×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Junkie XL Stepped Into Big Leagues With ‘Deadpool’

Dutch-born composer Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, has, in just the past two years, become a top composer for epic fantasies (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) and comic-book heroes (“Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Deadpool”). He’s now working on two of 2017’s biggest films, the Stephen King adaptation “The Dark Tower” and the next DC Comics franchise entry “Justice League,” although he declined to offer any details about either. We visited him in his West Valley studio, where he was surrounded by both vintage and modern synthesizers.

You had a long run in Europe, first as an engineer and producer in the ’80s, then as a prominent artist during the ’90s. What led you into film work?

I saw a track of mine being used in the first “Blade” movie, and I was like, “Man, that’s amazing.” I’ve always considered film a higher art form than music; multiple disciplines meet each other. So I got really intrigued by that. Jason Bentley, the music supervisor and KCRW DJ, invited me over. I got a taste of it and I wanted more. In 2001 I moved out here to pursue a career as a film composer.

So how did you go about it?

Pretty soon I discovered I needed to learn a lot. But I was ready for a long ride. I started interning with other composers. I started getting great alternative films from Europe. When I started collaborating with Hans Zimmer in 2011, everything started to fall into place.

What were your most valuable lessons during that time?

These other composers, especially Hans [Zimmer], pointed me in the right direction. I had to learn the language used by composers and directors, the culture of how studios work, to become a team player.

What do you consider your breakthrough film?

There were two. Hans was the main composer on “Man of Steel” and I was helping him out. That’s how I met [director] Zack Snyder. The first movie I did on my own was “300: Rise of an Empire” with Zack. Pretty soon after that it was “Divergent,” and then “Mad Max: Fury Road.” It was like a dream step up.

Now you’re doing these big comic-book titles. How did that come about?

Hans was going to do the next Superman movie, but when he found out it was “Batman v. Superman,” he’d just done three Batman films with Christopher Nolan and he didn’t want to take on Batman again. So he said, “Let’s get Tom in.” We ended up doing the whole thing together.

For “Deadpool,” you went back to a lot of 1980s electronic sounds. Why was this the right approach?

They had a really hard time finding temp music that actually worked for the character. So I started experimenting in the studio. It turned out to be “Miami Vice” meets Frankie Goes to Hollywood on acid. When “Miami Vice” came out, it felt cool and exciting and fresh. Now when we look back it’s almost like a comedy. Deadpool is goofy and doesn’t take himself seriously. The music had to be fun but not funny.

More Music

  • Kane Brown 52nd Annual CMA Awards,

    Kane Brown's Staples Center Concert Postponed After Drummer's Death

    A sold-out concert by country star Kane Brown scheduled for Friday at Staples Center in Los Angeles has been postponed until January, due to the death of the singer’s drummer, Kenny Dixon, in a car accident Saturday in Tennessee. Brown was scheduled to perform Friday at the first of several gigs intended to celebrate the [...]

  • Kenny Dixon, Drummer for Country Star

    Kenny Dixon, Drummer for Country Star Kane Brown, Dies in Car Accident

    Kane Brown and his fans are mourning the death of the country star’s drummer, Kenny Dixon, in an automobile accident in Tennessee Saturday. “I’m gonna miss you so much man. I’d always come back and jam out with u,” Brown tweeted on Sunday, posting a photo of himself standing on the drum riser grinning at [...]

  • Chambers Brothers

    George Chambers, of 1960s Hit Group the Chambers Brothers, Dies at 88

    George “Pops” Chambers, singer and bassist for the Chambers Brothers, best known for the 1968 hit “Time Has Come Today,” died Saturday at 88. “The best big brother you could ever have,” Willie Chambers wrote on his Facebook page Sunday night. “I am so sad, and at the same time, I’m so glad to have [...]

  • Stock market

    Trading In Music's Futures: How to Cash In on the Industry's Gold Rush (Guest Column)

    The music industry is entering a time of financial prosperity thanks to the widespread use of streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal. According to a recent report by Musicwatch, 77% of all internet users in the U.S. stream music, while Goldman Sachs projects a revenue pot of $34 billion by 2030. Finally, the [...]

  • Vampire Weekend - Brian Robert Jones,

    Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, Rufus du Sol to Headline Okeechobee Festival

    Today, Insomniac Events announced the lineup for the fourth edition of Florida’s Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival. The four-day event will return to Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee, Florida March 5-8, 2020 with a multi-genre lineup led by Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, Rufus du Sol and Bassnectar, along with over 100 other artists across a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content