You’re hired: The Apprentice soundtrack composer speaks

The Apprentice's soundtrack lets you know when Sir Alan is about to pull the trigger.
The Apprentice's soundtrack lets you know when Sir Alan is about to pull the trigger.

Tonight, millions of British TV viewers will discover who will become Sir Alan Sugar's next Apprentice. If you watch the show, you'll know that its producers use a suitably dramatic soundtrack as they ratchet up the tension before Sugar reveals who's going to be fired (or in tonight's case, hired), and Dru Masters, said soundtrack's composer, has been telling Computer Music magazine how he came up with it.

"With The Apprentice, the brief was that it was a bit like Ocean's Eleven - in that it was sort of a caper movie - with a bit of DJ Shadow and that kind of thing. There was a good sense of what it was and I knew exactly what sounds to use."

Masters reveals that he frequently turned to Spectrasonics' Stylus plug-in when he was looking for a loop - The Apprentice soundtrack is very rhythmic - and that the famous 'boardroom music' was written on a piano that happened to be around in a house he was staying at.

Dru also has some useful advice for up-and-coming composers who are writing to create a specific mood: "Music should only be there to augment or to tell the audience what the emotion that they're supposed to be feeling is when it's not apparent," he notes.

"If a man comes home to his wife with a bunch of flowers and you want the audience to know that he's about to kill her, you use the music to tell them that something bad is going to happen."

We're assuming tonight's final won't end in a bloodbath, but we take his point.

The full Dru Masters interview is featured in issue 127 of Computer Music, which is on sale now.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.