Composer Gregory Tripi Discusses “Dark Places”

We recently spoke with composer Gregory Tripi, whose latest project is the psychological mystery film “Dark Places” written and directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner. The film is based on the novel Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and stars Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks, Nicholas Hoult and Chloë Grace Moretz. It is currently available on DirecTV and is also getting a theatrical run beginning August 7, 2015. Read Tripi’s full interview here: 

How do you describe your score to Dark Places?

It’s not as dark as people would assume.  The movie obviously has some dark elements to it, but it’s really more about a character who needs closure and has to face her vulnerable side.   Music in the film takes on different roles, but the score is mostly giving some organic elements to the scenes.  It’s a combination of synths, strings, steel instruments, and textural pads.

Did you have any challenges musically when creating the score to Dark Places?

The film features several songs by contemporary artists, and classic rocks songs, in addition to the film score.  They all occupy a space that can change the mood of the film depending on what style of music is being used there.  The moments that the score could help inform a scene had to be chosen carefully, and at other times, the score needs to be barely perceived.  It’s a difficult balancing act.

How did you initially decide what kind of sound/tone the score was going to be for Dark Places?

There was not a lot of time to compose, so I just went with my initial gut instinct.   I had a concept for using several custom built steel percussion instruments, and I recorded myself playing them on the first day of work.  They blended in with the electronic elements of the score fairly well.   Everything else was just making it up as I went.   I think that the lead character of Libby benefits from the moments where we hear a performed instrument (like guitar or piano), so I tried to play lots of live parts for her scenes. 


What was your favorite scene to score in the film?

The finale.  It gave me a little more room to make a musical statement, and the director had an idea to end on something ambiguous, and to let everything evaporate.   I thought that was a great idea, so I went with it.

You have worked with Cliff Martinez on a lot of projects, what has been your favorite so far?

We did a French film called A l’Origine several years ago.  It was a really nice combination of orchestra and ambient synths.   I think some of the techniques we developed in that film stuck around and were used for several films after that, including my own scores.

What is your instrument of choice?

Piano for writing, Hang Drum for relaxing.

What would be your ideal project to score?

I heard they were making a movie of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel Rendevous With Rama.  I would do anything to work on it!

Which non-musical influences are important to your music?

My family is very important to me.  My girlfriend and I had a son right after I finished working on Dark Places.  He’s even made an appearance in some compositions, cooing in to a microphone.  I like having them nearby when I work.

What type of music are you listening to at the moment?

I listen to a lot of Chet Baker, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and nursery rhymes.

Lean more about Gregory at

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Jim Napier

Jim Napier

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