Music for the People

Tuur Florizoone, composer, Belgiumtuur-florizone (Picture: Eddy Macquoi)

(Picture: Eddy Macquoi)


Nominated for EUROPEAN COMPOSER 2008
for AANRIJDING IN MOSCOU (Moscow, Belgium)

Composer Tuur Florizoone (30), whose first name, he explains, is pronounced: “Tür - you know the word for door in German”, tells us about his fascination for nature, his romantic soul and gets through the interview by imitating an accordion and by humming the tunes from the soundtrack.

How is it to be nominated, as a first-time film composer, for the soundtrack of MOSCOWBELGIUM?

It is very nice to get the invitation to be here.

In my opinion music is a very important part of a movie. It is the first time I have made the soundtrack for a movie so therefore the first time I am participating in such an event with a lot of different categories. It is nice to see music being a part of those categories.

Composing for a movie is very different from composing for a big band or doing a life performance. I am not the kind of musician who plays music to win awards. But still I wouldn’t miss to be here!

Do you think that a lot of people know the European Film Awards?


If people in the street don’t know enough of the European Film Awards, there is a job to do. It’s like brand. People know the brand coca cola - but they worked a long time on that brand. That is something we and you should do.

In Belgium there was a lot of attention this year - but still I admit it is called the Oscar of Europe. But that doesn’t make it less an honour to be here!

I think the European Film Academy and the award is important because we Europeans are very different from America or Asia and that is something to celebrate. I am extremely proud of being European, proud of being born where I was - even though there are a lot of political problems in Belgium right now.

What is it to be a European to you?


In Europe I think we have a mixture of cultures which is a really interesting thing. Even though we are different countries with different cultures we have a kind of the same way of looking at things. I very much like the European humour.

You find we have the same sense of humour? 

Well, I think there is a difference between French and Scandinavian humour. French people stick very much to their own culture and language. In Belgium we speak both languages so I know the French culture very well although I am not really a part of it!

In fact I think it is difficult to generalize because we have so many different cultures - but under the surface of differences there is a thread of European humour which for a European is recognizable and which is never the same as an American or Asian sense of humour.

How would you describe European film?


I would say it’s honest, simplified, and [there are] less special effects in European film. They tell true stories.

How did it all get started with the soundtrack for MOSCOWBELGIUM?

I met the director Christophe Van Rompaey after a concert. He came to talk to me and said, in his modest way, “You know what? I have this little project, I am not sure if I have enough money to do it but what do you think if you should do the music?”

And I said, “Just send me the script and we’ll see what happens.” I am used to talk to a lot of people about small projects and big projects and 90 percent of them never happen.

So he sends the script. And I am not used to read scripts. It’s a movie in a city about a 42-year-old woman having a car crash with a 30-year-old truck driver. They fall in love…. And, well, I am a romantic kind of guy - I have lived in Brazil playing the accordion for a while and I have a romantic mind. I like to play music with beautiful views of sea and nature - nature is extremely important for me. So, in the beginning I said, “Why did you ask me to do this? There is no nature in this movie!” I had to get used to it. I went twice through the script - and then I thought OK, let’s do it.

My instrument is the accordion. I think Christophe asked me because of the accordion. It is an instrument where people can dream. Everybody has a grandfather or a friend [who plays it] or at least they know the instrument from the shopping streets and somehow you always get moved by this instrument, this sound.

I love this instrument because you can do a lot of different things with it. I do a lot of experimental things but when I began to do the soundtrack I wanted to do something else - like easier melodies, music for the people.

In the beginning where Matty [the 40 year old divorced woman with two kids] walks around the supermarket you are in an everyday situation. But the music is very dreamy and she walks around as if she was in a dream. And then when she walks out of the supermarket and into the parking - suddenly you have a guy playing the accordion outside and you have the feeling you wake up to the everyday life - what did you intend with this?

In fact this parking with the guy playing the accordion - it is me by the way! - is the reality of the place, it’s the feeling of the place. Ghent is a very cultural city where there is this neighbourhood which is called Moscow - after which they named the movie. It is a very popular place. It’s where poor people live. There used to be a lot of Russian people coming to Belgium to work and this is where they live and that’s why the movie is called Moscow.

But the fact that they took a street musician playing outside the supermarket was to hit reality straight away and to show the brutality of this place and also to picture her hard life.

You said before that you get your inspiration from nature and that you have a romantic soul. During the sex-scene in the truck again you hear this very dreamy music that takes you into another world although the surroundings again are a bit brutal. Can you tell me about your inspiration for this movie?

[Tuur hums the music from this scene]

I was so amazed by the beauty of this film, and that is nature as well - the nature of beauty.

I was present at a few moments during the filming and I got to know the people, the actors and actresses and everybody else who was involved. The extras were indeed a source of inspiration - because these people are far more dramatic than they appear in the movie. They are not actors and actresses but real people who try to get a little bit famous by doing these kinds of things.

But there is something very dramatic about them - and there are so many of them - and in the movie you see them as a silhouette. They really took it seriously. And I was writing down some melodies while I listened to their stories. They inspired me and I took some paper and wrote it down in the heat of the moment. The second main theme is inspired by them [Tuur hums the theme] - beating each other up to be in front of the camera. And this is said with all my respect - because these people are the reason why we do it.

Here we sit in this fancy hotel and talk about art - but don’t forget that in real life only very few [people] care whether the accordion was played in the right tune.

How did you and the director discuss the music? 

The director Christophe has very strong ideas and there were discussions where we tried to convince each other - but that is a very natural thing. And I said to him: “Ok, just give me the chance one night.” I went home playing on my piano, recording, making a mix, sent it to him and then he would say: “Yes, it is almost good but maybe change the instrument.”

We made the movie in 20 days - it was a really low-budget movie. There was not so much time for making the music really. Everything was done so fast in this process. I saw the movie one day before I recorded the music. I learned a lot and I love to deal with different things.

Is that the reason why you agreed to this project - wanting to learn something new”?

That’s it - and also that I am a self-made man. I never learned how to play the accordion; I just took up the instrument. And someone said: “come and record something, come and play here,” and I just had the guts to do it. That’s how I learned it.

And the same goes with this sound track. And it is really funny because out of a sudden - we went to Cannes and other places and the film had lots of awards. And at the same time everyone is very much down to earth which I prefer. Everyone asked about the soundtrack and I had to admit that I was not a very experienced sound track guy


You won the world soundtrack award and maybe you win tonight as well -Is it the last time we see you making music for a movie?

I would love to do such a project another time, and then with more time, where I can make more exercise. That is the reason why I am in this life. I have made music forever - above being a composer, I play music. In fact, it is my 4th or 5th country this week - I am on tour all the time, I play music all the time. Playing music is what I do, I play music for people.


Interviewed by Frederikke Lett in Copenhagen, December 2008