Fleet Foxes Frontman Robin Pecknold On Creating The Music For Amazon’s Documentary ‘Wildcat’ – Sound & Screen

Robin Pecknold is best known for being the front man of indie folk band Fleet Foxes, but he’s also dabbled in scoring music for the stage and big screen. His sounds will next be heard in Wildcat, an upcoming Amazon Studios documentary following a young veteran on his journey into the Amazon.

Pecknold appeared on a panel at Deadline’s Sound & Screen event following his performance alongside a 60-piece orchestra to discuss his process creating music for the December 30 release.

“In my songwriting process, I usually start with melody,” he said. “Then I write a bunch of small little things and don’t really think about how to put them together until later when I end up with like a chorus that started as a bridge for something else. Or with things that take surprising directions in different combinations, that’s usually how it goes.”

Thanks to his years writing folk music, Pecknold found he connected with the story behind Wildcat and its connection to nature. “Everyone should go see it; it’s really touching and wonderful,” he said. “I love that it takes place in this natural kind of wild environment. It’s quite human and a psychological story which resonated with me. I think oftentimes you go into the wilderness looking for some psychological answer or truth or something.”

Pecknold credits Brazilian musician Tim Bernardes, whom he has worked with prior on music for Fleet Foxes, for his contributions in the creation of “beautiful melodies, vocals, and electric guitars” in the original song for Wildcat titled “A Sky Like I’ve Never Seen.” The pair recorded in Amsterdam in between the band’s tour dates across seven studio days, which he says is relatively quick.

He says his approach to scoring for film is similar to how he writes music for Fleet Foxes albums, particularly with what inspired his starting point.

“It’s wonderful to have something to react to. It’s a great challenge to think about how some British folk elements mixed with some wild elements have a wild structure that feels unpredictable in the way that a cat’s behavior might be hard to gauge. Trying to think about how to relate to the story lyrically, and musically in ways that weren’t totally obvious but that are still creatively generative,” he said. “That’s sometimes how I approach songwriting, too. I’ll give myself these little prompts so I’m not just totally flying blind. There are songs that we released that were started as kind of imaginary score pieces for various movies just to have something to work against or be inspired by from the start.”

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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