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Music Man: Travis Schneider

When he’s not filming music videos or playing with his band, Travis Schneider masterminds all WM’s music selections. Wintervention’s music supervisor drops his beat.

Snoworld: How do you go about picking music for the film?

Travis: I feel like I’m always choosing music for the film. I was brought up hearing the music my father (Kim Schneider, longtime film editor at WM) was using in each production, so now my ears are always perking up when I hear material that could work. I usually start building playlists of tracks throughout the year. Then, before we begin, I’ll send over about 200 songs that my father will add to his selections. We whittle that down to the 50 or 60 that we’ll actually use. I don’t usually see scenes before I send the music. My father will send me cuts once he’s dropped in songs so I can see what’s working and what isn’t, but for the most part I know what he’s going to like. As far as musical cohesiveness goes, I just want to make sure that each song has a certain quality to it. There’s so much music out there, it’d be incredibly easy to fill the film up with stuff that might fit but doesn’t really click. The music has to match the pulse of the scene. Whether it’s a quiet song or a noisy song, you’ve gotta feel it or else there’s no point.

sW: How is the music is this film different from previous Warren Miller films you’ve worked on?

Travis: This year I’m not as concerned with names of bands. Each of the last four or five films that I’ve worked on have had some of the biggest names in the industry scattered throughout them. Even though one of my favorite things has always been finding unknown songs from unknown bands, I would still strive to reel in the big names as if it meant the soundtrack would carry more weight. This year, I just wanted the best new music I could find. In some cases that could mean household names, but in most cases it meant a lot of music a lot of people will have never heard before. I’m always very excited about the potential of turning people on to new bands.

sW: Can you give us a taste of what we’ll be hearing in the film?

Travis: Unfortunately I can’t give any hints. Until we’ve finished the final mix, nothing is finalized and anything can come or go.

sW: Do you listen to music while you ski?

Travis: I actually try not to ride with headphones on, just as a safety precaution. However, I do have some go-to songs I put on in the car on the way to the mountain. “Highway Star” by Deep Purple and “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits are always on the top of the list. Last winter, every day before riding I listened to a song called “Ichabod” by Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, or my Dad would put on the Jimi Hendrix version of “All Along the Watchtower.” If I weren’t afraid of smashing into some little kid, I’d most likely be listening to old Ennio Morricone scores from Sergio Leone films. There’s
something about how monumental the sounds are that matches the feel of the mountains perfectly.

sW: And now, the ubiquitous music-guy question: Who’s on your iPod right now?

TS : I’ve been listening nonstop to a new album by an artist called Blake Mills. He’s one of my favorite songwriters and the most incredible guitarist. He’s, like, 23, well beyond his years, and just a wizard. This is his first solo record and it’s just mind blowing. I also recently fell in love with Janelle Monáe’s new album ArchAndroid, and the new Black Keys album Brothers has been in heavy rotation as well.