If you’ve seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Yes Man, Superbad, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, or more recently Get Him to the Greek, then you’ve heard the sounds of Lyle Workman. Workman is a highly sought after composer in Hollywood who got his start doing session work and touring with the likes of Frank Black, Beck, and They Might Be Giants.
Criticize This!: How did you get involved with doing soundtrack work?
Lyle Workman: Coming out of session work in L.A. it was a natural progression. I was working as a session guitarist for a company that was writing music for commercials and they asked me if I wrote music. I started writing for them and that progressed to bigger jobs.
CT!: Is the process for recording music for film different than recording for an album?
LW: It somewhat overlaps in that we have to make music but it’s a great deal more responsibility. And you’re dealing with a visual medium as opposed to just the recorded medium. It’s a different set of skills but it is still music.
CT!: Do you get something out of doing soundtrack work that you don’t from touring, etc.?
LW: The soundtrack work… the responsibility means you’re creating more. And you’re not required to do so as a side man because you’re playing other people’s music.
CT!: Is it harder writing songs with a humourous tone, such as those in Get Him to the Greek?
LW: We didn’t really try to make funny music. We tried to just make really good songs. There were several songwriters involved with the Get Him to the Greek songs. I wouldn’t say it was any more difficult than writing a serious song.
CT!: Would you ever want to do anything in the movies other than music?
LW: Not really. My strengths are with music. I suppose if someone had to have me as a part in their movie I’d consider it but it hasn’t happened so far and it’s not something I’m gravitating towards.
CT!: Do you see a big difference between the music industry and the movie industry?
LW: The music industry faces challenges because of how easy it is for people to steal music on the Internet so it’s affected budgets for making records. And that has trickled down to people who produce and are session players. There’s less work, less money for work, and less records being made. I don’t really see that in film. People haven’t really figured out how to steal movies completely yet. There are still a lot of people going to movies and it’s a very healthy business.