The cynical could accuse some film composers as sounding a little one-note musically, but for the Los Angeles’ Max Aruj, his work across games (Assassin’s Creed), film (The Ice Road, Crawl, and additional music for The Crown and Mission Impossible: Fallout), it would be very hard to level that criticism at this multi-talented composer. Headliner speaks with Aruj about his recent projects, including the latest high-octane Liam Neeson thriller, The Ice Road.
“I started there as an intern doing food and coffee, starting from the bottom,” Aruj says as we wind back to his time at Remote Control Studios, owned by Hans Zimmer.
“And it's probably one of the only places in the world where it's a professional environment and a young person goes to shadow professional composers who are writing at the highest level. You go there and you observe — every conversation is important. Then slowly but surely you get more and more responsibilities. We would work seven days a week.”
Aruj’s biggest film since going solo is the latest high-octane film with the superstar Liam Neeson in the driving seat, Netflix’s The Ice Road. It sees Neeson’s character daring an impossible rescue mission, involving driving over huge frozen lakes in lorries. Sounds like a walk in the park for him after Taken, surely?
“Meeting the director Jonathan Hensley, he knew from the start what he was aiming to do,” Aruj says.
“And he made that so clear. I was able to just dive right in it. It's a fun action movie with bold characters; the music needed to be exciting and have a driving rhythm, no pun intended! It seemed that having strong orchestral themes was the best way to get into their world. There is some synth in there as well, but the heavy lifting is done by orchestra.”