The secret behind When We’re Born‘s moving, heartening music is simple; a 20 year old friendship. Composer Sherif Hawary tells us how his friendship with Amir Eid inspired him to work diligently on his first ever soundtrack, as well as the challenges he faced that pushed him to do more with less.
Tell us how you got involved in the movie?
It sounded like a really interesting project; I’ve never done a soundtrack before. I am Amir’s biggest fan and friend so it’s easy for me to work with him, I knew what he wanted. Amir was already writing songs for the movie when I came into the picture 3 months in, so I needed to blend with what he was already doing not be intrusive.
Is it something you always wanted or did just come about?
I was never interested in composing soundtracks, but now I would like to do more of it. It’s a completely different field and way of expressing your art. You get the chance to amplify or dampen down people’s feelings. I tried to mirror the actor’s feeling with music; when they smiled, laughed, or reflect the sadness in their eyes. I felt in touch with them.
What was the hardest part in this whole process?
The soundtrack was based on Amir playing the guitar, even if he’s not on screen. I am originally a guitarist, so it was easy for me, however, it’s also very limiting. The guitar has to reflect different emotions, and that presented a challenge. It helped me stay focused and also eliminated instrumentation problems. I didn’t have to worry whether it would be a big orchestra, it simplified things for me in a sense.
What was the collaboration with Amir Eid like?
I worked on two aspects: the soundtrack at night and Amir’s songs by day. We worked on Amir’s songs in the morning at his house, which is sunny and suited the upbeat vibe of his songs perfectly … especially Sabah el Kheir! Amir and I have been working with each other for 20 years, so there’s mutual trust. We met for the first couple of songs just to make sure we’re on the same page with director Tamer Ezzat. I wanted to change locations and atmospheres to put me in different moods, to help with producing different music.What’s it like now watching the final project?
It’s nice, but I am the kind of person who always sees what is lacking. The little things I missed. I am a control freak when it comes to my work, always saying “it could have been better”. Also, when you work on something for a long time you kind of lose the momentum for it, so I always try to take the opinions of people I trust and those close to me or people used to working with me. When Amir says something’s nice, then it is, and that means a lot to me.