KEVIN MATHEWS COMPOSER : SONG STORIES – 12 STOREYS, BE WITH ME AND WANTON MEE.

Today, 1st August 2020, Netflix begins streaming three Eric Khoo movies that I contributed music to. Over at the Kevin Mathews Composer Facebook page, I shared these song stories to mark this occasion. Hope you find the reading as much fun as I did the writing.

12 Storeys OST (1997).
After demonstrating to me that I could write music for film via a short sequence in Mee Pok Man, Eric convinced me to write the music for 12 Storeys, his follow up film.
And so, one afternoon, he brought in a piano to his office and locked me in there with a cut of the film for 3 hours until I came up with a film score, and I did!
With a full-time job and young children at the time (this was 1996, folks), my compositions were re-arranged, recorded and produced for the film by J Kompa and Yeow, and they certainly did justice to the film and to my music! Kudos!!
The movie was released with a Soundtrack CD which included songs from local bands, film score pieces as well as a cover of “My One and Only” by Lum May Yee which was a top 5 radio hit. The 12 Storeys theme song – “My Life” was also recorded by Jacintha for the CD.
The film established Eric as a film maker to be reckoned with, being the first Singaporean film to be screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 1997. Good times.

Be With Me OST (2005)
Roll on a full 8 years after the release of 12 Storeys before Eric helmed another feature. He had used the interim period to produce a different bunch of films, which I provided music for, like Stories About Love (2000) and One Leg Kicking (2001).With Be With Me, as usual, Eric was very hands on in terms of what he heard in his head concerning the music. So, we spent an afternoon with a piano as he talked me through what he wanted. As I played some musical ideas for him, he recorded me on camera – wonder where those videos are, eh?This time, we were fortunate to work with composer-arranger-producer Christine Sham, who took my raw ideas and fashioned them into the amazing film score you can hear on the finished movie.I must say that especially with the poignant opening theme, Christine elevated what was originally a promising chord progression into a full-fledged emotionally resonant mood piece. That song coupled with two more themes made Be With Me a memorable experience for me.The soundtrack CD was also a fun project to work on – perhaps it’s time to get it online somehow?

Wanton Mee (2015)
Definitely one of Eric’s lesser known movies but a heartfelt one as Wanton Mee pays tribute to Singapore food and the people behind the food.
Film score wise, it was a simpler project, aided and abetted by Eric’s talented son Christopher – who composed a poignant theme – and Patrick Chng, who assisted with the recording.
Love the performances of Boon Pin and Uncle Bill (Teoh) in this one. I have a nice little cameo appearance as well. See if you can spot!

Now streaming at Netflix.

still there’s more

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