If you’re looking for a British composer who could successfully mix some darker themes with macabre comedy and a hint of eccentrics, Scott Benzie may be able to provide what you’re looking for. The composer’s rich and versatile career includes dozens of theatrical productions, short films, commercials and several feature films that range from cult classics to experimental productions.
Benzie was born on 18th March 1970 in Aberdeen, but his family moved to England when he was only one years old. While most composers are destined for their careers from childhood, Scott’s interest in music began at a relatively late age when he received a keyboard as a Christmas gift. From thereafter, he started to teach himself music at the local library so that he could become a film composer to write the type of music James Horner provided for Krull.
His first compositions were premiered by the Loughborough Orchestra, who later performed some of Scott’s first theatrical compositions, such as The Trojan Wars or A Christmas Carol (both produced by Leicestershire Schools). Benzie later studied at the Leicestershire School of Music, where Walter Piston’s and Hector Berlioz’s works on orchestration proved to be key inspirations to his career. Scott finally majored in music at the Nottingham Trent University.
Scott’s first feature film score was done in 2002 for Jim Groom’s Room 36, where the Bernard Herrmann-inspired noir score put the finishing touches on a film 11 years in the making. Joining several composers to do demos for the project, Scott won the coveted commission by willing to write a mock-up of the entire score whereas his fellow colleagues only did a single cue in the same amount of time. The 50 minutes of music were recorded in a record-breaking one day session with the composer himself conducting the Westminster Philharmonic Orchestra.
In the same year, Scott also wrote the stiff-upper-lips score for Michael Hapeshis’ comedy Shoot Out. The adventures of an abandoned film crew marked the beginning of a string of collaborations between Scott and the Cypriot architect / film director. Their works together include the short films Resurrection, Mrs. Sparks and more recently the feature-length Dinner with My Sisters, a psychological drama about a Greek-Cypriot family. For this latter score, Scott sprinkled his music with traditional Greek tunes and even produced an original song for the end credits.
In addition to working with his established contacts, Scott also actively seeks out projects on the internet – some of which have lead to his best scores. He first became aware of Nick Calder’s Fear Eats the Soul during the film’s massive internet campaign and his first online contact with the filmmakers lead to a truly frightening, atmospheric underscore which was composed without meeting the director in person. Neil Oseman’s Soul Searcher is another good example of Scott’s talents in creating an uplifting, emotional score for a horror film which chronicles the rise of a new, involuntary Grim Reaper.
The composer’s more recent credits include Ross Boyask’s Ten Dead Men for which he provided an uncompromisingly gritty, urban score underscoring a straightforward revenge fantasy of one man’s hunt for the ten people who had done him wrong. Sean Candon’s Mark Macready and the Archangel Murders and its sequel, Mark Macready Underworld Tales follows the adventures of a Manchester-based detective who must battle demonic entities in order to save his wife. Don Fearney’s recently completed Grave Tales is a retro-flavored anthology with four tales of terror packed into one film, allowing great freedom and a creative playground for any composer.
The vitality of Scott’s works allows them to be enjoyed on their own, hence some of his projects have been released on their own as well. The music to Room 36 was recently issued by KeepMoving Records on CD, while the scores of Ten Dead Men and Mark Macready and the Archangel Murders are available on itunes. For more information, visit the composer’s official website at http://www.scottbenzie.co.uk
"ROOM 36" Original Motion Picture Score