The original motion picture soundtrack for We Bought A Zoo features music by Sigur Ros front man and leading light, Jon Thor Birgisson, aka Jonsi. Composed at the personal request of We Bought A Zoo director - and huge Sigur Ros aficionado - Cameron Crowe, the soundtrack includes original music composed by Jonsi which plays an integral part to the film's heartfelt emotional landscape.
Written and recorded in short order, over four months this summer/fall at the famous Village Studios in Los Angeles and at the singer's home studio in his native Iceland, the soundtrack to We Bought A Zoo comprises more than half-an-hour of brand new music from Jonsi, including two full songs and nine achingly beautiful themes, plus songs from Jonsi's acclaimed solo album, 'Go', as well as what might well be regarded as Sigur Ros' most memorable tune, in 'Hoppipolla'.
"[Jonsi] arrived from Iceland with a toy sampler keyboard and a headful of ideas," says Cameron. "Within a week, [he] had composed a series of themes that would reflect everything we'd hoped for. In his music were all the highs and lows and passionate in-betweens of the film itself. The instinct that made the movie come full circle."
"Early on it was obvious that [Sigur Ros'] music would have a profound effect on the making of We Bought A Zoo," says Cameron. "In preparation for making the movie, we gave all the actors and crew members a copy of Sigur Ros' transcendent documentary, 'Heima'."
Even ahead of getting Jonsi on board as composer, We Bought A Zoo was broadly 'temped' with Jonsi' solo material. It's an open secret that Cameron would encourage Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and the other actors on the movie to listen to specific songs by the band to create the right energy for a scene.
"The actors listened to the music during their takes; it quickly became part of the film's DNA," says the director.
Perhaps even more potent is the fact that the closing scene of We Bought A Zoo is a cinematic homage to a specific moment in 'Heima' when gleeful crowds stream in a Sigur Ros show in the far North of Iceland or, in this case, the newly opened zoo.
Among the original score and new songs is \'Gathering Stories', a song co-written by Jonsi and Cameron, in something of a collaborative first for the notoriously private Icelander. Orchestral arrangements on the score have been handled by previous Jonsi working partner, and 'Reader' soundtrack composer, Nico Muhly, who brings his quixotic genius to the string and brass sections.