A Conversation with Danny Elfman
GRAMMY Museum L.A. Live
800 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015, USA
The GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to welcome GRAMMY and Emmy-winning composer Danny Elfman for an intimate conversation moderated by writer David Wild discussing the making of his new double album, Big Mess, Elfman’s first solo record in thirty-seven years.
Big Mess was almost entirely created spontaneously during quarantine in 2020. It began as an experiment Elfman had been considering which combined aggressive rock band and orchestral strings in a way that had not been heavily explored.
Clocking in at 18 tracks, the sprawling, ambitious double album finds the 4x Oscar nominated, GRAMMY and Emmy Award-winning composer breaking bold new ground as both a writer and a performer. He is joined on the album by drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Weezer, The Vandals), bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio, Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill), and guitarists Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses) and Nili Brosh (Tony MacAlpine, Paul Gilbert).
The feelings of anger, angst and frustration that permeate Big Mess are explored in the album’s innovative artwork and music videos. Led overall by his creative director Berit Gwendolyn Gilma, each visual features Elfman in distinct ways while pushing the boundaries between art and technology.
Born and raised in southern California, Elfman began his career as part of the critically acclaimed rock band Oingo Boingo, whose high-energy performances and genre-bending sound garnered them a fanatically devoted cult following in the 1980s and ’90s. Among the group’s early fans was fledgling director Tim Burton and Paul Reubens (aka Pee-wee Herman), who enlisted Elfman to score their first feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. The collaboration would prove to be the start of a long and fruitful partnership for Elfman and Burton, with Elfman going on to score a string of iconic Burton features like Batman, Beetlejuice, Big Fish, Edward Scissorhands, and The Nightmare Before Christmas.
To date, Elfman has scored more than 100 films for everyone from Peter Jackson and David O’Russell to Gus Van Sant, Sam Raimi and Ang Lee, earning four Oscar nominations, two Emmy Awards and a GRAMMY for his work on movies like Milk, Good Will Hunting, Men In Black and Silver Linings Playbook as well as television themes for The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives.
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