McFarland, USA 2019
227 pages


Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (DE)

featuring interviews with

Marco Beltrami
Mychael Danna
Rachel Portman
Walter Murch
Henry Jackman
Alan Silvestri
Klaus Badelt
Angelo Badalamenti
Carter Burwell
Bruce Beresford
David Lynch
David Shire
Howard Blake
George Fenton
Abel Korzeniowski
and others

The Struggle Behind the Soundtrack
Inside the Discordant World of Film Scoring

Do you want to pick up a light saber whenever you hear John Williams’ Star Wars theme? Get the urge to ride into the desert and face down steely-eyed desperados to the refrain of Ennio Morricone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Does Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean score have you talking like Jack Sparrow?
From the Westerns of the 1960s to current blockbusters, composers for both film and television have faced new challenges—evermore elaborate sound design, temp tracks, test audiences and working with companies that invest in film score recordings all have led to creative sparks, as well as frustrations.
Drawing on interviews with more than 40 notable composers, this book gives an in-depth analysis of the industry and reveals the creative process behind such artists as Klaus Badelt, Mychael Danna, Abel Korzeniowski, Walter Murch, Rachel Portman, Alan Silvestri, Randy Thom and others.


“Stephan Eicke shows the dark reality of a Hollywood ripe with abuse, pressure and exploitation. […] This book is full of brave statements, and a must-read for those who want to have a future in Hollywood. Those who are hoping for the best can prepare for the worst. It is a fundamental book.” Fotogramas

“There is no doubt that Eicke’s book makes some highly valuable contributions to the development of scholarly understanding of the contemporary film-music business. It breaks new ground in its consideration of oft-hidden matters such as film-music publishing and composers’ rights, the murky issues of ghostwriting and unionisation, and working practices at Remote Control Productions.” Dr. Ian Sapiro, Music, Sound, and the Moving Image; Liverpool University Press

“Stephan Eicke is one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable and fine cynics in this medium. He’s an ant in an environment of cicadas. Admiration and respect!” MundoBSO

“This book is an entertaining analysis of the working conditions for composers. It’s an especially lively read because it is built around interviews with 40 composers.” ray magazine

“The author had managed to extract some frank comments from the composers which helps distinguish The Struggle Behind the Soundtrack from other composer interview books. Eicke’s book deserves to be read by a wider audience and not just be limited to those who have an interest in film.” ReelMusic

“This is a very interesting book; the chapter on Hans Zimmer alone makes it worthwhile and I have to say I learned a lot from reading it. Recommended.” Hellbound

“Eicke’s book is a very interesting one by investigating a topic not elsewhere covered in film music books and daring to point a spotlight at struggles that lie within the film music workplace. There’s enough information at hand here to warrant consideration, and to lend some understanding of conditions under which composers have to work.” BuySoundtrax

“If you are starting out as a composer, I highly recommend this book!” Carly Paradis

Interviews and Lectures:


Since 2012 I have been reviewing books and record albums for the Austrian film magazine ray. For select writing samples, please click on the titles listed below the individual covers.

Directors And Their Composers

For MediaSoundHamburg, I write a monthly column, highlighting and analysing the collaboration between acclaimed filmmakers and their composers. You can read the interviews and articles by clicking on the links below the individual pictures.

Werner Herzog & Ernst Reijseger – Part I
Interview with Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog & Ernst Reijseger – Part II
Interview with Ernst Reijseger

Werner Herzog & Ernst Reijseger – Part III

Mike Leigh & Andrew Dickson & Gary Yershon – Part I
Interview with Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh & Andrew Dickson & Gary Yershon – Part II
Interview with Andrew Dickson

Mike Leigh & Andrew Dickson & Gary Yershon – Part III
Interview with Gary Yershon

Mike Leigh & Andrew Dickson & Gary Yershon – Part IV

Ken Loach & George Fenton – Part I
Interview with Ken Loach


Over the years, I have written for several publications, among them the news outlet Übermedien and the now-defunct German print magazine Splatting Image which was dedicated to underappreciated films.

Caldera Records

As co-founder of the record label Caldera Records, I have written liner notes for several booklets. Click on the links below to access a small selection.