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 – Star Trek: Nemesis Soundtrack Interview
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.”
You can head on over to the Varèse Sarabande website to secure your pre-order for $24.98.
Other Expanded Soundtracks Also Available:
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture Soundtrack – Remastered and Expanded
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Soundtrack – Newly Expanded Edition
- Star Trek III The Search For Spock Soundtrack – Newly Expanded Edition
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Soundtrack – Remastered and Expanded
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Soundtrack – Newly Expanded Edition
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Soundtrack – Newly Expanded Edition
- Star Trek: Generations Soundtrack – Expanded Collector’s Edition
- Star Trek: First Contact Soundtrack – Complete Motion Picture Score
- Star Trek: Insurrection Soundtrack– Expanded Collector’s Edition
- Star Trek (2009) Soundtrack – Deluxe Edition