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Danny Elfman on His Bigger, Messier 2022

“It was a year of lots of insecurity and then a lot of, ‘Wow. What the fuck? How did that work?’” Elfman says of his year

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Danny Elfman Wrap Interview 2022
Danny Elfman, photo by Jonathan Williamson

    Our 2022 Annual Report continues with a wrap-up interview with Danny Elfman. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2022. You can find it all in one place here.


    For Danny Elfman, 2022 has been… a lot. Now decades into his career, the musician and composer seemingly decided, “Yeah, why not? I’ll just do everything,” and somehow pulled it off flawlessly. Three film scores, two concertos, a large-scale commission for The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, a remix album, two Coachella performances, and two Hollywood Bowl performances later, Danny Elfman is somehow closing out the year alive, well, and thriving.

    “I can’t think of when I had more crazy, disconnected, contrary things all happening on top of each other. It was very much a unique year for me,” Elfman tells Consequence. “I had two and a half years of rescheduling [because of COVID], which I thought would then happen over a two and a half year period – but it didn’t work out that way. Everything just focused into 2022.”

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    And yet, as compressed as his year was, Elfman’s 2022 output was far from quantity over quality. From Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to his career-spanning, genre-destroying Coachella stage show to Netflix’s recent smash-hit Wednesday, you can find Elfman’s fingerprints all over the most talked-about pop culture this year had to offer. It’s a spinning-plate routine that spanned 12 months and multiple countries.

    “Being able to go from a World Premier Cello Concerto in Vienna to Coachella was really insane, from one extreme to the other in just less than two weeks,” Elfman recalls. “And then from the second week at Coachella right to Costa Mesa for the second performance of my percussion concerto with Colin Currie. I’m literally there still with dust in my hair.”

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    The (multiverse of) madness doesn’t stop there. Late November saw the release of Noah Baumbach’s White Noise, for which Elfman composed the score, and on December 9th and 10th, he’ll be performing as Jack Skellington alongside Phoebe Bridgers’ Sally for a live performance of Nightmare Before Christmas in London.

    Elfman’s much-deserved break is coming, however. Even as projects bleed from this year into the next – including another commissioned piece for the Library of Congress and a gig crafting the music for a new ride at Universal – Elfman describes 2023 as looking unusually quiet.

    If 2022 has been any proof, though, Elfman is sure to be knee-deep in new projects before he knows it. Left to his own devices, he assures Consequence, he’ll find something to keep his interest. His plans as of now? “Looking at my electric guitars and going, ‘Hm, maybe we’ll spend some more time together.'”

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    Check out the full interview with Danny Elfman below. Limited tickets for Elfman’s Nightmare Before Christmas performance can be found here.


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