Let's get this out of the way: Dhani Harrison is the son of George Harrison — Beatle, guitar legend, cultural icon.
As a composer and songwriter, the younger Harrison clearly owes a debt to the eclectic, genre-bending approach of his late father, but the similarities feel more inherited than imitated.
In collaboration with his longtime band thenewno2, Harrison crafted the score for the teen witch drama “Beautiful Creatures.” The resulting music is an accomplished stew of bubbling electronica, orchestral swells and brooding rock 'n' roll. The panoramic, self-assured score belies the fact that it represents Harrison's first outing as a film composer.
“I grew up spending a lot of time around my father's friends — all of these musicians, the members of Monty Python, and especially Michael Kamen,” says Harrison, whose father founded HandMade Films.
Kamen, a successful film composer in the 1980s and '90s, encouraged the younger Harrison to experiment with recording technology and expand his palette for composition.
“Growing up around (Kamen) really got me thinking that I didn't have to just make songs. That I could make long cues of music without words” says Harrison. “It was a new way of looking at making music for me.”
Harrison previously focused primarily on songwriting, performing and production work in his career — until he was asked to meet with director Richard LaGravenese about scoring “Beautiful Creatures.”
“When I got to meet Richard, I think that it really clicked,” Harrison says. “I think he hired us (thenewno2) that day. So I went in the studio and started recording for the film right away. And two months later we were in Abbey Road Studios, doing the whole thing with a 60-piece orchestra.”
— Matt Kivel