Paul Walker in Brick Mansions

Relativity Media

If you are an aspiring composer, a musician, or simply a music fan interested in how a song actually comes together before you see it on the big screen, we have a peak behind the curtain for you.

Composer John Fulford specializes in creating music for productions and has worked on shows like Breaking Bad, Glee and Enlightened as well as indie films like The Sunset Limited, studio releases like American Reunion and, most recently, Brick Mansions. Fulford knows how to work within tight deadlines (thanks to the weekly schedule of TV) and this discipline of constantly creating has helped train his ear in recognizing track elements that would work perfect on screen.

Fulford was looking to get some music on Shawn Ryan’s The Chicago Code and figured the best way to achieve that goal was to work with Chicago-based artists. That led him to the artist N.E.P.H.E.W.

Fulford and NEP began working together and created the track, “Nephgroove.” Unfortunately the song did not end up being used on The Chicago Code, but when Brick Mansions was looking for some authentic rap, they were sent “Nephgroove” and, as Fulford puts it, “the rest is history.”

In this video (as created by Louis Mayo @Viewbility), Fulford takes you through his process of writing the song and highlighting the elements that ultimately stood out to the producers.

“Nephgroove” is featured in the chase scene that opens Brick Mansions and helps show the rough state of the city. I asked Fulford why the song works so well here and he explained, “… because of the aggressiveness of the beat and NEP’s voice. It really adds to the portrayal of Detroit as a wild place.”

In scenes where the action takes center stage and dialogue isn’t present, the tone and feel of the song driving the action become paramount, especially during an opening scene that brings the audience in to the gritty world of the film.

Brick Mansions is currently showing in limited release if you want to check out “Nephgroove” in action.

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