The Porn Soundtrack

Hear ThisSki and snowboard porn that is. Meet the man responsible for the music behind those Warren Miller flicks, including this season’s 60th anniversary film Dynasty.

It’s the ski/snowboard porn that has kept audiences coming back to Warren Miller films for 60 years. But it’s the soundtrack that brings the film together. We’re always impressed by the diversity of bands in a Warren Miller soundtrack, so we talked to Music Supervisor Travis Schneider, about how he chooses the music that gives the movies soul.

How do you choose the music for a Warren Miller film?
It’s an endless process. I keep my ears open all year for possible tracks that will work within the film, so I’m constantly building a playlist for each film. I drop tracks into it whenever I hear something usable and inspiring. I get packages of CDs sent to me every day, so my optons could come from there or even from a friend playing me something of their own. I choose the songs based on energy and feeling.

Was there anything different about this year’s film?
Since it’s the 60th year, we made the decision to use some historic bands that we might not normally go for—Cream, Deep Purple, The Chambers Brothers, The Beginning of The End. They ended up fitting really well with everything else and really drove the segments. I also made the conscious decision to not use as much heavy or aggressive music as we normally do. A lot of people expect extreme sports films to go straight to those genres as their go-to tracks, but I love the challenge of finding a melody that will drive a segment rather than decibels.

How do you match the music to the action? Do you see a scene and think of a certain band?
That’s ultimately up to the editor, my dad, Kim Schneider. I usually send him a ton of songs I think will work and he decides where they should go, and then turns the whole thing into magic. Once I see a rough cut then I can put in my own 2 cents. I might see one segment and realize there’s something better than can go there that would fit the mood better. In the Dubai segment in one film, my go-to band was Secret Chiefs 3. They blend traditional Arabic music with surf, metal and electronic music.

A band that I was excited to hear in the movie was the Yeah Yeah Yeahs? How did you choose them?
They have a super raw and stripped down sound. We used a lot of polished songs within the film, so we needed something with their type of invigorating energy. The song we used is off of their new record and I always make it a point to help push new material for bands that I love.

And you have some more eclectic stuff like Tinariwen…
Tinariwen are a nomadic band of Tuareg people from North Africa. It’s like a tribe of traditional African musicians fronted by Jimi Hendrix at his most melodic and sentimental. The song we ended up using really conveys the feeling of travel and adventure, and the segment it’s used in is exactly that. I highly recommend picking up their album “Aman Iman.”

Is there an unknown band in Dynasty we shold listen for?
We’ve got a band called Crash Kings. They’re a new group that just put out their first record which they recorded with Dave Sardy who has worked with The Rolling Stones, Oasis, Johnny Cash, Jay-Z. He doesn’t usually take on unknowns but he loved them. The two brothers in the band are avid skiers as well, and we’ve got them playing live within the film and also trying their luck at a pond skimming contest. •

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