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Danny Elfman reflects on the “intense and insane feeling” Coachella appearance

Composer Danny Elfman has reflected on his time at Coachella, calling it an “intense and insane feeling” performing there. The 68-year-old composer used this as a chance to perform his theme from The Simpsons, and some of the tunes he wrote for director Tim Burton (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands).

He described his experience in a tell-all interview with Vanity Fair. The guitarist said he was delighted to make it through the process in one piece, implying that he was wracked with nerves before the concert. By the time it was finished, he felt that he had proven something to his fans, and more importantly, to himself.

“I was joking to a friend before the show,” Danny Elfman admitted, “Look, we have 30 minutes to set up a show that’s never been performed before with 50 musicians on stage. What can possibly go wrong?” he recalled. “And then I’m sitting there before we went on, thinking, ‘Fuck, man. That was a joke, but it’s no joke’. There were a hundred things to go wrong.”

Indeed, the songwriter tried to predict everything that might go wrong during the set, but he was surprised to find it was geography, not music, that pulled a tricky hand on the composer. “But in the end, the one thing that I really wasn’t planning on was a dust storm, an actual sandstorm, in my face. Everything else came together really well.”

One of the most in-demand composers of his generation, Elfman is perhaps best known for his work with director Tim Burton. Elfman composed the theme to Batman, which was later utilised on Joss Whedon’s version of Justice League. Elfman worked with the director on Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, using Roald Dahl’s text to guide his creative process.

Elfman worked on Avengers: Age of Ultron, and more recently worked on Men In Black: International. Elfman was born on May 29th, 1953, and fronted new wave band Oingo Boingo before he made a move into film composition. Oingo Boingo’s ‘Weird Science’ was later re-worked as the theme to the television serial of the same name.