EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Spider-Man 3 Soundtrack Producer Jordan Tappis

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Spider-Man 3 Soundtrack Producer Jordan Tappis

Just a few short years ago, Jordan Tappis was catching waves and taking home trophies as a professional surfer. These days, he’s busy catching the music industry’s top talent. As owner of Venice, California-based “Record Collection”, his label is set to release the original soundtrack to the highly anticipated motion picture Spider-Man 3. The soundtrack, which is due for release on May 1st, includes all-new original songs from established and emerging alt-rock and pop bands, including Snow Patrol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jet, The Flaming Lips, Wolfmother, The Walkmen and The Killers. We caught up with Jordan in Toronto and he was kind enough to answer a few questions...

ComicBookMovie: Are you or have you ever been a comic book reader?

Jordan Tappis: I have been reading certain comic books off and on for years, specifically the darker Batman comics. I’ve always gravitated towards the darker side of comics and films.

ComicBookMovie: So you like the Batman books without Robin then.

Jordan Tappis: (Laughs) Correct! And that is precisely what drew me into the Spider-Man 3 project. Of all the Spider-Man movies and comics, this storyline lent itself to my style more than the rest—specifically with the Venom character, and with Spider-Man grappling with his good vs. evil side. That was something that really resonated with me, and everyone else working on the project.

ComicBookMovie: The fans are all very interested to see Venom on the big screen.

Jordan Tappis: I have to tell you. I’ve seen some frame grabs and a little footage, and it looks phenomenal. I’m so excited for everybody to see it.

ComicBookMovie: So, how does a pro surfer become a record producer?

Jordan Tappis: I couldn’t even begin to tell you. (Laughs) Well, I’m not a record producer. I own the label and my partner Dave is the record producer, so we approached this thing together. But to answer your question, about 2001 I left the pro surfing tour because I didn’t want to be 30—having to get a job, and my only experience being in the surfing industry. I didn’t go to college or anything, but my main passion had always been music. My sister worked at a label at the time, and ironically she’s the director of publicity at our label now, but then I was always interested in what she was doing. At some point, I think it was in a contest in France, I said to myself, "You know what? I think I don’t want to do this anymore." I still love surfing, and its still a passion to do, but I don’t necessarily need to make it my career. So, I left the tour and about 2 months later started "Record Collection" with my best friend Mike and my surfing sponsor Paul Gomez, who is one the guys who owns Hurley.

ComicBookMovie: And how long did it take before you started getting work like the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack? That’s an awesome leap!

Jordan Tappis: Oh man, it’s a huge thing for us. We’ve done a few soundtracks before. We did the soundtrack to a film called “Whassup Rockers”, the Larry Clark movie about skateboarder kids in the inner city. And then, we did another film called “Sprout”, which is a surf film made by a filmmaker by the name of Thomas Campbell. And the thing that drew us to all the projects is just our passion for the work. The surfing obviously is closely related to everything we do. “Whassup Rockers” is all about skateboarding which is part of the culture that we’re in, and then Spider-Man came along, and everyone was into it, I mean hey, it’s Spider-Man.

ComicBookMovie: Exactly, a pop-culture icon.

Jordan Tappis: Exactly.

ComicBookMovie: What lead you to put together all the Indie bands for this round of Spidey music?

Jordan Tappis: Obviously, we saw the other Spider-Man Films and listened to the records, although the music was somewhat outside of my interests. So, after Dave struck the deal with Sony and I got introduced to them, we were able to persuade them to follow our musical instincts and our label overall, which is kinda around the indie rock marketplace. So when we put this soundtrack together we pitched Sam Raimi and Sony and just said, “This is where we’re going, and this is the direction we’d like to head in.” And they were totally into it, so it was like a very natural fit. Everybody got on board, and basically it’s just a compilation of all our favorite bands. That’s really what it comes down to. Some of them are big, some are small, but they’re all our favorite bands at the moment.

ComicBookMovie: How do you approach bands and say, “Hey, do you want to be on the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack? And how many of them actually create something specifically for the movie?”

Jordan Tappis: All of them.

ComicBookMovie: What kind of direction do you give them?

Jordan Tappis: I give them a synopsis of the film, and what it is about. In general terms it is about Peter’s fight between his good side and his bad side, and that the thing that pulls him out of that darker place is his love for Mary Jane, and to a lesser degree his love for his friends and family. All the bands responded well to that because a lot of the bands we like already write music in that similar vein—grappling with the dark side of life. (Laughs) We all just like the darker things.

ComicBookMovie: Sure, the darkness is more interesting to contemplate.

Jordan Tappis: Hopefully this soundtrack will propel people to go out and buy the music from these artists, and if they do that, which is our goal, people are going to see that there is a reason these bands are on the soundtrack, and a reason why we went after them. It was because we thought that their music and their style of writing complimented this film and this franchise really well. It wasn’t done arbitrarily, it was far more calculated.

ComicBookMovie: What does it mean when you have on the record “Music Inspired by...”.

Jordan Tappis: That’s a funny question. A problem came about a few years back when soundtracks were coming out and they really weren’t soundtracks, or represented the film. There were songs that weren’t actually in the movie, or there were songs that were already recorded that people just liked so they put them on the record, and they weren’t true soundtracks. So, there was a bit of a backlash from the fans, so they’ve changed the vernacular to Music Inspired by… to mean that all these songs are written for or about the movie, with the Spider-Man character or franchise in mind, but not all of them will actually be heard in the movie itself.

ComicBookMovie: Do you know how many of the songs will get in the movie then?

Jordan Tappis: I don’t know the exact number, and I don’t actually think anybody knows until the film is completely finished, but there will be at least 5 that get in the movie one way or another. I suspect it might even be a couple more than that, but at least 5.

ComicBookMovie: Do you have a feel for which track is going to be the big one for this soundtrack?

Jordan Tappis Definitely Snow Patrol’s Signal Fire. It’s already impacting Modern Rock, Hot AC, and Top 40 radio. That's the one that everyone is going to hear on all the trailers, commercials and see during a really big sequence in the movie. Our second single off the record is from the Walkmen. That song is called "Red River" and it's a fantastic song.

ComicBookMovie: Is there anything else you want to impart to the hardcore comics fans? Now is the time to tell them.

Jordan Tappis: Here’s something specific. I’d tell them that the song on track 11 "Summer Day" by Coconut Records is actually a duet between the actor Jason Swartzman and Kirsten Dunst.

ComicBookMovie: Is that right? Well that is a scoop!

Jordan Tappis: Yes, it is. I think you’re the only one that knows this. Besides that, I’d just want everyone to know we’re really big fans of this film and franchise, and we think Sam Raimi is an amazing person for putting this whole thing together. He’s probably one the only directors that can cover the wide range of this character, and I think Spider-Man is one of the most in-depth characters. Spider-Man 3 really rounds out the character, and the fact that Sam Raimi has been aboard all three movies thus far is the reason why it has enjoyed so much success—unlike the previous Batman franchise where it fell ap
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