On Sept. 14, 2017, Ramachandra Borcar’s work did not go unnoticed at the Gémeaux’s technical and trade awards gala. He won two trophies for his work on the TV series L’imposteur, that airs on Québec’s TVA network: Best original Score – Fiction and Best Musical Theme: All Categories. Already nominated eight times in his career as one of SOCAN’s #ComposersWhoScore, the man known to some as Ram, the DJ and musician, definitely had a smile in his voice. “Believe me, it’s always great to win an award,” he says.
The production team of L’imposteur had created the ideal creative context for their screen composer. Because director Yan Lanouette-Turgeon and Borcar have known each other going back to their fruitful collaboration on the feature film Roche, papier, ciseaux – which won a Jutra Award for its soundtrack – music was involved very early on in the development of the series. Before filming even began, Lanouette-Turgeon sent a few scripts to Borcar so that he could get acquainted with the storyline. Then he sent rushes before even one episode was finally edited. That was more than enough to inspire a musical direction.
“For season one, L’imposteur was almost entirely shot behind closed doors with actor Marc-André Grondin,” says Borcar. “There are no parallel stories. That made this thriller incredibly intimate. I therefore didn’t want the music to be too big; I even wanted to create proximity. That’s why I used abstract instrumental sounds with a lot of rhythm played on percussion instruments.”
Borcar, who’s always looking to surprise, took the musical genre where it usually doesn’t venture in a thriller TV series. And that’s exactly where Borcar finds his joy: defying rules and innovating. “I didn’t want to do a traditional musical theme with harmonies and a 4/4 signature,” he says. “Instead, I chose to opt for a musical construct akin to a collage, a mosaic, with abstract sounds and a lot of effects. I dug into electronic, experimental and electro-acoustic music. That was my canvas.”
The next step was to dig into the story itself, to refine certain segments of the music. Borcar leaned on the idea that the main character has a secret twin by composing melodies that play around with the feeling of duality. This led to clarinets, electric guitars and trombones playing as a duo or calling and responding to each other discordantly. “In my mind, it’s the composer’s role to work with the story,” says Borcar. “I work in parallel with all the narrative elements, without twisting it, or needlessly distracting from it, yet always making sure the music has its own personality. I aim for the perfect union between image and sound.”
To this end, he looks everywhere for sounds that will create a unique link with the story. He’ll sometimes use his collection of unique, self-made instruments, which he hunts all over the web, but mostly via inventors he meets at major trade fairs, such as the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants).
Having already crafted 33 musical themes for films, documentaries, and TV series (Un crabe dans la tête, Famillia, Le prix à payer, L’ange gardien), he decided a year ago, to split his time between Montréal and Los Angeles. That decision was prompted by being signed with the Evolution Music Partner agency, which represents him in the U.S.
“I’m not leaving Montréal behind, I’m just opening myself up for new creative possibilities,” he says. That’s all that matters to Borcar. This deep-seated need for musical versatility, this desire to work in many musical genres – he himself plays several instruments – is what stimulates him the most. “I don’t like things to be easy or repetitive,” he says. “My dream as a composer is to constantly re-invent myself, surprise myself, go where I wasn’t expecting to go, musically. And to work on projects that leave me no choice but to surpass myself.”