Exclusive: Sean Lennon’s score to new film, ‘Alter Egos’

Sean Lennon exhibited near superhuman strength when it came to composing the score to “Alter Egos,” writer/director Jordan Galland”s new indie film.

The comedy, which opens at New York”s Cinema Village on Thursday, is about superheroes who fall from grace with ordinary citizens. The plot revolves around  a superhero who puts a mission in peril when he finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him with his own Alter Ego.

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Remarkably, Lennon wrote more than 20 cues in four days, including the vocal tune, “My Hero.” Hitfix brings you the exclusive first listen to five of the tracks from the eclectic score, embedded below.

“The biggest challenge is I had to learn a certain kind of vocabulary, film scoring vocabulary,” says Lennon, who had previously written music for only one other film, Galland”s 2009 feature “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead.” “It was difficult with the time constraints. It”s a relatively small film so we didn”t have a lot of resources.”

Galland, who has known Lennon since high school, provided Lennon with some guidance, but primarily gave him free rein. “I wanted to let him flex those muscles,” Galland says.

The diverse score opens with the ominous, strident “Main Theme” instrumental before moving to the sweet, retro-sounding “My Hero.” The score”s one vocal track, featuring Karla Moheno, crosses a touch of Hawaiian with a doo-wop, ’50s production. 

The sweeping “The Killer” combines strings and horns to create a sense of dread. The noir-ish “Hampty Hamps” slithers across the landscape, while “The Dance Part 1” is a guitar-driven romp that crosses Dick Dale with Steven Reich.

“I wound up playing everything myself in the studio,” Lennon says, including drums, bass, guitar, pianos and other keyboards. The symphonic flourishes came courtesy of Lennon”s computer. “That was the hard part,” Lennon says. “[Jordan] wanted something grandiose and orchestral.”

“We didn”t sleep for a week,” Galland says, who co-wrote “My Hero.” “Sean just raced through these different genres effortlessly.” Though Galland had intended to license a song for the scene with “My Hero,” Lennon persuaded him not to. “Sean was like, ‘C”mon man. We can totally write a song that sounds like it”s from the ’50s.” I was skeptical at first. I was like, ‘ You really want to add one more complicated thing to do”?” It turns out he did.

Lennon found scoring to picture liberating because “your path is made clear. There”s a train track laid down for you and you stick to that,” he says. “You just focus on the scene and what works and not worrying about your feelings.”

Lennon would like to continue scoring, adding, “It”s a natural evolution of where my music is going.”

“Alter Egos” will have its official premiere at the Friar”s Club Comedy Film Festival on Oct. 26.

The full soundtrack for “Alter Egos” will be available Nov. 20 via iTunes, through Chimeramusic.com and through select retailers.

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