Master composer Joe Kraemer joins us to talk about his work for Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise on the blockbuster film Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. Joe talks about how he adapted Lala Schifrin’s work, how he developed his themes, and how John Williams’s techniques have influenced his mindset.
About Joe Kraemer
Joe Kraemer has been scoring films since the age of 15, when he composed the soundtrack for his high school classmate Scott Storm’s The Chiming Hour, a feature-length film shot on Super 8 in 1986. That partnership built relationships that would eventually lead him to three career-defining projects: The Way Of The Gun, Jack Reacher, and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
Kraemer attended Berklee College of Music in Boston to study film composition. Shortly after finishing college he scored the NBC/Warner Brothers pilot The Underworld, with veteran television director Rod Holcomb. Though the series was not picked up, the pilot was ultimately repurposed as a TV movie, where it has gained a cult following, and paved the way to his first breakout score for the feature film The Way Of The Gun. In the following years, Kraemer carved out an eclectic career, writing music for over 100 films in a variety of genres, including nearly 40 television movies for the Hallmark Channel/Larry Levinson Productions, as well as episodic television, documentaries, and short films. Highlights include his scores for John Putch’s The Poseidon Adventure and A Time To Remember, as well as the Mystery Woman series, and westerns such as Hard Ground, Lone Rider and The Trail To Hope Rose. He has also written the music for The Hitcher II and Joyride 2 for director Louis Morneau, Framed for writer-director Daniel Petrie, Jr., and multiple films for writer-director-producer Mark Altman, including House Of The Dead 2, The Thirst, and All Souls Day. Kraemer’s close partnership with Altman led to scoring the TV series Femme Fatales, a sexy homage to film noir for HBO/Cinemax. Kraemer also wrote the score for the prestigious documentary An Unreasonable Man, an Oscar-shortlisted feature about Ralph Nader, for directors Steven Skrovan and Henriette Mantell. Coming full circle from where he began, he reunited with director Scott Storm for Ten ’Til Noon.
In 2012, he was commissioned to score Jack Reacher by producer and star Tom Cruise. Following that, he scored several more independent feature films, such as Dawn Patrol and Rosemont by Daniel Petrie, Jr. and Favor for Paul Osborne. A highlight of this period was his pastoral music for Scott Storm’s animated short film The Apple Tree. 2014 brought Kraemer back into the spotlight when he was hired again by Tom Cruise to score Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. After spending five weeks on the set in London supervising the filming of the opera sequence, where he coordinated the on-camera orchestra and opera company with the high-tension antics of Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson, he then composed the score which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios.
Kraemer’s score for Rogue Nation went on to win Best Original Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller film for the 12th International Film Music Critics Association, and he was named the 2016 Discovery of the Year Award at the World Soundtrack Awards. His work was also mentioned as Best Score on FilmMusicMedia, Bplus Movie Blog, and MFiles, and his theme for the villain Solomon Lane was cited as one of the best themes of 2015 by Empire Magazine.