New “Star Trek: Nemesis” Expanded Soundtrack · Interview with Producer Lukas Kendall

January sees the release of the final expanded soundtrack from the original ten films – the final adventure of the Next Generation crew, Star Trek: Nemesis – issued by Varèse Sarabande. We caught up with soundtrack Producer Lukas Kendall to get the inside scoop on the newest Trek soundtrack.

Lukas Kendall

Lukas Kendall – Star Trek: Nemesis Soundtrack Interview

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TrekCore: It’s great to talk to you again, Lukas! This time last year, we asked you about the possibility of an expanded Star Trek: Nemesis soundrack – and now we've heard the great news that Varèse Sarabande will be putting out that set next month.

Tell us the story behind this set. I understand that Bob Townson, the producer at Varèse Sarabande, is a big Jerry Goldsmith fan.

Lukas Kendall: Bob Townson is a huge Goldsmith fan; he worked with Jerry on many original soundtrack albums and re-recordings. Bob has been busy this year, touring with a concert series celebrating Varèse’s 35th anniversary, so it was a fortunate circumstance where I could do some of the production work on the expanded Nemesis set.

He’s done well over a thousand soundtrack CDs – so he certainly doesn't need my help – but this was a happy case where the timing made sense for me to work on this project. I've known Bob for over two decades and this is the first time I've been able to collaborate on an album with him.

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TrekCore: Nemesis completes a rather personal project for you and many others: finally issuing the last of the complete, extended Original Series and Next Generation movie soundtracks. Talk to us a bit about the journey – did you ever think you'd get here?

Lukas Kendall: Yes, I did think we’d get here, to be honest. I didn't know exactly how it would unfold – or how long it would take – but in the end, it happened more or less as I had hoped. It was a very long process of rebuilding and modernizing the relationships between Paramount, CBS, GNP/Crescendo, and the many record labels that have rights to different titles.

Like a lot of collectors from my generation, I have gone from holding a tape recorder to the television set in order to hear unreleased cues to having a couple thousand tracks of Star Trek music in iTunes folders. It’s totally unreal how it happened; it’s given us instant access to each composer’s interpretation of Star Trek storytelling. I could have outlined, seven years ago, how it would all happen – and it wasn’t easy.

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There were a number of us who worked on most (if not all) of the CDs: Mike Matessino and Neil Bulk worked on the audio, while Jeff Bond did the liner notes. A lot of the people at the labels and studios who contributed in one capacity or another are friends and colleagues I've known for ten or twenty years, so it’s really meaningful that we were able to do this all together.

Now that we’re almost done – there are some more Trek television albums that La-La Land wants to do – I am very glad that collectors have access to the music, that the studios got paid, nobody got ripped off, and nothing got released in anything but the correct form.

That last fact has resulted in a funny side effect: If you produce an album correctly (or video release, or any product), there is little feedback — because there’s nothing to complain about! “Great work!” isn't very interesting or controversial, so most of the feedback you get is, “Great work on X, now when are you going to release Y?” Of course, now that we’re done with so many of the albums, even that feedback is dwindling!

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TrekCore: The inclusion of Brent Spiner’s rendition of “Blue Skies” on this set has generated a lot of fan interest. Which new tracks have you most excited?

Lukas Kendall: I think the longer version of “End Title” is what people have most been wanting. An oddity of this score is that we had virtually every track twice: a “live” mix made at the time of the orchestral recording, mostly used for the original soundtrack album, and a remix, which was mostly (if not entirely) used in the film. Mike Matessino identified all of the takes used in the film to make the collector’s edition a companion to the original soundtrack album, just like we did for Insurrection.

TrekCore: Let's reflect back on all ten expanded Trek film soundtracks. Which ones stand out as the most impressive to you?

Lukas Kendall: My favorite continues to be The Wrath of Khan. It’s not just my favorite film and score, but it was the first expanded CD we did of the Star Trek movies. The most ambitious one we did, though, was Star Trek: The Motion Picture, because Bruce Botnick did a new mix of the complete score from the 16-track multitrack masters. That score is a masterpiece. That 3-CD set was a mammoth undertaking in every way, from the licensing to the mixing to the liner notes. La-La Land really invested a lot of money into that, just like they did with the TOS box set.

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TrekCore: What about the Michael Giacchino’s soundtracks for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek movies? Do you have any involvement – or interest – in the music from those films?

Lukas Kendall: My relationship to the new films and scores is solely as a fan. Like many fans, there are times when I’m excited to see the franchise reinterpreted with such vigor and spectacle, and other times when I feel like it has nothing to do with the Star Trek I know and love.

I used to read comic books, and at some point, maybe I was 16 or 17, not only did the stories start to repeat, but the art changed into something unrecognizable. It was all drawn differently, and not necessarily for the better. That’s how I feel about the new Trek movies – and movies and soundtracks today in general – it’s necessarily “better” or “worse,” but it’s all drawn differently; I just don’t have the same emotional connection to it.

But we’ll always have Paris… and Ron Jones’ score to “We’ll Always Have Paris.”

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You can head on over to the Varèse Sarabande website to secure your pre-order for $24.98.

Other Expanded Soundtracks Also Available:

  • archer9234

    Can’t wait to get this. I already have all the other expanded CD sets. Now get to work on more DS9 and Voyager lol.

    • scarecroe

      Yes! Voyager is the only score that hasn’t been expanded yet. Bring it on!

      • Donny Pearson

        Nor is “Enterprise.” Bring that on as well!

        • adamclark83

          Apparently there’s an Enterprise one coming out in February.

    • Daniel

      The First DS9-Box is allready out from LaLa

      http://www.lalalandrecords.com/DS9.html

  • Alex

    Any news on UK retailer as customs and Royal Mail charges make things very expensive here?

    • Jamie

      I second that.
      I have yet to pick up the Insurrection soundtrack due to customs charges and higher shipping fees to the UK.
      It would be nice if Amazon UK would start selling the extended albums.

  • Sykes

    Great job on everything, Lukas! When are you going to release more? ;-)

  • BrianRoskamp

    Since meeting Brent Spiner at a convention just a couple years after Nemesis’s release and his stating that he recorded the full version of “Blue Skies” for the movie, I’ve been trying to track down a copy. I’m glad it’s being properly released and the Mr. Spiner is getting a fair cut for his work.

  • ScottDS

    Instead of linking to Amazon for the existing albums, you could link to Screen Archives Entertainment… straight from the source and a tad cheaper in most cases. :-)

    http://www1.screenarchives.com/display_results.cfm/category/513/STAR-TREK-FILM-MUSIC/

    • BrianRoskamp

      But then TrekCore doesn’t get a cut due to the referral program. Which I’m not against, since TrekCore is ad-free, but I think providing both links and an explanation as to why buying through Amazon supports the site would be nice.

      • ScottDS

        I thought of that as soon as I posted my comment. :-)

  • Yavar Moradi

    Hi TrekCore…it’s really great to see this interview. I know it may be too late, but is there any chance you might have interviews to cover the complete GNP releases of Generations and Insurrection? I’d love to know more behind the scenes info on those (though I guess perhaps it might have too much overlap with the First Contact interview). Unfortunately they passed by with little comment on this site, and I couldn’t find much of anything elsewhere.