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Hans Zimmer Feels "Horrible" When His 'Inception' BRAMMS Are Used In Movie Trailers

by Kevin Jagernauth
November 6, 2013 11:13 AM
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Hans Zimmer

Once Hollywood finds a motif they like for movie trailers, they stick with it. Clint Mansell's "Lux Æterna" from "Requiem for a Dream" and John Murphy's "Sunshine (Adagio in D Minor)" are just a couple of score pieces that seem to get trotted out every couple months for yet another piece of advertising. And recently, another selection has joined those ranks: the BRAAMS created by Hans Zimmer for Christopher Nolan's "Inception." In fact, we even pointed out 10 Trailers That Use & Abuse that sound. But how does the composer himself feel about it?

“Oh, it's horrible!” he told Vulture. “This is a perfect example of where it all goes wrong. That music became the blueprint for all action movies, really. And if you get too many imitations, even I get confused!” While he notes he has "a degree" of control as to when or where it's sampled, he does share how he wound up creating the sound in the first place. 

“That sound was in the script,” Zimmer said, alluding to the fact that it's something of a super slowed down version of Edith Piaf's "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien," the "kick" song in the film. “I remember before we made the movie, Chris and I were in London at the 'Sherlock Holmes' premiere, and of course it ends up with the two of us in the corner somewhere talking about the movie we're about to make while everyone else is around us at the premiere going wild. We’re such party animals. And I said, 'I'll tell you what, let's just go and book a studio and get a couple of brass players.' The sound, really, is that I put a piano in the middle of a church and I put a book on the pedal, and these brass players would basically play into the resonance of the piano. And then I added a bit of electronic nonsense. But really, it just came from saying, 'Let's experiment.'”

And thus, here we are two years later with a foghorn of sound we seemingly can't escape. Now before our comments section lights up, yes, Zack Hemsey did create the trailer music for "Inception"where the BRAAM phenomenon first gained traction. But, as Zimmer explained, he came up with the crucial notes featured in the movie which you can hear in "Half-Remembered Dream" from the soundtrack. Listen below.

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More: Hans Zimmer, Inception

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  • Btcrooks | May 10, 2014 12:00 AMReply

    Guys… we're all forgetting "Good artists copy, great artists steal." Pablo Picasso
    And this quote was even stolen and re-worked a few times lol. I say it's all good as long as it servers to convey the story.

  • ASMAC | May 8, 2014 5:36 PMReply

    Hans Zimmer's trusted conductor Nick Glennie-Smith who's a great composer in his own right will be the featured guest speaker at the monthly ASMAC (American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers) Luncheon on May 10 at 12pm at Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood. 6725 Sunset Blvd. Hosted and moderated by Peter Rotter who does most of the orchestra contracting for Hans.

  • ASMAC | May 8, 2014 5:54 PM

    Correction, the date is May 14

  • them | March 11, 2014 3:43 AMReply

    thanks for sharing this
    y tuong kinh doanh |
    phan biet iphone |
    benh tre em |

  • them | March 11, 2014 3:43 AMReply

    thanks for sharing this

  • Sebastian | November 20, 2013 8:16 PMReply

    People Zarin and Hempsey were 'inspired' from Zimmer - Zimmer composed "528491" which has the now 'popular' bramm' sound in it.

  • TK Milano | November 13, 2013 4:05 PMReply

    What a hypocrite and a liar. He didn't create that sound. Mike Zarin did along with the help of several others of which he gives credit. There's lying and then there's Zimmer's lying that's on a whole different planet!

  • Matt D | November 7, 2013 10:45 PMReply

    Captain Phillips stole the entire Inception soundtrack. That movie was a 9/10 until I literally heard "Time" by Hans Zimmer for the last 5 minutes of the movie. Infuriating. Hope Henry Jackman is out of work for the rest of his life.

  • David | November 9, 2013 9:41 PM

    Zimmer didn't invented long lined themes and low brass crescendos. Also, if you're right, then Zimmer should sue himself by ripping Time on his score for 12 Years A Slave. And Henry Jackman's score was influenced by John Powell's works for Paul Greengrass, but he has done other stuff much more better than Zimmer's wall of noise.

  • Glass | November 7, 2013 8:05 AMReply

    Still think it should be clarified that the Inception trailer didn't CREATE this style, but it did it the best and pushed it into cliche territory for everyone else. I remember the first trailer for Transformers 2 had that WOMMMP/dubstep-cutting style that gave me chills when I first saw it. Now it's a joke.

  • lenny | November 7, 2013 5:42 AMReply

    He wasn't so unhappy about collecting money off of every tuba player in the world.

  • VisualAudio | November 7, 2013 5:38 AMReply

    It's not like these Bramms sound the same though. They arent all blaring horns. We're hitting a very dubsteppy age too, which has completely integrated itself into the trailers. Inception had it in its score, but the origin of these trailers sounds are inspired by more than a single place. Some stingers have the same sound and they've been used for ages.

    Dubstep, electronic music and horn-ish synth blasts have been done for a while before it was used so prominently in a single film.

  • Michelle | November 7, 2013 3:23 AMReply

    Haha it was even done in a "inception trailer a Capella" on YouTube. The BRAAMS are spot on and it's just so awesome

  • charliebeans | November 6, 2013 10:30 PMReply

    Wait a minute, This guy stole it from the modern remake of
    War of the Worlds. That is also where Mass effect got it in my opinion. Its effective but no more than a score of trombone and tuba blasts.

  • Markus | November 6, 2013 9:34 PMReply

    Well, too bad that you mention Zack Hemsey in the article. Yet you still interview Hans Zimmer instead of Zack Hemsey. The Braam's are copied from Zack Hemsey, because he used them in the trailer. Aside from that he used a single Braam instead of the one that Hans Zimmer used during the movie. So imo you gave the credit to the wrong person.

  • Oscarilbo | November 7, 2013 9:58 AM

    No. Sorry but that's not how things are. Hamsey USED what Zimmer had already composed at the time. Can't believe you don't remember the single "Braam" IS on the movie and the soundtrack. Just listen to track 6.- "528491" from the soundtrack. Hamsey not only used the "Braams" Zimmer already composed, but his Batman style also.

  • Alfred F | November 6, 2013 9:32 PMReply

    This is a PERFECT example of how video games also use the BRAAM phenomenom:
    Youtube search: "Giant Bomb Presents: Game Trailer"

  • Chris | November 6, 2013 9:12 PMReply

    You're all forgetting about mass effect

  • Jack Standford | November 6, 2013 8:15 PMReply

    Sounds like some serious bsiness to me man.

  • Greg | November 6, 2013 8:06 PMReply

    I felt like after Inception, there was something of resurgence of using that type of musical strike for a trailer. I made a little compilation too:
    But, yeah, I agree with your tone, JWILL123.

  • Jwill123 | November 6, 2013 7:22 PMReply

    Oh we're pretending Inception/Nolan was the first to use this sound? Ok then....

  • richy boy | December 10, 2013 6:39 AM

    Yup - you are right. Inception was a pretty long way from being th efirst to use this type of Wagnerian blast... It's been in movies as long as it's been able to be!!

  • b | November 6, 2013 7:02 PMReply

    its a heartbeat

  • Tony Tribby | November 6, 2013 5:00 PMReply

    Years before Inception came out, though, the band This Morn' Omina had released the song "One-Eyed Man" which opens with pretty much exactly the same sound.

    Go to youtube and enter "this morn omina one eyed man" in the search and check it out.

  • Jesse | November 6, 2013 3:37 PMReply

    One amusing fact is that the trailer for Sunshine actually used Lux Aeterna for its soundtrack.

  • Alfredo | November 6, 2013 2:50 PMReply

    Actually, "The New Yorker" (Online 3/29/13) credits Mike Zarin with composing the original "booms" in the teaser trailer released in 2009...

  • Michael | November 6, 2013 2:25 PMReply

    In fairness, the music from the main (non-teaser) trailer is "Mind Heist" composed by Zack Hemsey, not Mr. Zimmer. I'd say that Hemsey's score is the most popular one, with its singular BWAHM beats, rather than Zimmer's BAHM-BAHM (one-two) punch. Most trailers from other movies copy the single, drawn out pulses that Hemsey used.

  • Ed | November 6, 2013 4:25 PM

    Why won't you read the article?

  • d | November 6, 2013 3:40 PM

    stfu and read the article

  • Oscarilbo | November 6, 2013 3:02 PM

    In the case of Inception, the composer hired for the music trailer USED Zimmer's elements from the score which was already being composed (and probably recording too). And you can hear not only the "BAHM-BAHM" in "Half-Remembered Dream", but the single "BWAHM" in the 6th track from the score called "528491". So in the end, no, Zack Hemsey did NOT come up with the "BAHM" by himself.

  • Jeremy | November 6, 2013 3:01 PM

    Except the problem is, Ben, is that, as Michael pointed out, Zimmer's track doesn't actually have the sound that people are using. Listen to both tracks, and you tell us which of the two people are actually using (hint: It's Hempsey's).

  • Ben | November 6, 2013 2:42 PM

    Did you even read the article before commenting?

    "Now before our comments section lights up, yes, Zack Hemsey did create the trailer music for "Inception"where the BRAAM phenomenon first gained traction. But, as Zimmer explained, he came up with the crucial notes featured in the movie which you can hear in "Half-Remembered Dream" from the soundtrack. Listen below."

  • cg | November 6, 2013 12:08 PMReply

    The Inception trailer is still one of the best trailers I've ever seen. I actually cringe when I hear the Bramm in other trailers. Same with Sunshine's adagio.

  • Everett | November 6, 2013 7:04 PM

    Yes, but Hemsey's version is what has become so iconic--not Zimmer's double note. If we are really going to be so particular then Edith Piaf came up with it before Zimmer. Zimmer slowed it down. Hemsey reduced it to the popular sound that is mimicked in trailers.

  • moo | November 6, 2013 4:29 PM

    @James, the track in Shame is actually a separate track composed by Harry Escott, "Brandon." It does sound really similar though.

  • James | November 6, 2013 12:20 PM

    Agreed. Also tired of hearing "Journey to the Line" from Zimmer's brilliant THIN RED LINE score get used in every trailer (new X-Men) and even other movies (the otherwise amazing SHAME).

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