How to Blow Up a Pipeline Composer Flew to New Mexico to Record Oil Drums for Films Ominous Score (EXCLUSIVE)

Neon’s “How to Blow Up a Pipeline” is perhaps best described as part heist thriller, part climate change documentary.

Helmed by Daniel Goldhaber, the film, in theaters April 6, follows a fictional crew of young environmental activists who execute a daring mission to sabotage an oil pipeline. Cast members include Ariela Barer, who also produced and co-wrote the film; “Euphoria’s” Lukas Gage, Kristine Froseth, Forrest Goodluck, Sasha Lane, Jayme Lawson, Marcus Scribner and Jake Weary.

As soon as composer Gavin Brivik began working on the film, he flew out to the set and recorded music samples that included banging on oil drums in the desert.

“We had a drumstick with a super bouncy ball attached to the end, and we dragged it across the metal pipes to create ominous resonate drones,” Brivik tells Variety.

The film’s opening track “Why I Destroyed Your Property,” mixed by Forest Christenson and mastered by Rob Kleiner, starts with those drum sounds.

“The beginning of the film had to establish all the instruments and sounds we were going to use for the score,” Brivik says. “At its core, this movie is a high-stakes heist movie, but there is still a sense of excitement and fun in the beginning. ‘Why I Destroyed Your Property,’ had to find that balance between the two moods.”

When searching for musical inspiration for the score, Brivik turned to “early Michael Mann films, with those synth-heavy Tangerine Dream scores, and the music of Pierre Schaeffer, who specialized in a genre called musique concrète,” which uses raw recorded found sounds as material instead of traditional instruments.

Tehillah de Castro’s gritty cinematography is echoed in Brivik’s score. “We tried to combine these raw gritty oil drum recordings with these distorted and pulsing synth sounds,” he says.

The composer calls the score one of the most difficult he’s ever written. “Daniel encouraged me to break out of my comfort zone, and challenged me to do my best work,” he says. “We wrote three scores for this movie because we didn’t want to settle, and kept rewriting scenes to make it better. This is also the first time I’ve traveled to a set to sample and record actual oil drums, pipes and found sounds to create a score. It takes a lot of trust to give a composer this much freedom, and Daniel created an environment where I could explore and creatively fail until we found the right sound for the movie.”

Listen to “Why I Destroyed Your Property” below.

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