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Bryce Jacobs scores the film "Rush"

Posted on Nov 22, 2013.

When Australian guitarist and composer Bryce Jacobs gave up a reasonably successful music career and relocated to the USA ten years ago, his goal was to break into the film industry, and he knew it would be tough. Through hard work and vision, that dream has gradually come to fruition, culminating in his biggest break yet co-scoring the new critically acclaimed Ron Howard movie Rush with legendary German composer Hans Zimmer. As well as working with Zimmer on the score, Bryce's guitar work can be heard all over the film and accompanying soundtrack.

We caught up with Bryce to tell us a little a bit about how he approached writing and recording the music for a movie about Formula One racing...

"The original concept for the music was the ounds of F1 and the 70's meeting modern day cinematic orchestra. Somewhere in that fusion something unique needed to be created to reflect the story faithfully. Niki Lauda was a mathematician and James Hunt was a hedonist, so there needed to be music of precision as well as rock star glory. Amongst all this, a sense of hero and rivalry... and the enticing threat of death needed to always be calling.

Hans asked me to do a suite that was purely made up of guitars that we would then translate to the orchestral and electronic elements. I ended up layering 37 guitars including a 7 octave guitar of my own design. I utilised a lot of Fender gear. My '59 reissue Telecaster took on a haunting left of centre soprano voice persona. Distant and totally verbed out..... it was my kind of "angel of death" colour. For some of the more nerve racking/unsettling moments in the film my Fender lap-steel came in very handy. It's amazing how many textures you can draw out of a lap-steel. I also bought a Fender 5 string a little while back that I pulled in a whole lot of aggressive directions. My Guild jumbo acoustic has always been an excellent companion in my film work - bold, guttural and all encompassing. For the Niki and Marlene honeymoon sequence in Ibiza I used a set of mallets on guitars immersed in synths and orchestra. I had unfortunately sold my Strat when I left Australia in 2008 so had to borrow one (the same that I played on "Savages"). It was integral to the emotion of that cue..... I hated giving that guitar back!!

An army of slides, capos, ebows and a Fender key chain all had ongoing roles in the search for new ways to make a guitar not sound like a guitar. I needed it to sound like F1 cars, ambition, love, sensuality and death in as visceral way as possible.

Working with Hans and the team was very special. Hans invited me to be a part of the film from the first meeting with Ron Howard and I was able to witness and be a part of movie making at its best. I was really taken when I saw the first cut of the film... all the components were there; a great script by Peter Morgan, outstanding onscreen performances from Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl, brilliant editing by Dan Hanley, and of course, Ron Howard's incredible commitment to get this true story expressed exactly right. I soon realised that "Rush' was one of the best films I'd ever seen.... I was very humbled to be a part of it.

Hans is a music producer in the truest sense. He'll have a vision for a film and then will call on those who he feels will bring something to the film. I was also able to work with the likes of Peter Asher, Steve Lipson and Bob Badami in the process. For me, it was a great honor to be working on a very special film based on an incredible true story. Niki Lauda is still alive and I felt that his trust to the film makers to represent his life and rivalry on screen extended to my role... and I didn't take it lightly. The tagline of the film is "Everyone's driven by something"... and it certainly felt that way for me while working on it. "