Interviews

Here you will find the latest interviews. If you're searching for older interviews then please visit the Archives.

All Access: Steve Jablonsky

posted Jul 18, 2017, 8:43 AM by Kaya Savas

The one and only Steve Jablonsky joins us for a fantastic All Access interview. We sit down and Steve shares his unique path to film scoring as he grew up in the Los Angeles area, and was surrounded by film from an early age. He tells the story of how he he phoned up Hans Zimmer's studio to see if they needed any assistant work and how he ended up working for Harry Gregson-Williams for a few years, and through that he learned the business from the ground up. We discuss the early days of working on massive films like Armageddon and Bad Boys II as an additional composer, and how Michael Bay hired him to score The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake based off of great recommendations. Steve shares fun and inspiring stories from many of his scores such as The Island, Pain & Gain, Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, all the Transformers films, Steamboy, D-War, Gears Of War 2 and Desperate Housewives. We also discuss Steve's process for thematic writing and how he approaches certain films from different genres. Steve is one of the kindest and most talented composers working in the industry, and his versatility has been displayed in almost every genre. It was such an honor to have Steve return as a guest on Film.Music.Media, this time for this wonderful All Access interview.

Interview Conducted By:
Kaya Savas

Special Thanks:
Steve Jablonsky
Jeff Sanderson
Chasen & Company
Lori Castro

All Access: Steve Jablonsky


All Access: Brian Tyler - Episode 2

posted Jul 15, 2017, 9:16 AM by Kaya Savas

Brian Tyler (and his cat, KC) join us for another All Access as we catch up on his latest scores, plus dive deep into some fascinating topics. Brian recalls his first jobs ever from starting in construction and finally working his way up into the industry. He dove in by doing coverage on scripts no one had time to do, and learned filmmaking from the ground up before finding his path in film music. We discuss typecasting in the film music industry and how Brian as a composer has had to escape genre typecasting many times in his career. Brian discusses working with the late Bill Paxton and the friendship that they shared, and even shows us the very same piano that Brian used to play his themes on for Bill. We also discuss how to keep a score from falling apart if the edit of the movie changes, and Brian shares some examples from The Mummy including re-writing the main character's theme and replacing it throughout the score in 1 weekend. We talk about composing for ensemble casts, and where the unifying theme comes from on scores such as Power Rangers and The Fate Of The Furious. We also delve deep into music psychology and why Brian got his Master's Degree in Philosophy at Harvard, and how he applies that to what he does in life. Brian is truly one of the most fun, talented and smartest composers working today and his conversations are always a blast!

Interview Conducted By:
Kaya Savas

Special Thanks:
Brian Tyler
Jeff Sanderson
Chasen & Company
Ave-Marie London
KC (Brian's cat)

All Access: Brian Tyler - Episode 2


Visit briantyler.com for more!

Composer Interview: Brian McOmber

posted Jun 9, 2017, 10:46 AM by Kaya Savas

Brian McOmber's voice as a composer is unique, but he has followed a similar path by coming from the world of being part of a band and now being in a career as a composer. Brian is the former drummer of the band Dirty Projectors, and now has built up a collaborative relationship with director Trey Edward Shults. Brian discusses his work on Trey's first feature titled Krisha, and now how he approached scoring It Comes At Night. Brian explains how he built the very layered and atmospheric score, and how he knows when a piece is finished when writing in that style. Brian talks about his background as a drummer and how he applied that to his skills as a composer. Brian's path to composing is an inspiring one, and he shares all the ins and outs of how he started his unexpected career as a film composer.

Interview Produced & Presented By:
Kaya Savas

Special Thanks:
Brian McOmber
Terra Lopez
Terrorbird Media

Composer Interview: Brian McOmber

Composer Interview: Scott Doherty

posted Jun 9, 2017, 10:46 AM by Kaya Savas

Composer Scott Doherty takes some time to take us into his world and share about his path to composing including writing the score for Netflix's Orange Is The New Black. Scott's unique path to becoming a composer is a fascinating one. We talk about his involvement in the composing band American Matador, and how as a band they were involved in music for hit series like Real World. Scott then shares how he got work writing additional music on Weeds for composers Gwendolyn Sanford and Brandon Jay, and how that collaboration led to him being invited to be part of a composing trio for Jenji Kohan's Orange Is The New Black. Scott's career is a fascinating one, and it was great to explore his approach and processes.

Interview Produced & Presented By:
Kaya Savas

Special Thanks:
Scott Doherty
Sabrina Hutchinson
Defiant PR

Composer Interview: Scott Doherty

Composer Interview: Fred Coury

posted Jun 9, 2017, 10:46 AM by Kaya Savas

Composer Fred Coury's path to becoming a film and television composer is a fascinating one. Fred was the drummer for the rock band Cinderella and had an entire career as a rockstar before moving his focus to composition. Fred discusses his approach and process for the NBC series The Night Shift as well. We talk about the process of transitioning from being on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans to working alone in a studio. Fred talks about how his skills as a drummer and his background in classical composition helped him when he started writing to picture. Fred also shares the amazing story about how fellow rockstar Gene Simmons got him his first job as a composer to write for Gene's reality show. Fred's story is an inspiring one, and he brings an amazingly versatile background to the music he writes today.

Interview Produced & Presented By:
Kaya Savas

Special Thanks:
Fred Coury
Sabrina Hutchinson
Defiant PR

Composer Interview: Fred Coury


Visit doublefortemusic.com for more of Fred's music!

All Access: Geoff Zanelli

posted May 25, 2017, 11:59 AM by Kaya Savas

Geoff Zanelli is one of the most prolific and busy composers working in the industry. He is one the kindest, hardest working and supremely talented people in this industry and his career is a reflection of that. We sit down to discuss it all, from the early days of cleaning the bathrooms at Media Ventures / Remote Control Productions, becoming John Powell's assistant, and all the way to helming Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Geoff recounts some amazingly fun stories from his films with David Koepp, working with David Duchovny, Into The West, The Pacific, the madness of The Lone Ranger and William Tell Overture, his history on the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise and more. Geoff was in fact our very first interview ever on Film.Music.Media, so it was an honor to go all out here with this immensely inspiring All Access.

Interview Produced & Presented By:
Kaya Savas

Special Thanks:
Geoff Zanelli
Zak McNeil
Emilie Erskine
Jordon Von Netzer
Impact 24 PR

All Access: Geoff Zanelli



Visit geoffzanelli.com for more!

Composer Interview: Batu Sener

posted May 19, 2017, 11:39 AM by Kaya Savas

A lot of hopeful aspiring storytellers migrate to Los Angeles every year from around the world in the hopes they can turn their passion into a living. This includes writers, production designers, costumers, directors, producers, actors, cinematographers and yes composers. You’ve heard the phrase, “you gotta start somewhere” and “getting your foot in the door”. Many aspiring young people are always looking for that opportunity.

The one thing you learn is that everyone’s journey is so uniquely different. It takes a whole lot of hard work, passion, talent, determination and luck to make it in Los Angeles. And it’s not as simple as being an intern who serves coffee for a year or two and then finally getting their chance.

In the composing world, we’ve seen many young composers rise through the ranks before finally branching out into their own. Again, that’s the general path. Everyone you meet will have their own special story.

One of those special stories is from a young Turkish composer, Batu Sener whose passion and hard work landed him working with composer John Powell. Batu has worked alongside John on scores such as Jason Bourne, Pan and the upcoming Ferdinand.

Interview Conducted By:
Kaya Savas




FMM: Batu, thanks so much chatting today and sharing a bit about your story. So, I’d love to know what made you want to pursue film composing as a career. Did you discover the passion for composition early in your life? And at what point did you decide to focus on film music?

Batu: Of course, thank you! I was never going to be a composer, actually. I remember, early on, in harmony, music theory classes during high school years, all of my professor said to me that I’d be a great composer if I had stopped pursuing the solo piano career. I was quite determined then. Only towards to end of my teens, I started getting more and more into writing. Of course, I’d written several things until then but I had not considered making a living as a composer. It wasn’t until I watched WALL-E that something clicked inside. A switch immediately turned my life upside down and helped me decide to go for it. I was always interested in film music but in short, Thomas Newman’s score to WALL-E did the trick. 



FMM: What kind of composers, either classic or film composers did you listen to (or are still listening to)? 

BS: I did appreciate the music in films but I was heavily invested in classical music in my listening routine. Actually, if I went all the way back, the reason that I’m a musician today is Ella Fitzgerald. I remember, in the early 90s, I caught a show on television where she was a musical guest, a talk show, it must have been, and that she was singing ‘Body and Soul’. Actually, there’s a video of a similar performance –if not the same– on YouTube.* Imagine a kid hearing this and being astonished by it. What a diva!
Nevertheless, I did listen to and do continue listening to all the Russian jewels, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, as well as the French impressionists, from Mozart to Alban Berg, really. Everyone. I constantly get new study scores and, well, study them.

As far as film composers, I was very much impressed with Newman and John Powell. Of course, John Williams, Goldsmith, Éric Serra and so on.

*You can listen to the performance that Batu mentioned here.



FMM: I’d love to know about your journey in making the decision to move to the US, going to school here and of course “getting your foot in the door”. Take us through that part of your life. How did you end up where you are today?

BS: It all really happened after WALL-E. I was away from home for college, attending a classical music conservatory. Jumped on a plane, went back home, to Izmir. I got mom and dad in front of me and said “I’m going to be doing composing for films from now on, there’s this school in Boston that I’d wish to apply."

That’s one way of doing it, I suppose.

From then on, I moved to the US and went to Berklee. One thing I did not expect was to finish my undergraduate degree in two years there. So, half way through the program, I started looking into grad school options in the same field.

Not because you need a higher degree or any kind of degree to be doing this job but because I was simply afraid to move to Los Angeles and try to make it, you know? I just said to myself: “hold on a second, you just got here, early 20s, what’s the rush?”

I went on to attend Columbia for grad school. Did another two years there and then moved to LA.



FMM: Can you take us through the time when you started working for John? Did the opportunity pop up by chance? Or did you hear that he was looking for help and pursued it?

BS: The way I met John was quite a dream. He was interested in taking a new set of hands/ears then and I submitted my stuff to him. I’m incredibly grateful that he offered me the position at the time.



FMM: Now, you know more than anyone that John is such a fun, caring and easy-going guy. But back then, were you nervous at all sort of stepping into this fast-paced world?

BS: We’d be here talking about John’s kindness forever if I start getting into it. But in short, yes, one of the most kind, most fun, most amazing persons I’ve ever met.

And yes, of course, I was nervous. Not only was I stepping into this world but also stepping into it with him, or should say through him. I didn’t know what to expect at all. – and being a foreigner brings other roadblocks to the table. I was also nervous about how to maintain my presence in the US working with John. You get an opportunity like that, the last thing you want is having the leave it because of legal reasons. Yet, John was very welcoming. He was and still is an incredible mentor and to this day, he continuously amazes me.



FMM: What were some of things you learned from John, and I suppose are still learning from him? Has being in this role sort of given you a crash-course in both the production and business side of making music for films?

BS: I think I learnt to be a better musician, before even becoming a better composer. He introduced me to so many different aspects of music, before film music. Really. Experiencing this industry from where I am is definitely an eye opener.



FMM: For me, I usually have to make a mistake to learn from it. Someone can tell me “don’t do this”, and sure I’ll remember it but I will still end up making that mistake once or twice before I truly learn from it. Do you have the ability to sort of make mistakes and learn from them, or is there little room for error in the role you have?

BS: Yes and no. No, because there isn’t room for error in this industry. Actually, we should say there isn’t time for it. I also live by a very harsh standard in my work. I try my best to never be in a situation that would require me to say that I’m sorry. Of course, we’re all humans. Like everyone else, I make mistakes, and do learn from them. But I try to make mistakes during the off times, where trial and error will not stop the production, you know? In between projects, I continue writing everyday, a bit or a lot, you learn from experimenting. You learn what you can do, what you’re not really good at, what you need to be improving in your writing.

If I’m saying sorry because of a mistake that stops the production for 2 days, or 2 hours, then it’s kind of too late. I know that a lot of people I’ve spoken to about this ideology don’t agree with me on it. But I guess, that’s just me.



FMM: So how are you taking everything you’re learning and applying it to yourself as a storyteller and a composer? Has working with John changed the way you approach doing your own solo compositions?

BS: Well, first off, I wish I went to Drama school.

(laughs)

Storytelling is everything. John is an extremely gifted storyteller through music. Being here with him definitely improved the way I read the picture, interpret it, and execute the music. Working with John had and continues to have an indispensible effect on my music. Even a casual chat about music opens up a whole new dimension. My own writing has developed quite a lot over the years, of course, but the pace of it skyrocketed recently.



FMM: For you personally, what about a film speaks to you the most when you’re coming up with that first note? Is it the character’s personality, the story itself, the framing of a shot? What’s kind of the first thing that grabs you and starts getting a musical idea flowing?

BS: I’d say what it makes you feel like. What it makes you remember in your past, or what it makes you resonate with your current thought and feelings. Filmmaking is very interesting. Very involved. It is often hard to be objective about what you’re seeing -- sometimes hard to get involved. But all of it, really, the story, the cinematography.



FMM: If you could score any film ever made, pretending the original score never existed with no disrespect to the original composer, which film would you choose?

BS: Hmm, many... The Game (1997), possibly, by David Fincher, music by Howard Shore. Oh, or I could go with The Prestige (2006).



FMM: In your career so far, what has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned that you wish you knew earlier?

BS: Researching and writing every day. I used to be rather lazy or used to feel uninspired about my writing. Granted you’re busy with school and once you’re done with your assignments, the only thing you want to go for is a pint of Heineken, you know? Not to go back to writing...

It wasn’t until I moved to LA and met John that I started writing everyday. Not finishing and polishing a piece a day but, you know, continuing to be actively writing, studying, experimenting, being aware of yourself as a musician, as a composer. Reminding yourself that you can only get better by writing and continue writing.
I remember one of the first advices that John gave me was to write a minute of music everyday.

Well, that’s a hard task.

(laughs)

But it’s good advice. – and research. There’s an incredible variety of amazing music out there. Sure, in film music too, but a study score of a 20th century symphony can teach you a lot.



FMM: Thanks Batu so much for your time and congratulations on your accomplishments so far. I can’t wait for what’s to come in the future!

2017 BMI Film, TV & Visual Media Awards

posted May 12, 2017, 2:37 PM by Kaya Savas

Every year BMI celebrates the accomplishments of their artists at the annual Film, TV & Visual Media Awards. This year, the prestigious Icon Award was given to Alan Silvestri as the entire industry reflects back on Alan's amazing work as a composer. Film.Music.Media was on-hand again this year to chat with some of our favorite composers on the red carpet, including Alan Silvestri. You'll find all of our red carpet interview's from this year's red carpet right here!

Interviews Produced & Presented By:
Kaya Savas


(Photos by Kaya Savas)

2017 BMI Awards: Alan Silvestri

2017 BMI Awards: Brian Tyler

2017 BMI Awards: John Ottman

2017 BMI Awards: Jeff Danna & Mychael Danna

2017 BMI Awards: Christopher Lennertz

2017 BMI Awards: Dominic Lewis

2017 BMI Awards: Trevor Morris

2017 BMI Awards: Tyler Bates

2017 BMI Awards: Rob Simonsen

2017 BMI Awards: Tony Morales

2017 BMI Awards: Sean Callery

2017 BMI Awards: Charlie Clouser

2017 BMI Awards: Kevin Kliesch

All Access: Elik Álvarez & Freddy Sheinfeld

posted May 2, 2017, 11:14 AM by Kaya Savas

On this All Access we dive into the world of two composers who have successfully established both a composing partnership as well as their own solo career paths. Elik Álvarez and Freddy Sheinfeld are behind some of the most popular animated series such as Ultraman: Tiga, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The two of them have also worked on fantastic nature documentaries hosted by the great David Attenborough including Kingdom Of Plants, Galapagos, Micro Monsters and David Attenborough’s Conquest of The Skies. While Elik and Freddy frequently work together with the amazing Joel Douek, it’s their bond and friendship over the years that has made their story a unique one. They are both from Venezuela but didn’t even realize they were both from the same country at first until others told them. Hear their unique journey of moving to Los Angeles, getting their degrees, going through composing bootcamp by writing music for animated series such as Yu-Gi-Oh!, starting their own company and still maintaining their careers as solo composers. Elik and Freddy are two extremely talented musical voices, and their insights shine an amazing light on what it’s like to carve your own path in this industry.

Interview Produced & Presented By:
Kaya Savas

Special Thanks:
Elik Álvarez
Freddy Sheinfeld
Beth Krakower
The Krakower Group

All Access: Elik Álvarez & Freddy Sheinfeld


For more on Elik, visit elikalvarez.com
Fore more on Freddy, visit freddysheinfeld.com

Composer Interview: Cris Velasco

posted May 1, 2017, 9:57 AM by Kaya Savas

Composer Cris Velasco is one of the most respected and in-demand talents in the video game composing world. For this discussion we re-visit Cris’ own journey to becoming a composer and why he decided to start his career with a focus on vide game composition. We chat about the different techniques and approaches Cris uses when he writes music including letting the music play in loops around his house while he does chores so he can see if any of his melodies become annoying or irritating. We dive into Cris’ recent projects such as his involvement in Overwatch, the approach he took while working on Resident Evil 7 and his new series Dimension 404 which airs on Hulu. Dimension 404 is a unique anthology series that follows in the footsteps of classic series like The Twilight Zone where episodes are a standalone story requiring a different style of music for each narrative. Cris is one of the most fun and creative minds in the business and it was so great to get a glimpse into his world once again!

Interview Produced & Presented By:
Kaya Savas

Special Thanks:
Cris Velasco
Greg O’Connor-Read
Top Dollar PR

Composer Interview: Cris Velasco


Visit monarchaudio.com for more!

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