"The reason any collaboration between director and composer clicks is as mysterious as how a marriage works, because ultimately you become symbiotic. The partnership works on an almost subconscious level.
"All I can tell you is that over the years he has presented me with many fantastic landscapes in which to work, but I found them not alien places to visit. His world seems very clear; not always simple, but accessible to me. My approach is very fluid. I have to figure how to get into his psyche. But its experimentation, there's no formula at all."
Speaking about his first steps into music, Elfman says: "It all began when I got to high school and I hung out with friends who were musicians.They turned me on to Stravinsky and that pretty much changed my life.
"I started wishing I played an instrument and then at eighteen I secretly took up the violin."
It was while he was part of a street theatre troupe in Los Angeles that the composer taught himself the trombone, percussion, baritone horn, alto sax, drums and even took a turn as a fire breather.
"My first words of astonishment were 'why me?," recalls Elfman. "Evidently Tim had more confidence in me than I did. I met him, I liked him. We grew up on the same stuff – Hammer Horror, Roger Corman horror, Harry Hausen, fantasies – so there was quite a bit of overlapping in our backgrounds, but I still didn't think I could do it."
Elfman was so worried about "wrecking" the film, that he even tried to back out of it, and was expected Warner Brothers to kick out the score. But when they went for it, it opened the door of opportunity and led to him being "offered every quirky comedy made in Hollywood".
"Any success story is being in the right place at the right time, talent is only part of the equation," he adds. "Luck was with me. It came at a time when music in comedy was kind of stagnant."
Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton
Royal Albert Hall, London - October 7, 8pm (sold out)
Royal Albert Hall website
First Direct Arena, Leeds - October 8, 7.30pm
The SSE Hydro Glasgow - October 9, 7.30pm
The NIA Arena, Birmingham - October 10, 7.30pm
Tickets can also be booked through www.ticketmaster.co.uk or by calling 0844 844 0444.