FM Le Sieur (SOCAN) is one of the best known film & television composers in his native Canada, with three Gemini awards, one Genie award nomination and three Jutra award nominations to his credit. Over the last couple years, TV audiences south of the border have finally gotten a taste of Le Sieur’s eclectic composing work thanks to his music for Being Human, the hit Syfy TV show about a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire trying to live normal lives as roommates despite their supernatural powers. On the eve of the release of Le Sieur’s first Being Human soundtrack album, we spoke with the Quebecois composer about his music for the show.
There's such an eclectic palette of sounds and styles in your music to Being Human. How has the show's unconventional sound developed over time?
At the beginning, to achieve an urban, edgy sound, I started by using two electric basses; one for conventional bass and the other for the melodies. Then to keep the palette dark and intriguing, I used different ethnic flutes and percussion. And I played an instrument called a Glissantar, which is a 10-string guitar without frets. So it sounds a bit like an oud, but with an edgy side. As I watched the first episode I realized that a big part of the show was the friendship and the bonding between the lead characters, vampire Aidan, werewolf Josh and ghost Sally. So that is why the result is unconventional in a good way.
Is the sound all your choice, or do you work closely with the show's developers & directors to determine the direction?
Scoring is always an effort by the composer to bring his own ideas but also to extend the visions of the writer or the director. In this case, with Jeremy Carver (writer and showrunner of the two first seasons) and now with Anna Fricke (the showrunner for season three), through our conversations I adapt the sound and shape it to the different emotions and actions that they want me to convey.
Do you reference any of Richard Wells' music from the original British version of Being Human in your score?
No. I am sure he did a great job, but I ignore it completely. In fact, I think I've never listened to it. I mean no disrespect, but from the get go I wanted our show to have a signature of our own. I felt like if I let Wells' music influence me, it would hinder me from creating something completely unique to the North American version of Being Human.
The supernatural characters in Being Human struggle to blend in with normal humans. How do you use music to reflect that mix of the human and the supernatural?
I try to represent the human element by playing stringed instruments like electric basses, and all sort of guitars to give a human feel to the music. So even when my arrangements use some sort of synth or dark texture, the human feel always emerges.
How did you choose which cues to include on the soundtrack album?
After two seasons, I had a lot of music to choose from. I tried to think of the people who watch the show. Some musical themes strongly associate with the main characters and memorable scenes, so I wanted to include those. Also, I thought about which of those cues are especially nice to hear by themselves, like the experience when listening to a song. I tried to maximize the experience of listening. I choose the songs that make you feel close to Aidan, Sally and Josh.
Season 3 of Being Human is just about to begin. What can you tell us about the upcoming season, and your music for it?
First, it a great season. This year our main characters interact together much more then last year, so I revisited a lot of the main musical themes from season one this year. New arrangements, but also some surprises…
Visit FM Le Sieur on the web at fmlesieur.com.
FM Le Sieur's original music album for Being Human seasons 1 and 2 is now available. Pick it up at iTunes.
The third season of Being Human premieres on January 14th, 2013 on Syfy at 9/8c. Find out more at syfy.com/beinghuman.