Meet Sven Faulconer : A Belgian film composer living in California

27.06.2016 - Dries Tack

 Sven Faulconer - Film composer

Sven Faulconer, born and raised in Belgium, is a Los Angeles-based composer for film and television. He employs a wide and unique range of musical styles, as reflected in the remarkable list of credits acquired by him over the years.

In particular, a keen sense for collaboration and strong story-telling skills have earned him music credits on such blockbuster movies as The Hunger Games series, Nightcrawler, The Bourne Legacy, The Green Hornet and Parkland. His original approach in independent productions has resulted in numerous scores with a very distinctive character.

Get to know Sven: 

Why did you leave Belgium? / Why did you move to the USA?

I moved to Southern California for a couple of different reasons. My wife Edine and I have always dreamt of living in Southern California - many years before we met even. I was initially mainly drawn by the surf culture; I’d been surfing since I was twelve but unfortunately only for 1 week a year in the South of France. My wife was drawn by the beaches - she’s more of a boogie boarder - but also by the aerospace industry, which is what she specialized in during her engineering studies. So in 2007, when an opportunity arose to move to Orange County with Materialise - the company I was working for back then - we didn’t hesitate. My dual citizenship - through my father who’s American - made it a lot easier for my wife to get a work permit / green card. Another strong draw for me was my background in film music. I’d been composing music from a very young age and had developed a strong passion for writing music to picture, so the prospect of moving to the world’s movie making capital was a huge deal. The intention to focus even more on that passion and potentially get further academic and professional training were big factors.

 

Portrait Sven Faulconer

What does your life look like right now?

It’s pretty much a hectic combo of raising our two kids (two and four) and working as a film composer. My wife works for 20th Century Fox, so things get pretty busy for the both of us at times. Film music is one of the very last steps in a movie’s post production phase, which means that any delays caused by earlier stages of the production process are now the composer’s problem, especially if there’s a fixed release date - but it definitely keeps the adrenaline going.

Are Americans and Belgians very different?

I think so. There seems to be a stronger sense of national pride and togetherness in the US, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the country can’t be very divided at times, but I’ve definitely seen how the United States embody some kind of strong common cause for a lot of Americans. As anyone from Europe who’s been to the US will tell you, everyone is extremely nice and polite, especially compared to most European countries. Initially, my Belgian roots triggered some scepticism regarding the sincerity of this demeanor, but over time I’ve come to look differently at what first seemed like superficial friendliness. Now that our kids are growing up here, I see that it’s a big part of the upbringing. Over time, I’ve come to appreciate the sense of support I get from people around me and in my case I even feel that it’s played an important role professionally. I do feel that all these things are connected somehow.

Sven Faulconer music

How do you connect to Belgium?

My wife and I Skype quite regularly with our parents and siblings and we typically travel to Belgium once a year.

How do you relax in the USA?

We love going on a little road trip or camping with the kids, which has become a lot more feasible now that Fiona is more than two years old. On weekends we like to go on little half-day outings; there seems to be an endless range of incredible hikes all around Los Angeles. We also love going to the beach or to the Long Beach aquarium. Or the Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena and the Natural History Museum in LA. I love to go surf with my buddies, or go run, but when things get busy, those two activities tend to get put on the back burner.. When I get a weekday off, I’ll go watch a movie in the middle of the day which I really love.

What's your favorite US meal/treat?

It’s gotta be a steak at Baltaire in Brentwood, or the California burger at Hillstone… or the seared tuna salad there. Hard to choose… I’ve lately also become obsessed with the Pastrami Reuben sandwich at the Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica, but be careful when you go cause it gets incredibly busy around noon...

Sven Faulconer composing

What do we have to do to get you back in Belgium?

Move the entire Los Angeles movie industry there?

Which Belgian do you admire most?

Adolphe Sax… or maybe Toots Thielemans?

Which American do you admire most?

I’m working with a director right now whose girlfriend is Richard Feynman’s daughter, so I’ve become pretty obsessed with this Nobel prize winning theoretical physicist. My dad used to get lectures from him when he was in college, so he’s told me some interesting stories about him as well. But if I’d have to make a final pick, it’d be Billie Holiday.

What was your biggest surprise in the USA?

How the evenings almost never really stay that warm in LA, especially on the Westside. But I’m being very nitpicky now… Also, everything is done by car in this city.

Portrait Sven Faulconer Piano

What started your interest in art? / What do you get out of it?

We had a piano at home which I was always fiddling around with as a boy, I was naturally drawn to it and every day I’d be improvising little pieces on it. My parents signed me up for music school when I was 8, so once I started learning notation, I started scribbling down rough ideas and later wrote my first little pieces. But I do remember that I spent most of my time improvising, which was kind of a liberating, almost hypnotic experience for me. Something about trying to combine a fun melody with an interesting succession of chords had an almost therapeutic effect on me, even as a young.

Sven Faulconer

All pictures © Sven Faulconer

For more information on Sven Faulconer, visit www.svenfaulconer.com.

This article is part of our series called “Belgians in the USA.” Belgians in the USA aims at promoting Belgian talent across the globe. It includes a variety of individuals who have gotten the privilege to experience the world and all of its glory when they decided to follow their business-driven aspirations and leave their “beer-loving,” “waffle-making” home country to move to the “land of the free.” Take a look at our other articles to learn about Belgian-based businesses arising in the US and read the inspiring individuals’ stories as they discuss life as an expatriate and what it takes to be a “Belgian in the USA.”

Griet Van Wesemael

Tags

Art, Expat

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