Hans Zimmer

June 11, 2013

I am Hans Zimmer - Ask Me Anything!

Hello reddit. I know this has been a long time coming - like a year? - but I've been a little busy. The Man of Steel soundtrack comes out today, plus I've been working on RUSH, THE LONE RANGER, and 12 YEARS A SLAVE, and some unannounced projects. I'm looking forward to taking your questions for the next hour or so - and I love playing truth or dare!


EDIT: My plane is waiting. We are heading to London now. And I must leave the Nintendo room, and honestly I haven't slept in 2 days, and I can't wait for that seat on the plane to go to sleep and drool all over myself. But this has been so much fun, thank you all for your great questions and I look forward to seeing what you think of Man of Steel (among many other things).

Greetings Mr. Zimmer, welcome to reddit!

I am /u/Minifig81, as of 06/09/13, I have decided to ask (with the consent of the /r/IAMA Mods) every person who is an announced AMA a few simple questions:

These books will be compiled in to a spreadsheet with your name, date, and time you did your AMA. This way, if you revisit us on a future date, I can remind you of what you were reading the last time you visited our fair site.

Thank you for time!

As per mod request, I am supposed to ask one other question on top of my Reddit Books Project.

So, Mr. Zimmer, I must say, it's an absolute honor to speak with you, and finally ask you a question: How did you come up with such an inspired use of what sounds to be a harpsichord in the Sherlock Homes movie? It's one of my favorite movie soundtracks ever.

Reddit AMA Readers who wish to see the Reddit Books AMA Project will have to wait, as I'm still compiling information. I don't know how long I should wait to share it (I've been thinking a week), but I have promised the AMA Mods that I'm going to share the data eventually.

I am currently reading John Le Carre's A Delicate Truth, and it's fiction. What books have changed my life? Nothing my teachers ever made me read... I suppose going back to Dune by Frank Herbert, The Trial by Kafka...God, I'm so bleak and German. And a vast amount of comic books. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, Captain Marvel...anything drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith.

Dear Mr. Zimmer,

2 Questions (one serious, one not-so-serious):

  1. I’ve heard that you take “7 seconds” of sugar in your coffee (That’s 7 seconds of sugar pouring). Is this rumor true?

  2. I have several friends who are composers in Los Angeles. Though they respect you as a businessman, I have a difficult time defending your music to them from a compositional standpoint. What would you to say to composers who criticize your compositions for being too simple?

Thank you very much.

1.) An intern started this and I never wanted to hurt their feelings but it tasted disgusting. Maybe now I can finally tell them the truth. Just a little spoonful.

2.) I've spent my life trying to make things simpler. Because I find ultimately that complicated doesn't reach the heart.

Speaking of simple songs, do you listen to a lot of popular music? What is your favorite current pop song?

I am a YouTube junkie. Yes, really. I find you can discover incredible musicians all the time. I listen to anything; in the words of Duke Ellington, there are only 2 types of music, good and bad. I'm working on my psychedelic, country-western heavy metal album.

I'm surprised that after 7 seconds of sugar pouring, there was room for any coffee!

I agree, it was disgusting.

Hello Mr. Zimmer, thanks for taking the time to do this AMA. Your music has made an impact on many souls. I am curious, who are some of the composers and works who most influenced you, and is there anyone relatively new in the score world who has impressed you? Thanks for everything from Broken Arrow, to Crimson Tide, to Gladiator, to Batman, to ... well, all of it!

It's very simple - I find if you want a well-rounded musical education, just listen to composers whose names begin with "B." Bach, Beethoven, Beatles, BB King, Burt Bacharach, Berlioz... But not Bruckner. It's always amazing that my simplistic music seems to touch complete strangers, and somehow we have a connection and a conversation through that music. So thank you.

Hello Mr Zimmer. I've done quite a lot of music production and would be super interested to hear some of the specific software you use. Like whats your go to DAW? What are your go to plugins? Do you use many virtual instruments or mainly track real instruments?

Any other recording/tracking tips and tricks you'd like to share?

I use Cubase; all the UAD plugins; and Zebra, which is to me the greatest software synth ever built. We build a lot of our own technology at RCP, so our sampler and touchscreens are custom-built. One of my greatest ambitions is to keep orchestral music alive, so I try to use as many live musicians as I possibly can. For example, I just had the honor of employing 15 of the greatest drummers in the world for Man of Steel and using 8 pedal-steel players at the same time. I think it was a world first.

For tips, I'd say write a good piece... I spend forever getting the arrangement right. Find the best musicians you can, and leave it up to a really good recording engineer.

Hallo Hans! Und danke!

For "This Land" - the whole Lion King soundtrack is really me dealing with my father's death, which up to that point I had never really done, because children suppress things, and I was rather surprised that, in a cartoon with fuzzy animals, I was suddenly confronted with my past. The other thing is, because I wrote it for my daughter, it connected the generations over time through music.

My favorite composition that I wrote...I find fault with all of it, nothing is ever finished, that's why I carry on writing, and part of what I like is influenced by the people I am working with. So some of my favorites have more to do with process than the actual end result. So a Zack Snyder or a Chris Nolan seem to bring out some pretty good things in me.

For Man of Steel you can expect hope. Hope and no cynicism. The opposite of The Dark Knight. Trying to celebrate hard-working, simple, blue-collar people in the Midwest who never get celebrated.

If you would had the chance to score for one movie which has already been released, which would it be?

Blade Runner. But I love what Vangelis did so much, so not really.

You're literally one of my biggest inspirations ever. I just wanted to say that. You're one of the reasons I dropped everything in life to pursue music to finally make myself happy. Thank you.

I wish more people would realize that to follow their dreams is the only way to live a life worth living. Nobody on their deathbed wonders if they've done enough work and should have had less fun and playtime. The magical ingredient in music is the word "play," so I think on my deathbed I will still wonder if I could just go and jam with a couple of musicians and just carry on playing. I wish you all the best.

I've been waiting for this for a while!

Here are my questions.

  1. How has your personal involvement with any of the series/concepts you've scored affected your work on that project? For example, are you a really big fan of any character/idea you happened to compose for?
  2. What sort of music do you like to listen to in your free time?
  3. What's one unexpected place you've found inspiration for some of your work?
  4. Lastly, if you were only allowed to compose/work with ONE instrument (that is not a computer) for the rest of your life, which would you choose!

Lastly, I just wanted to say that you and your work is such a profound inspiration for me, Mr. Zimmer. Please continue to be the amazing artist you are. You are awesome.

1.) You have to fall in love with the characters, and at the same time, you always have to put a part of yourself into the character. I grew up with comic books, so I am a huge Superman fan, so that actually became very daunting because I didn't want to ruin one of my favorite characters for a whole generation. It was interesting working on Thelma and Louise and having to try to find a female voice or point of view in me.

2.) Anything from LCD Soundsystem to film scores - I'm a soundtrack nerd- to the music of my people, Kraftwerk.

3.) Unexpected place? One of the great guilty pleasures of working on movies is that you get to go to places that other people sometimes can't go to, so being alone at the Louvre at night, in front of the Mona Lisa for The Da Vinci Code made that one worthwhile.

4.) The sounds I hear in my head, my head is quite a good instrument.

Thank you, thank you- what else can you say to that? Thank you for the compliment.

Which composition of yours took the longest to complete? I love your work!

Notes per minute? Probably the Clark Kent theme from Man of Steel because I was procrastinating for so long, trying to shake off the enormous shadow that John Williams' Superman theme cast.

Hi. Huge fan from India. Could you say a few words about A.R.Rahman and working with him in The Dark Knight Rises.

AR is a good friend of mine; I just hope that one of these days we'll actually get to do something together.

Hans, do you ever get goose bumps listening to your own music?

That's a great question - it's actually more breaking out in sweat of fear of other people hating it.

That's a great question - it's actually more breaking out in sweat of fear of other people hating it.

But no, I can't listen to my own stuff without being critical all the time.

Have you ever thought of making music for video games? It is a growing market after all.

I did do Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. I think that videogames are going to become the movies of the future; it's a very different way of writing. I'm still trying to figure out how to make the player the main character in the music. I will absolutely score more games in the future.

Why do you love playing truth or dare?

Are you more likely to pick Dare or Truth? Or does it depend on who you are playing with...?

Because I will always tell you the truth, so I will always win! And I always pick truth over dare.

david bowie or frank zappa

Both were hugely influential at different points of my life, but ultimately, Space Oddity is one of the song that just moves me more than I care to admit.

Do you like Kraftwerk

OK - I LOVE Kraftwerk!

Dear Mr. Zimmer.

On your average score, how much % of what we hear are synth orchestra, and how much of it is real? What's the relation?

I just tweak around until it sounds good to me. It never sounds as good as it sounds when I first think of it, so a lot of fiddling with synthesizers goes on to get it a little closer to my first sonic vision. The live orchestra gives it an energy and a humanity that you just can't get out of the electronics, so trying to strike a balance. All musical instruments are technological devices; it doesn't matter if it's electronic or if it's made from a tree with bits of dead cat attached.

bits of dead cat attached.


Well, we have moved on...we now use silk and nylon as strings instead of catgut.

bits of dead cat attached.


I on purpose didn't give Catwoman a violin theme in The Dark Knight Rises because I like cats.

Regarding your Facebook pic you just posted, anything planned for Nintendo ? Any (new) projects ?

Thanks a lot for the AMA!

I'm actually in a dedicated Nintendo room, but not at Nintendo. Although I'd be open to doing a project with them, nothing is in the works right now... although Batman, Superman, Super Mario...

Hey Hans!

I just want to start off by saying a huge thank you for all the amazing movie soundtracks you've put out for movies all these years, it's been a real joy to listen to the things you arrange.

My question is firstly whether or not film scoring should be pursued professionally, or is it better to pursue some other aspect in music, while learning film scoring as a side aspect, or if I enjoy it then should I pursue it professionally? Is it easy to establish a firm ground in the industry of film scoring?

How does the creativity come about? How do you manage so many instruments, producing the sound you want?

Once again, thank you for your amazing contributions to the film music industry, and I hope to listen to more good stuff coming from you in the future!

It is impossible to establish a firm ground in the industry of film scoring. I still feel petrified that I live and die by whatever my last piece of music is. I like film scoring because I love stories, and it's my way of telling a story. I get my music from the stories and from looking at the images, so I think if you want to become a good film scorer, look at books, look at paintings.

In regards to managing so many instruments, with the help of a good conductor. But I'm a synthesizer geek, so I like making my own sounds, and I can get lost for days trying to make the perfect bass sound. I have heard that a photo of my studio by Trey Radcliffe has been very popular on reddit in the past; I actually assembled my collection of Moog synthesizers when everybody was embracing digital and throwing out the old analog stuff. God, were they wrong. The thing that pins you to your seat in Dark Knight or Man of Steel is Professor Moog's 40-year-old invention.

What's your studio setup like?

I found the post! Here is my humble little den. If you have to spend 98% of your life in a room without windows, you might as well have some fun with a decor. It was modeled on the interior of a turn-of-the-century Viennese brothel. But don't call me a musical whore.

Mr. Zimmer,

Time puts me in a special place, a place of solace and acceptance that allows me to absorb and process the sometimes harsh reverberations of life. Thank you for the piece, really.. but what the process in making Time? Where did the inspiration come from?

Even though I never told him, it was really a thank you to my friend Chris Nolan for letting me work on this incredible movie. That made me think about time and our existence and dreams and love for a whole year - what a luxury to have.

If you had to choose one, would you rather be a Rhinoceros sized Gerbil or a Gerbil sized Rhinoceros?

Of course you want to be a Rhinoceros-sized Gerbil.

Dear Mr. Zimmer,

Of Nolan's Batman films, which was your favorite to score?

The third, because it brought everything together - after all, it was nine years of our lives, and I think we became a very good family in that time. It was hard to say goodbye to that character.

HI zimmer !!! ...am your greatest fan !!! ...... say me about the status of RUSH tracks and your experience on working in it !!??!!

Peter Morgan's incredible script got us all fired up by this true story, and for me, it's probably some of the best work Ron Howard has ever done. Who would have thought that the coolest, edgiest young director is somebody with that many years of experience?

Hello Hanz, thank you for composing awesome music for all the movies we love!

How many drummers did you bring in for the Man of Steel soundtrack?

15 drummers, including Pharrell. And Sheila E. giving it a sense of elegance... kept those boys on their toes.

Dear Mr. Zimmer,

If there was one composer from any point in history that you could go back and meet, who would it be and why?

Beethoven, because those first 4 notes of the Fifth are so simple and how did he know that he could create such magic with them?

Hello! I have found that your music works excellent for getting my energy up when I'm at work. Do you ever consider or think about how people listen to your music when you compose or are you 100% going for the feeling of the movie?

Many thanks for doing this AMA!

When I write the score, I only think about the characters and the story, but when I try to put the soundtrack album together, I try to actually make it a good listening experience. I actually work very hard to try to be responsible at delivering a decent soundtrack album, and not just make it an afterthought to the movie. I try to write music that can stand on its own two feet, apart from the picture.

Hi Hans, I love all of your work on Inception and the Call of Duty Games.

Do you find there is any difference between composing for a video game as opposed to movies? Is one more challenging than the other?

Thanks for doing an AMA. :)

Yes - i find that not knowing who the player of the final videogame is very difficult because I'm trying (and I still haven't figured it out) how to not generalize. In a movie I can always be specific about the character. Glad to hear you enjoy the music, thank you!

Dear Hans,

First time on Reddit after a friend told me about it and couldn't have picked a better time to join. I'm a film composer in the UK and a big fan of a lot of your soundtracks. I actually wrote my Master's dissertation on the use of music in Christopher Nolan's films back in 2012, including at the time Inception, Dark Knight, The Prestige and Batman Begins. I am currently working on a score for a parody western film for my final project and am finding it difficult to avoid cliched writing whilst still responding in an appropriate way to suit the film. With the Lone Ranger, how did you respond to writing a western in a contemporary style whilst still keeping some of the key elements associated with the genre, or were you asked to write something new and inventive?

All the best and thank you for your time.

Rango was the parody of the western, which we did before we did the serious one, which is The Lone Ranger - so in a funny way, we got our parody out of the way first. But ultimately, Lone Ranger gave me the opportunity to go and write a wonderful, old-fashioned western score. I'd love to see your dissertation, because I always find that I can't be objective about my music and I'm always interested to see what other people read into it. And just so you know, there is a plan when I start writing - there is structure, and there is some intellectual framework.

How does it feel to be the god of movie soundtracks ?

I don't know! I'm not the God of Movie Soundtracks. What about John Williams and Ennio Morricone?

I don't have a question. I just wanna say I love your music, and I think you're fucking awesome.

"Fucking awesome" works for me!

There seems to be a lot of rock musicians that turn film composer. Why do you think that is?

Because the record industry has gone into the toilet, and musicians need to earn a living, plus we're suddenly cool (*composers are).

Dear Hans Zimmer, why is your music so epic that it turns every movie I watch and every game I play intro an experience to remember? To give you an example, I've watched The Inception four times now and twice for your music only. As for the more serious question, which of the upcoming project areyou the most excited about? Can you spill some beans?

Regarding epic - I don't know why my music is so epic, it's just how I hear things in my head. I use very simple devices and tunes. It's usually not the size of the orchestra or the production that makes things sound epic, it's usually the commitment of the players. A great string quartet can sound louder when they play with fire and heart, than a boring orchestra, and a single note by Jeff Beck can slice right through your heart.

For upcoming projects, I am really excited about Rush, which was just really fun to work on, and I think that it's the first race car movie that really got it right. And I was honored working with Steve McQueen on 12 Years A Slave, which is a phenomenal, daring movie with a story that needed to be told. And I'm starting to have a little fun with Chris Nolan on his next project, Interstellar.

Dear Mr. Zimmer,

Did you attend a music conservatory or university? And what was your major if so?

Thank you for doing an AMA!!!

My formal training was 2 week of piano lessons. I was thrown out of 8 schools. But I joined a band. I am self-taught. But I've always heard music in my head. And I'm a child of the 20th century; computers came in very handy.

So far, I'm glad to be here!

Mr. Zimmer, After hearing the Man of Steel soundtrack, a couple of my friends have become convinced that this is the best soundtrack you have created sofar. Do you agree with this assessment, or do you have another personal favorite?

I'm far too close to it to judge. We had our premiere last night, and at the afterparty, I and some of my musician friends got to play the music live. And towards the end of it, I was actually thinking "This is fun to play." And that's always a good sign.

I love your work! My question is, do you like electronic dance music, like house or trance? Trance has really complex harmonies that reminisce of classical music and film scores. You also use VSTs like Zebra etc. that are the grounds of electronic music today, so that's the reason I ask.

I work very closely with my friend Junkie XL on Man of Steel - I come from electronic music, and have always tried to bridge the divide between classical and electronics.

This is from my 10 year old son who LOVES you, he says:

"you do great music, my favourite is from Sherlock Holmes. You're really cool"

(he looks for your name in credits!)

It makes me feel good that I am still relevant to 10 year olds. It means I'm not over the hill!

You once mentioned in an interview that you worked for Michael Kamen when you came to Hollywood. What exactly did you do and how was your relationship with him? Greetings from Hamburg!

Michael and I were neighbors in London, and I used to program synthesizers for him. He taught me a thing or two about the orchestra in return.

Hey Hans, do you look forward to teach someone the art of producing film music in the future?

I was an assistant to the great composer Stanley Myers, and I learned through his mentorship how to become a film composer. I try to do the same now with my studio, with young composers.

Hans, what do you do when you're stuck on something? How do you 'clear out the cobwebs' to gain insight?

I read a book, or look at a Gerhard Richter painting. Have a heated discussion with my director. Talk to a great chef about great food. That's always inspiring.

Dear Mr. Zimmer,

You've stated in interviews and making-of videos that the way you approach music is different from other composers, and I can see that clearly in Sherlock Holmes, the Dark Knight Trilogy (especially the Bane score) and The Lion King; music that goes deep into the theme of the film or series. I'm in film school and I've heard some professionals (French ones) say the music you make "isn't really what music is supposed to be as it's too picture-dependent", mainly saying that it doesn't stand on its own. I personally disagree because to me music is everything we hear, not just renaissance-based symphonies, even pencils hitting guitar strings for example can be music, but what's your view on that? Do you think that everything we hear can be music, or does music have to follow a standard or let's say have a minimum of criteria to be officially called "music", in which case, what are those criteria?

And do you think people who learn music later on, like after the age of 20, can still become musicians or is there a specific age you need to learn music at in order to be a true musician?

Lastly, I thank you for inspiring us all through music and other projects like the Inception App, listening to your music inspires me and my friends at film school to make great movies. Being a Nolan fan I'm looking forward to Interstellar :)

I think organized noise becomes music; I try to be appropriate to the story that we are trying to tell, but I try to find new ways of telling it. There have been many Sherlock Holmes movies before I started writing for it, and it was just my way of finding a new take, but I think it's true to the intellectual curiosity that Conan Doyle gave his character.

Dear Mr. Zimmer; Hi, I'm Giggimish. I've been a fan of your music since day one. My dad and I absolutely ADORE your music, and we just got the Man of Steel soundtrack today. It's phenomenal, you did a really outstanding job on it.

Anyways, I have one simple question for you: If Zack Snyder came back asking you score a sequel to Man of Steel, would you ever consider doing so?

Thank you for your kind words! But right now, I'm still far too worried about what people are going to say about this one - maybe i can just have a moment to enjoy this one before thinking about rolling up the sleeves again.

Not a question but I just wanted you to know that you've made driving feel so much more epic

Don't crash!! And wait until Rush comes out - then you'll really have a driving soundtrack. On the other hand - you should try flying with Superman.

What's your favourite food?

Italian food. I just don't think they can get it wrong.


User interface. We have so much CPU power at our fingertips now, and don't actually know how to have as expressive an interface as a simple bow on a string.


What do you feel has changed the film scoring industry over the course of your career for the better? For the worse?

(Just bought the MoS soundtrack today... great stuff and thanks for being you in the retelling of this story)

Who's changed the industry? The writers and directors giving us great stories to write to. Remember, we've been in 3-D forever, because we've had 5.1 - the visuals are only just now catching up! And it seems music is not the ugly stepsister of cinematography anymore.

You did the soundtrack for the Simpsons movie. What was it like to work with the Simpsons staff? It seems like they would be a fun group to work with.

I really liked how you incorporated the fundamental Simpsons themes in almost every track.

Thanks for doing the AMA!!!

Being the "new kid" in a family that's been together for 25 years was fairly daunting. But they needed somebody who was forever going "What if?..." and I love Danny Elfman's theme.

What is your favorite thing for breakfast??

Eggs benedict.


If they had no idea who I was, I would ask that they listen to the score from The Thin Red Line.

And apology accepted!

Hello Mr. Zimmer, I really enjoy all of your work, it's an inspiration and a joy to listen to. Two quick questions!

  1. What is your motivation/drive to create?
  2. Is there a deeper meaning to your music and projects? Do they generally reflect characters and emotions?

I don't know how else to get through the day. I wouldn't know how to survive without music. In regards to your second question, there's always a deeper meaning, but sometimes I keep it hidden and keep it my own personal secret.

Hey Mr. Zimmer!

I wondered what music do you listen to and did you take any inspirations from it?

Also are you a cat or a dog person? (I'm serious)

Curiously, both. Our 24-year-old cat died not too long ago, so I'm just left with a golden retriever called Happy. I will probably get another cat in time.

Mr. Zimmer,

HUGE fan. Already have and am listening to your Man of Steel soundtrack and love your other work.

Do you record with a full orchestra? Or do you do most of your music from synthesizers and digital instruments? On that note, what about the vocals in your arrangements?

If you bought the soundtrack, go and download our free DTS app here. I write my music in surround, and I always feel a little cheated when I have to reduce it down to stereo, so we worked really hard at making this soundtrack actually be full surround on anybody's headphones. And the app is free so you can experience it the way I do. They measured my ears and how I hear it in my room, so it's as if you are actually listening through my ears, in my room.

I think I have answered about orchestras and synthesizers previously, but I love working with singers because I think it gives the music an unmistakable personality. And it becomes a very personal bit of storytelling then. I loved working with Lisa Gerrard, Ofra Haza, Pharrell Williams, and Dave Stewart from The Eurythmics.

Mr. Zimmer,

How many times would you generally watch a film during the composition process of a Score?

I'm like a cat, I have 9 lives. After 9 complete viewings, I find it difficult to feel anything new, so I usually work from the first impressions and try to hang onto those for dear life.

Do you have any favorite musicians when hiring for an orchestra to do a recording session? Horns, Strings, etc.?

I hand-pick every player; the individual contributions are really important to me. They're musicians not sheep. And I write specifically for the players. I usually have a mental image of who I write for as I'm writing the line.

I don't really want to ask you any questions, I'm just posting this comment here so I can find this thread easier in a few hours when you had time to answer more of the questions instead of constantly refreshing the page and scaning through comments.

Thanks for doing this by the way!



The internet privacy ;)

It's my wife and I's Anniversary tomorrow. We had the True Romance theme playing at our wedding. Just wanted to say thanks. Your music is beautiful.

One of the great things about my life is that I seem to become part of other people's lives without having to do the dishes. Happy Anniversary.

Dear Hans, I have noticed that you use some pretty unusual sounds in some of your scores. What is your process for creating some of these sounds?

Anarchy - but seriously, I start every project off by trying to figure out what my color palette is, and I spend weeks programming sounds and going out and recording strange instruments. For The Lone Ranger, we just took a sledgehammer to a train recently - you don't get to do that every day. We're going to use that as a percussion element.


What was the craziest thing that happened to you in your career?

Alright - I owe my career to Diana Levinson, Barry Levinson's wife. She saw a small independent film I had done in England, and bought him the soundtrack CD. That led to him hiring me for Rain Man - some days, you just are lucky.

Mr Zimmer,

Your Aurora piece was beautiful and a great tribute to anyone affected by the shootings. Can you talk a little bit more about the piece? Do you use music to cope?

Edit: Spelling

I found out about the Aurora shooting in the middle of an interview, and the journalist asked me to comment, and all I could come up with were the word "devastated and shocked." And I suddenly realized that my language was music. And I wanted to write a piece of music that would show the people in Aurora that the whole world was there with them. It was the only response I could have, to put beauty against violence, and that we are all alone in this together.

I wanted the music to bring everybody together. Because you can only set art against violence. Nothing else seems to have worked so far.

I want to continue to create art that makes people think, and talk to each other. Use your words, not your guns.

Have you ever tried tuning tone A to 432 Hz instead of the default A 440 Hz? It sounds so much better! And... calmer, in my opinion.

We have a different tuning in Continental Europe, and most instruments won't actually resonate properly at the wrong frequency. That's part of the secret of a good Stradivarius.

If you could travel in time, which era would you like to make music for the most?

If I could travel back in time... I'd just like to hang out at the Bach house, and learn a thing or two from the man and all his talented children and the incredible wife who managed to raise I think 17 kids? And write music? But I'm actually quite happy in this time. I keep looking forward to the future, because I think technology is letting us get more and more adventurous in our music.

First of all, I'd just like to say that I think you are absolutely brilliant and you have inspired me more than I could ever put into words.

As for a question, if you could compose a theme for any person - historical, alive, dead, fictional, real - who would it be?

And since you mentioned you love truth or dare, what is the best dare you can come up with on the spot?

If I could compose a theme for any person - I love Elgar's Enigma Variations, where he wrote a set of symphonic pieces, each one depicting one of his friends, including a dog. I always loved that idea. I would write about the people I love, except I don't ever seem to have the time to write anything! But one day I'll get around to it.

Best dare I can come up with on the spot - for me, it was such a dare to even tackle Man of Steel because i didn't want to ruin it for a whole generation! I grew up with loving the John Williams' score to Superman and the greatest dare is always to get over my own paranoia, neuroses, and all other insecurities a composer suffers every moment of the day. It's a little bit like standing naked on a cold day on the beach in front of the most beautiful girl.

Dear Mr. Zimmer,

Firstly, just to say it is an honour to speak with you. I am, myself, a composer for film (UK-based) and your work has been an incredible influence on my own music. Though I have many questions for you, I'll ask just two to give your hand a rest from all the page scrolling!

1) In terms of your process of composition, what are the most important aspects of a film, to you, that inform the experimenting and eventual creation of your musical themes?

2) If there was one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring film composer such as myself, what would it be?

Thank you very much for your time and congratulations on another breathtaking soundtrack (Man of Steel- I await my deluxe edition with eager anticipation!)

1) It's the story - the story and the people working with me. But curiously, very often it's the cinematography and the light that inform my colors that I will use in my music. So I try to always make a point to talk to the DP.

2) Don't take no for an answer. Never give up. Because everyone is going to tell you it's impossible, and I am some uneducated guy from in the middle of nowhere Germany, and if I can make it, anybody can. Just don't take no for an answer.

Sehr geehrter Herr Zimmer, als einer der wenigen sehr erfolgreichen deutschen Künstlern in den USA würde ich sie gerne fragen wie Sie zu dem neuen Interesse der US Unterhaltungsindustrie an Deutschland stehen. Desweiteren wüsste ich gerne ob sie ihr Geburtsland ab und an vermissen.

Beste Grüße aus Deutschland

Of course I miss Germany - but Hollywood has taught me that we are one huge international creative community. At the same time, I think that we never support our own filmmakers strongly enough in Europe. There's nothing wrong with subtitles.

Who was your favorite artist/composer when you were a kid?

Mozart, The Rolling Stones, and Lightning Hopkins (*great American Bluesman).

Mozart, The Rolling Stones, and Lightning Hopkins (*great American Bluesman).

... And Kraftwerk.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Hans Zimmer conducted on Reddit on 2013-06-11. The Reddit AMA can be found here.