Bad Boys composer Lorne Balfe says AI-generated created music has ‘no heart’

The Grammy winner has created scores for many blockbusters including Top Gun: Maverick, Terminator Genisys and several Mission Impossible films.

Lorne Balfe
Lorne Balfe (Ian West/PA)

Scottish composer Lorne Balfe has said he is not worried about artificial intelligence being used to create music yet as he feels it has “no heart”.

The Grammy winner has created scores for many blockbusters including Top Gun: Maverick, Black Widow, Terminator Genisys and several Mission Impossible films.

His recent projects include returning to the Bad Boys franchise to create the dramatic soundtrack for the fourth instalment, Bad Boys: Ride Or Die, which sees Will Smith and Martin Lawrence reunite as two detectives in the Miami Police Department.

Reflecting on how artificial intelligence (AI) is being introduced into music more, he told the PA news agency: “A piece of music can be created by AI.

“I look at it slightly different, because I just go ‘Well, it’s not something that’s new’.

“AI, if it writes a piece of music, it’s based on the past. That’s all it’s able to do.

“So I don’t get worried about that, but it is going to affect the arts significantly.

“It’s like looking at a painting, the AI could create it but I’m not interested in it because there’s no backstory to it. There’s no heart. But then maybe that’s just my generation.”

He believes musicians and artists need to embrace the new technology as a means of helping them as he noted how the music world has been dealing with these changes for decades.

“When the synthesiser came out, the music union wanted to ban it because they said it was going to replace musicians”, he added.

“And then when samplers came out, everybody was like ‘This is going to replace the orchestra’. There’s always technology that is going to fundamentally affect the arts.”

However, he also feels AI needs to be regulated and artists need to be protected from plagiarism.

The Inverness-born composer has become revered for his dramatic soundtracks which heighten the action of the films.

Balfe revealed he welcomes insight from the leading stars who often also act as producers on the films, including Smith in Bad Boys and Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible films.

“They’re part of these characters and this character’s backstory way longer than us and they know how those themes work.

“They know how the audience reacts to to it so they’re very involved with it because it is their baby.”

His work on the latest Bad Boys film marks a return to the franchise as he previously scored 2020’s Bad Boys For Life.

He explained that he enjoys writing music for action comedies as they can allow him and the viewer to experience a “rollercoaster of emotions”.

“You’ve got to have a mixture of emotions and a mixture of storytelling because fundamentally, I think that’s why we go to it, for escapism,” he said.

“I think if it was just one continuous emotion, I’d probably fall asleep.

“I think a rollercoaster of emotions is good in life.

“So it makes it difficult but it is part of the whole process, you want to be able to have that experience where you feel that you have gone on a on a rollercoaster.”

Bad Boys: Ride Or Die (Original Motion Picture Score) with music by Lorne Balfe is available now.