great training ground, because you get thrown at all these different topics and subjects in different situations.


IA: Yes, absolutely. It was an invaluable experience, and I worked with some very good directors and learned a lot on those films. I think that’s what cultivated my moving to scoring for feature-length films - there was a broad range of topics. I also got to learn the whole filmmaking process pretty much from beginning to end; as the teams were very, very small, I had access to talk to the actors, production crew and the post-production crew (like the people doing the sound and the editing).  I learned music is just one aspect of the whole picture.


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