ONLY GOD FORGIVES Those Who Aren’t Impressed With Cliff Martinez’s Mobile Studio

Cliff Martinez scores Refn's ONLY GOD FORGIVES on his MacBook Pro in a hotel room in Thailand. 

Film composers love their studios. They serve as a creative environment for maximum inspiration while reflecting each composer's unique personality and aesthetic voice. You might assume that all Hollywood film composers have gargantuan work spaces with every musical gearbox, gadget and gizmo at their disposal.

You'd be mostly right.

Below is a picture of composer Cliff Martinez's mobile rig set up in a hotel room in Thailand while scoring Nicholas Winding Refn's latest film Only God Forgives (2013). Martinez often travels with gear in tow and is alarmingly productive considering how compact his setup truly is. Much of the score for Only God Forgives was composed in this very room using nothing more than what is shown here.

Cliff is utilizing a pair of Genelec 8020B monitors, a (relatively older) MacBook Pro, an Edirol FA-66 6-channel portable firewire audio interface, a pair of Beats studio headphones, and a CME M-Key 49-note USB MIDI controller. Everything else is software inside the MacBook.

Whenever possible, the globetrotting Martinez likes to work in close proximity with the director during production. He hunkers down in a hotel room, whips out his rig and lets the composition flow. In one instance he even used discarded beer cans as impromptu stands for his Genelec monitors.