Shuki Levy Interview
July 18th, 2007 www.shukilevy.com
Shuki Levy was one of the men who helped compose the MASK theme song. He has done many other great works and you can find out all about them at his website.
1. For those who don’t know you and your work, could you give the public a little background on yourself?
I was born and raised in a small town called Ramat Gan, Israel (near Tel Aviv). As a teenager I founded one of Israel’s first rock groups. After serving in the Israeli army in an entertainment group, my performing career took me to England, where I partnered with Aviva Paz and started the group “Shuki and Aviva.” We had great success throughout Europe and Japan. However, I was never completely happy being on stage. I wanted to compose the music rather than perform it. So I moved to the United States with my manager, Haim Saban. We partnered and started a company in Los Angeles. I started composing music for television and film. Haim helped expand our company to include film and television production. Then I created the pilot episode of “Power Rangers.” Haim sold the concept to Fox Kids, and the company was taken to another level. We eventually sold Saban Entertainment to Disney.
2. You’re currently working on some new projects; would you care to tell us a little about them?
Right now I am in the midst of staging a musical called “Imagine This.” It’s a love story set in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. We just opened the first production in Plymouth, England last week. I am also working on a couple of feature film projects.
3. You’ve had a very successful career creating and writing music for numerous entertainment fields, what would you say was your favorite project(s)?
Every project is my “favorite.” I only work on things that I believe in. Right now, I am very happy to see “Imagine This” make it to the stage. I’ve been working on it for almost a decade. It’s a very special project that I feel will touch many lives.
4. Do you have any musical influences? If yes, then who might they be and why?
The Beatles are a huge influence on me. I grew up listening to their music, and I never grow tired of it. That’s the genius of great music– it never gets old. It stands the test of time.
5. The MASK theme song is one that has not been forgotten over the years. Could you describe the process in which you helped create this icon? Where there any guidelines to follow? Any alternate lyrics that just didn’t make the final cut? Etc..
Honestly, MASK was recorded so many years ago that I remember very little about it. Generally, before I write a theme song, I take under consideration the needs of the producers, the subject of the series. When it comes to the actual composing, I let my creative mind run free. I’m still a child inside, so when I write a theme song I let the child do the composing. I think that’s why my music and the projects I’ve produced have connected with so many kids over the years.
6. Out of all of your great achievements, is there still something you want to accomplish during your career?
I want to continue creating and composing projects that spread positive energy in the world. I never want to “retire.”
7. What instruments were used for the MASK compositions?
Most of my themes, including MASK, were composed almost entirely on a synthesizer. I think we also had an electric guitar on the MASK theme.
8. Did you and Mr. Saban play the compositions yourselves, or did you only do the composing?
I played most of the compositions myself. From time to time we brought in individual musicians to enhance the recordings. Haim Saban didn’t compose any of the music, though his name is listed on many of the credits. He was the business manager of the music, and I was on the creative end of things. We each had our individual strengths, which made for a very successful partnership.
9. What singer(s) sang the English MASK opening theme?
I wish I could remember! But I don’t, it was many years ago. Sorry!