The more dollars the studio producers put in, the less freedom we have. If the budget hits $100m, they get scared - they'll take the existing score of a successful movie and expect composers to copy it, like wallpaper. The biggest challenge for any composer in Hollywood is to be as creative as possible within those boundaries.
There are people who want to hear what they consider your hits. There are people who want you to experiment and explore random, rare things. And it's kind of a different; they're two different beasts.
Truth is, you make albums, and some of those songs are hits, and some of the greatest hits albums have songs that weren't hits. You have a career, the reason why we're still around 10 years is that we do have successful songs.
We're more into expressing ourselves than making radio hits.
There's a lot of demand to hear the new Kanye West album before it hits the streets. There's much less demand to read the new Phillip Roth novel.
You just go out there and do the best you can. If it hits, it hits. And if it doesn't, you go on to the next thing.
If a song or group hits you at the right time in your life, it's everything. It's bigger than school or family or anything else.
I love Ray Charles. He can still teach everybody a lot about how to make great music. Not necessarily how to make hits, but how to make great music. Of course, part of it is his incredible talent. Who are the greatest jazz singers in the world? Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Ray Charles.
Progress comes at a price. You have to be willing to make tough calls and take the hits.
I think I have stopped being nervous about the outcome of a film. The five consecutive flops in 1997 and the five consecutive hits in 1999 have mellowed me in many ways.