In Train-ing With John Powell
Powell scores the Dreamworks animated blockbuster How to Train Your Dragon 2.
By Tim Burden


The world premiere of How to Train Your Dragon 2 took place at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, May 16, and early reviews are favorable. Musically speaking, John Powell delivers another standout work along the lines of his score for the original. Seventy of the 90 minutes of music written for the sequel are set to be released on CD on June 10.

Speaking from his L.A. Studio, Powell speaks about his Berkian themes and introduces us to all new ones. He also opens up regarding his harsh criticism on some film music of today.

This is the first part of an hour-long interview with Powell. The second half, which will run next month, will focus on his new direction in writing for the concert hall, and his reasoning behind one of the most forthright film composer interviews, courtesy of Spitfire Audio.


Powell Interview, part 1 (32:00)

00:00 - “Hiccup Confronts Drago”

01:00 - Boring musicians (featuring “Battle of the Bewilderbeast”)

08:00 - Red Hot Chilli Pipers! (featuring “Hiccup Confronts Drago”)

11:20 - Analyzing the How to Train Your Dragon 2 cues (featuring “Jonsi” and “Where No One Goes”)

16:00 - Film music structure and importance of themes

19:40 - True to the narrative (featuring author Cressida Cowell)

22:00 - Infamy and featurettes, a.k.a. “The idea of a film composer being famous is an awful idea.”

27:00 - Classical vs. Film Music

29:00 - Temp troubles (featuring “Two New Alphas”)


Here is John Powell’s exclusive composer commentary on a key scene from How to Train Your Dragon 2. Don’t worry, it’s spoiler free.

Composer Commentary: “Toothless Found” (4:00)

Click here for the HTTYD2 album review.

Thanks to John Powell and Germaine Franco.