Out Take: Jimmy LaValle

Jimmy LaValle


Web: thealbumleaf.com

Contact: Bobbi Marcus, [email protected]

Most Recent: Something in the Dirt

Jimmy LaValle, who has created music as The Album Leaf since the late ’90s, recently wrote the score for last fall’s sci-fi comedy Something in the Dirt, marking his fourth collaboration with filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. “The working relationship we have is pretty seamless. They have a lot of trust in me, and I have a lot of trust in them. They really give me the time and space to explore, come up with new themes and approaches, and try different ideas. And they are really helpful in guiding the music and bringing it home. After four films, we’ve grown and are still pushing each other,” LaValle says. 

Known for relying heavily on synthesizer and electronics in his work, LaValle says he spends a lot of time searching for the right tone in which the music fits the scene without becoming distracting. “I like to find the nuance in a palette of sound,” he says. “There’s a fine balance, because you want to create something that can both support visual media and stand on its own at the same time. How do you support a scene, but not interfere with it? It’s a fun, challenging navigation.” 

LaValle says one of the most valuable learning experiences he’s had was on a television series project he was fired from, which taught him a lot about what type of composer he is and acknowledging limitations. “The challenge of being under a tight network TV deadline was a good crash course intro to that world, but it also helped me figure out the balance of how to do what’s expected of you while keeping the boundaries that are important to you. I’ve learned to accept that I don’t work fast. I take my time, I’m detail-oriented and just want to be creative. Being honest about boundaries and the type of composer you are is the best thing you can do and will best serve the project.” 

LaValle’s seventh album, untitled at the time of this writing, will be released in May. LaValle also scored the upcoming Baby Blue, written and directed by Adam Mason.