Chris Shiflett: Beach Music

Interview
chris shiflettKQED is fortunate to have all the original music featured in Coastal Clash created by Foo Fighter's guitarist Chris Shiftlett. Although Chris has played in bands since a young age, this is his first score for a documentary. Inspired by his love for surfing and the ocean, as well as watching a half-dozen rough cuts of the film, Chris came up with 30 original pieces of music for the film, ten of which you can listen to here. We caught up with Chris after a Foo Fighter's rehearsal to ask him about his experience as a film composer.

Q: Where did you grow up, and did you spend time on California's coast as a kid? I grew up in Santa Barbara, CA so ya, i spent lots of time at the beach growing up.

Q: What does the beach/coastline of California mean to you? The beach is therapeutic to me. There's nothing better than paddling out while the sun's coming up. It's spiritual and recharges your batteries.

Q: When did you begin surfing? Do you still like to surf? Where? It's funny, although i spent my whole life hanging out at the beach I never really picked up surfing until a few years ago. When I was in High School I thought surfers were like jocks. I much preferred to be a pale, skinny musician. I hate to admit it, but i was more of a boogie boarder as a kid.

Now, I'm basically going thru the same stage that most of my surf friends went thru as kids - I'm a 33 year old grommet. I live in Los Angeles so i tend to surf anywhere between County Line and Manhattan Beach.

Q: When you look at California's coastline, what worries you, if anything? In Santa Barbara, where I grew up, obviously development of the coastline is an ongoing problem. I just don't want to see our beautiful state coast get over developed and ruined for future generations.

Q: When did you begin playing music, and what bands have you been in? Lucky for me, I had older brothers so music was always a part of my life cuz they both play guitar. I started playing at 11 years old after a failed attempt at learning piano. I joined my first band when I was 14 (Lost Kittenz) so we could play our High School talent show and then just kept going. I've played in all sorts of local bands you wouldn't know and then got the gig in No Use For A Name in 1995 which led to Me First and the Gimme Gimme's and then ultimately to Foo Fighters in 1999. Oh ya, I also started another band a couple of years ago called Jackson United and we've been slowly plugging away at touring and recording.

chris shiflett and sonQ: How did you come up with the music for Coastal Clash? What inspired you? Watching the rough cuts of the movie and a general knowledge of a lot of the areas that it covers were my main inspirations (of course, notes from Liz [Coastal Clash producer Elizabeth Pepin] played a part too!).

Q: What is your favorite song from Coastal Clash? It's hard to say. When you look at the whole thing it's over 30 pieces of music! That's like making a double record. I guess I'd have to go with "Elwood" cuz it feels like something I'd listen to on the way to the beach.

Q: What projects are you working on in the coming year? Is there a new Foo Fighter's album in the works? We've been rehearsing for a couple months now learning new Foo songs so we're close to getting in the studio to start the next record. We're still finishing up our new studio so once that's done we'll get down to business. Also, I've been doing a little touring with my other band Jackson United and we're getting ready to release our first full length record in the States early next year so we'll get back out on the road for some more shows in the spring.

Q: Would you like to score films in the future? Absolutely! I didn't have any idea what I was doing when I started this project but I feel like I learned a lot so I'm ready to do some more.

Q: Anything else you'd like Coastal Clash viewers to know? I think that covers most of the bases...
Music
Stream selections from Chris Shiflett's Emmy Award-winning score for Coastal Clash.

listenStream all 10 tunes.