Episode 21

Jason Brandt talks about his new movie Camp Hideout

Personal stories of inspiration from professional composers, songwriters and musicians.

In this episode, Gareth chats with Jason Brandt about his new movie Camp Hideout, always being curious and listening to music on his paper round.

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Host: Gareth Davies

Produced by The Sound Boutique

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Transcript
Gareth:

Welcome to the music room.

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At this time in the music room.

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Jason: I don't know if you remember a

movie called interview with a vampire.

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It had Ellie Goldenfall.

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It was a score by him.

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I heard that music and Before

that, I thought, oh, maybe I

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can figure this out on my own.

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That was the score that made me go, I

don't, I don't know what he's doing.

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Hello and welcome to The Music

Room, the show where I chat with

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composers, songwriters and musicians

about their formative years.

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We're getting stuck into

the autumn, aren't we?

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Suddenly a bit cooler in the evening.

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Change the duvet yet?

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Put the heating on yet?

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Autumn is a good time to get stuck

into creative projects, isn't it?

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What are you involved with currently?

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You can let me know via the links

in the show notes, or come and

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join the Music Room Community Group

on Facebook and tell us there.

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In this episode, you're going to hear

from LA based composer Jason Brandt

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who recently had a movie released on

Netflix, and we chatted about that as

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well as how he got started in music.

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He also left a very cool retro

item and some brilliant advice.

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ABC anyone?

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Listen on to find out more.

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But first, music stories.

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music room Guest, Ian Arbor has

added his magic to movie Boen

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Shoes, starring Timothy Spa.

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And Liam Best, a are siblings who

are obsessed with the late Mark

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Nolan and the music of T-Rex.

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The writer director of Once, 2007, Begin

Again,:

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Sing Street, 2016, John Carney is back

with Flora and Son, a consistently

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enjoyable, music infused, character

driven comedy set in his native Dublin.

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The movie's original songs were co

written by Carney and Music Room guest

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Gary Clark, You can watch that right now

on Apple TV And that's Music Stories.

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Jason Brandt is a US based composer who

recently composed music for the film Camp

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Hideout, starring Christopher Lloyd and

Corbyn Blue, for Roadside Attractions.

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Jason also scored the award winning

film Max Winslow and the House

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of Secrets, starring Chad Michael

Murray, Freddy, starring Kelly

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Who, and Christmas Wonderland.

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Other films include Night of the

Living Dead 3D, starring Sid Haig,

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and documentary That Guy Dick Miller.

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Jason also creates original music for a

wide range of national TV programming,

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including Cartoon Network's Teen

Titans Go and Mike Tyson Mysteries.

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Ready to catch up with Jason?

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Here we go.

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Gareth: Jason Brandt.

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Welcome to the music room.

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Jason: Thank you for having me

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Gareth: You are very, very welcome.

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You're all the way over in Burbank.

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Is that right?

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In California.

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Jason: is correct.

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Burbank, California.

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Gareth: And I see a

lovely room behind you.

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Uh, many guitars.

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I can see at least three there.

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Jason: You can see some

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Gareth: Oh, wow.

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Some synthy goodness as well.

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Oh,

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Jason: Synthy

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Gareth: like, you like your

guitars and analog hardware.

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It is clear from first

glance at your studio.

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Jason: There's a whole

bunch of stuff there.

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I think I got a camper and way too

many Mac minis to go with everything.

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Gareth: That's amazing.

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So what have you had going on today?

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Jason: Well, uh, today I'm

getting to talk to you.

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I'm writing music for a

couple of different shows.

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Teen Titans Go is one, as well as TMZ.

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Uh, and then I have a movie that I'm

working on, uh, that's coming up, uh, to

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be announced and, uh, things are good.

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Gareth: Fantastic.

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Uh, I want to ask you about

Titans Go, uh, in a little bit.

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Um, but you, you also have a new

film out, Camp Hideout, don't you?

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Jason: It comes out this

Friday, September 15th.

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Gareth: how did that come about?

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And can you tell us a bit about

your working process for that?

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Jason: Certainly.

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Uh, I got on this film, we

finished it about a year ago.

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It's taken a little while

to get to this point.

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But, uh, I got hired at the

beginning of last year and, uh,

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it's an old friend of mine a college

friend named Sean Robert Olson.

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We went to the University

of Arizona back in the day.

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And we've been friends forever.

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He's a four time Emmy

award winning editor.

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And he also does lots of directing.

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And we've done maybe about 10

feature films, a ton of short films,

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and a ton of TV shows together.

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But the last three films, Freddy,

Max Winslow and the House of Secrets,

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and now this one, Camp Hideout, is

probably my three favorite of them all.

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And the It took a little while to get

hired onto it because, you know, when you

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go from one, uh, group of producers to the

next, to the next, uh, it's almost like

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starting a brand new business every time.

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So, you know, you're hiring new

people, getting all the financing

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in place and, uh, but all the

producers have been fantastic.

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I absolutely love them.

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Uh, the process started with, uh, Sean

first, you know, after he shot the

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movie, uh, he edited it and then he

showed me a work print and, uh, we just

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discussed things, had a certain direction.

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Uh, there was a temp track that was.

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A little more orchestral at the time,

uh, but then As time went on, we started

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to realize we wanted it to be a little

more specific to what the film is.

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It's a camp movie, it's a kid's film,

and it's got Christopher Lloyd in it.

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And we grew up with him because

of Back to the Future, and Adam's

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Family, and a bunch of other movies.

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And so we thought it would be more fun

to just, you know, every time you go

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camping, you know, there's always someone

with an acoustic guitar, and there's some

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whistling, and some singing, and snapping,

and clapping, and all that stuff.

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So all that's incorporated in

there, plus an orchestra, and

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plus all these other things.

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You know, when you get to...

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to the emotional scenes.

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So, uh, the way I approached this

specific one, uh, the main character's

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name is Noah and he's a foster kid who

is, uh, running away from two bad guys.

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are two guys that hire him to steal

something and then that heist goes wrong.

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And so now he's hiding

in a camp away from them.

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And so he thinks he's cool.

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And he thinks he's a certain kind of guy.

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So a lot of funk music, kind of edgy,

uh, spy music from time to time.

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That's kind of the soundtrack in his head.

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That's kind of how I approach that.

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And then, uh, you'll, a lot of people

have mentioned kind of like Home

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Alone vibes and stuff like that.

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So you'll notice that the two, uh,

two bad guys who are, you know,

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playful and fun their own way.

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Uh, this is definitely a family film.

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The music kind of follows

their journey as well.

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And then when you meet Falco, which

is the, Christopher Lloyd character.

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I mean, he creates an amazing character.

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He's as legendary now as he was back then.

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And I got to write very

cool themes for him.

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He's kind of, he starts off

as the dark brooding guy.

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And, uh, I just, each one of these

characters has their own theme.

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The camp has a theme, uh, as does,

you know, these are all lyrical.

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They're more melodic, which is

nice because, you know, as time

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has progressed, you know, it's not.

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A lot of movies want to be more neutral,

and they want to have more ambient

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pulse, or those kind of things, or

just let the drums push it forward.

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But in this case, it's vibrant.

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It's fun.

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I mean, I'm using at least three or

four different guitars for different

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themes, and then different ideas.

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It's got a huge palette,

so you're not bored.

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Gareth: Yeah,

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Jason: I wasn't.

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And, uh, it just moves.

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It cooks.

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It's a good, fun film.

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And you'll recognize

this kind of fun vibe,

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Gareth: absolutely.

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Jason: know, we've seen many times.

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Gareth: you mentioned home alone.

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That's what I got from

the trailer actually was,

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Jason: Yeah, I feel like they were going

for that, uh, which is not a bad thing

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to do because that's a fun kids film and

we're trying to reach parents as well.

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And

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Gareth: absolutely.

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You have something like home alone

with Christopher Lloyd as well.

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what's not to like, it's just

looks like tremendous fun.

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Jason: it was.

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Gareth: Well, best of luck with the

release and uh, I hope it all goes well.

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so mentioned before recording

that, you're a proud dad to

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a seven and a nine year old.

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And, uh, I was wondering about

your variety of work from kids

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animation to horror, you know,

it's a wide spectrum there.

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Has having kids affected your

decision making in any way?

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Jason: It has.

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Uh, when I was starting out in Hollywood,

I mean, you take anything you can get

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and you don't really think much about it.

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And, uh, a good gateway into

Hollywood is horror movies.

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You know, if you can get someone

scared, you can, you know, or

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thrilled or you move them in some way.

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I mean, that's a great way to get started.

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As it progressed, by the time I had

kids, I got married, had kids, I

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realized I can show them almost nothing.

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Uh, that was really surprising to me.

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And I, uh, Decided to make an effort like

I should probably do more things that

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they can see in fact They've been in one

or two of them as extras and one of them

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was so upset that Uh, they weren't in it.

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I was like, you weren't born yet.

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Like, don't be upset.

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So I'm still trying to get an

opportunity for that child.

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So if anybody needs a seven and

a half year old extra, uh, that

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I could score, that'd be amazing.

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But it has changed a bit more because now

this audience, you know, we all chased our

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childhood, you know, you and I could sit

here and talk about movies that changed us

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when we were kids, when we discovered it.

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And We're all kind of still kind of

going back to that early magic, that

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little bit of fire that happens.

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And even when we get tired of, you know,

all the crap that happens in Hollywood,

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you still go, well, what makes me tick?

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What, what made me want to

do this in the beginning?

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And it's those early

movies, those early things.

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And I want to be a part of that

narrative for all kids, especially mine.

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And, uh, one of the things I noticed in

all those movies, they had melody and

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there was orchestras were live players.

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There was a little bit more.

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more fun.

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You know, it's kind of an

exaggerated experience of what's

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going on in the narrative.

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Because if you were just to

watch these things without

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music, you know, it'd be flat.

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It wouldn't be as interesting.

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But when the music comes

in, it's much more vibrant.

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It moves.

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And, uh, I want my kids to see that.

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And that piece of my childhood will

show up in everything I'm working on.

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And then hopefully they like it

and hopefully we can talk about it.

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But they've seen this movie.

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They laughed out loud.

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So, and we'll see it again.

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Again this weekend.

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I hope they're excited.

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Gareth: target audience, isn't it?

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It's, uh, if you, if you're satisfying

them, then that's just amazing.

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And yeah, and especially in the community

of composers for TV and film, there

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is this touchstone of, seeing movies

when you're kids, and having that Major

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inspiration to, to now do what you do,

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And, uh, you know, certainly with, a lot

of my guests, they hark back to, oh, it

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was the, this movie that, that started

everything or this movie or the, you

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know, um, John Williams or Morricone

or, you know, it could be anything.

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Jason: Yeah, those are

all amazing buzzers.

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Gareth: So, as someone who's also

scored a kind of zany animated comedy,

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I have to ask you about Teen Titans

Go, which looks tremendous fun.

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you said you are working

on it at the moment.

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Jason: hmm Yes, I've been working on that

show since:

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started, uh, they had low expectations.

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They're like, we're just

going to break even.

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We don't know it's, you know,

just do as much as you can.

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And, uh, it started with like 52 episodes

and I'm not the only composer on it.

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There are other composers and, uh, we

get to contribute, uh, in different

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ways because the show moves pretty fast.

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And, uh, but I mean, it turned out

to be a real success by the two or

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three years in, I remember going to

like McDonald's or something and they

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were selling teen Titans go toys.

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I was like, Oh, we're doing fine.

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So, the show is fun.

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I mean, uh, it has a lot

of, again, that vibrancy.

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We do cartoons a little differently now.

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Cause I grew up on Bugs Bunny and some

of those where they're really, you

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know, hitting every point and here,

you know, it's a little bit of talking.

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Then they go into a thing.

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So they kind of, they're

moving it around a bit.

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So

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Gareth: Yeah, it's something I noticed

that there was a team of composers.

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But I wanted, what I wanted to ask you

was, do they all work at the same time?

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Or has it been a bit of a relay race?

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Or does that all work?

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Jason: yeah, it's kind of basically

what we're doing is, uh, for that show,

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depending on the time and energy they have

to, uh, you know, they're editing these

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things and sometimes they have a graphic

and they can work on that where we can.

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Can write musics to that, but in many

times they have music that we've already

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pre, you know, used and then just

reusing that piece over and over again.

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That's not uncommon at all for that show.

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They have typically, uh, I mean,

I want to say there was about 52

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episodes in the first season or two.

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And so there, a lot of music

that we'd had written, that's.

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You know, building into a library and

they'll reuse it in other cases, just

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like, you know, the main title gets

reused over and over and the end titles.

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And so, uh, all of that just,

uh, is just a work in progress.

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And I, I'm not in all the meetings

with other composers at all.

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So I'm not sure how they're all

approaching it, but, uh, it's

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been fantastic fun on that.

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Gareth: That's a quite a

unique way of doing things.

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I've not experienced that myself.

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okay.

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Right.

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Well, Shall we go back in time and find

out how it all began for Jason Brandt?

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Jason: let's do it.

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Gareth: Excellent.

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Okay.

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So, uh, here we are back in time, Jason.

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Jason: Here it is.

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Gareth: wasn't it?

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It's

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just amazing.

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So what are your earliest

musical memories?

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Jason: Uh, my earliest, for sure, would

have to be, my, I had, uh, some family

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members that played piano and guitar.

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My mom, uh, did play piano and guitar.

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Uh, my father was a minister

in a Lutheran church.

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And my mom would, uh, they would

go to nursing homes in different

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places, and she would perform.

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And then she would perform

a little bit at home.

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Uh, the big life change,

of course, it's Star Wars.

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I mean, I was born in 73.

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That movie comes out in 77.

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And, uh, my goodness.

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That hit me like a ton of bricks.

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Uh, the other thing is I had an aunt

that would take that soundtrack and play

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it in a car wherever we were driving.

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And it, that was, it never occurred to

me that, wow, this music, you know, film

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music doesn't always sound good separated.

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From the picture and in this case it

did I just saw it as music and it's it

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retells the whole story I mean you have

that beautiful fanfare and then it goes

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into a different mood Only about a minute

and a half later where it's very dark

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and it's filled with action You can just

hear the story beat by beat, you know,

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uh cue by cue scene by scene and uh I

just remember seeing the movie once or

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twice, but then hearing that soundtrack

over and over again with those car rides,

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and I just thought, Wow, that's amazing,

and it just stuck with me for years.

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It never occurred to me that I want to

do that, but that, that was a big thing.

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I've had a number of instances in my life,

which I'm sure you have too, where, you

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know, maybe when you got MTV as a kid,

and then you started seeing music videos,

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you're like, Oh, wow, they're doing it.

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Cause now you're seeing live players in

a way that you wouldn't normally see.

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Uh, now we have the internet,

so it's no big deal.

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You can see, you know, uh, you know,

anybody perform, you know, uh, you

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know, a Russian symphony or

American symphony or, you know,

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Leonard Bernstein, who's not

alive, you can watch all that now.

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But back then you had to buy a VHS

or something, and maybe you'd see a

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little bit on PBS now it's at demand.

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But at that time, it was very

exciting to just see anybody.

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They perform live and that

was always informative.

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And so I had, uh, times when, you

know, first it was star Wars and

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then MTV came along and I wanted

to play guitar and then play piano.

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And I had a number of

lessons throughout life.

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Uh, but the spark of music

is always interesting.

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It, it, it, it always goes

back to your childhood.

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Somehow it always does.

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We're always kind of chasing that.

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Gareth: Well, I mean, I was

born in the same year as you

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and for me, it's star Wars.

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It was the first film I

went to see at the cinema.

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And I remember standing behind the

seats when Darth Vader was peaking.

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And yes, probably the first moment that

I kind of reconciled that music and

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the image can be such a powerful force

together, a force, sorry, pardon the pun.

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Um, but yeah, and I, I think,

for a lot of TV and film

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composers, it's the same story.

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I hear it over and over again

that, you know, hit them like a ton

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of bricks when they were little.

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Jason: It was, yeah, it's a very

exciting time because if you remember,

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even going through the eighties, every

month you'd hear a new composer that did

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something amazing, like Jerry Goldsmith.

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Anya Morricone, you know, uh, Alan

Silvestri, Thomas Newman, you know,

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all that early Danny Elfman stuff

and just watching him grow from, you

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know, Pee Wee Herman, Big Adventure

to, to Batman, just in that four or

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five years is really interesting.

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So you're hearing, you know, a lot of

vibrant music in the pop world, but then

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you go to the movie theater and you're

hearing a good, you know, hour, sometimes

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of classical music underscored throughout.

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And to hear all that, I mean, I

just feel very fortunate that I was

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born at that time to experience all

these things where the narrative

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of music is just very big and fun.

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There's a lot to learn.

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Gareth: So I guess you were

quite influenced by the fact

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that your parents were musical.

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were there any other influences that

were steering you towards, you know,

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picking up instruments and learning?

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Jason: you know, Headbangers Ball was a

big, you know, when I was watching MTV as

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a kid, I was like, I should play guitar.

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That looks good.

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I started with drums because I thought

that would be easier, and then I couldn't

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find a guitar player to jam with.

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I was like, well, maybe it can't

be that hard, and I was right.

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Uh, you know, with time and, you know,

persistence, time and pressure, you

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can do anything, and I've learned

many instruments that way, and uh,

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some with lessons, some without,

but uh, there was, it was just the

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kind of the environment at the time.

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It was just very exciting.

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And then going to concerts, whether

they be rock concerts or classical or

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jazz, just seeing live players, just

living, breathing, uh, fun and just

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watching the audience experience it.

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It's just, it's interesting because so

much of music now is written on computers

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and things are very quantized and it's

very compressed and it wasn't like that.

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You know, most music for a long

time, you know, the dynamics of an

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orchestra is very quiet and very loud.

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And there's something about that.

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That I feel like we've kind of

lost in today's music, in today's

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world, where it's, it's always kind

of like a compressed clamshell,

372

:

you know, going over a hamburger.

373

:

Gareth: yeah.

374

:

Jason: I really appreciate what we saw

in the seventies and the eighties and

375

:

the nineties, uh, just kind of going.

376

:

And all of that was inspirational

and it's still fun to revisit.

377

:

Gareth: Absolutely.

378

:

And so, you mentioned the drums,

you went to the guitar, did

379

:

you have lessons on the guitar?

380

:

Um, did you, are you self taught?

381

:

Jason: I definitely

did the guitar lessons.

382

:

Uh, the honest answer is when I

started piano lessons, because, you

383

:

know, I started hearing Star Wars

and hearing all these amazing things

384

:

and you're hearing it in your head,

and then you start piano playing Hot

385

:

Cross Buns or Mary Had a Little Lamb.

386

:

It was frustrating.

387

:

I didn't like it.

388

:

I hated my piano lessons.

389

:

It took a while to get into it,

and it was, uh, the gateway for

390

:

that was then drums and guitar.

391

:

And I definitely had lessons for

each, but, you know, some teachers

392

:

get you, sometimes they don't.

393

:

You know, if you're

introduced to the right thing.

394

:

And you're in the right

space and you're inspired.

395

:

I mean, it's all about curiosity,

you know, ABC, always be curious,

396

:

just keep going and going and going.

397

:

And the more I, you know, I hear

something, you know, sometimes being

398

:

self taught can be advantageous.

399

:

My technique is not perfect, but I

sure enjoyed the process of getting

400

:

there and all the lessons I've had.

401

:

I mean, you know, guitar, piano,

drums, bass, uh, you know, and then

402

:

composing and conducting and all those

things have been very helpful, but it

403

:

was a little rocky in the beginning

because, you know, what you want.

404

:

I do isn't what you're

technically able to do.

405

:

So it just took a while

of being impatient.

406

:

And then, you know, I

didn't have that patience.

407

:

So sometimes you just

have to do it, just do it.

408

:

Gareth: Yeah,

409

:

Jason: Mistakes and all that's fine.

410

:

Gareth: yeah, that's an

interesting route then.

411

:

So what, what kind of route

did you take into composing?

412

:

did you learn the theory and go through?

413

:

College and stuff like that.

414

:

Or, or did you just furrow down

and figure it out yourself?

415

:

Because I mean, both are equally as valid.

416

:

it's quite a personal

journey to have, isn't it?

417

:

Really?

418

:

Jason: it is, it really is.

419

:

Uh, the thing was, is when I started

playing guitar, uh, some of my favorite

420

:

guitar players were Joe Satriani and

Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen and

421

:

Steve Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix,

and to really understand what they're

422

:

doing on guitar, whether it's rhythm

or lead, you're going to have to

423

:

learn a little bit of music theory.

424

:

And, uh, I remember there was another one,

Randy Rhodes, he used to play with Ozzy

425

:

and after you learn your major and minor

scale, there's all those modes in there.

426

:

A long time learning those modes and

learning theory on guitar that eventually,

427

:

uh, at the same time while I'm doing

all this, I'm listening to soundtracks.

428

:

I'm just starting to collect.

429

:

I had like Dance with Wolves, Silence

of the Lambs, of course, Star Wars,

430

:

and I'm reading books while listening

to that and the soundtrack, you know,

431

:

in the background, and I'm really.

432

:

Impressed with all the

layers that are in that.

433

:

And so the big gateway for me, I

read an interview with Steve by

434

:

famous guitar player who had, when

he was a kid or somewhere in his

435

:

youth, a four track recorder, and

he said, I'm just going to write a

436

:

bunch of compositions on my guitar.

437

:

So on that four track recorder, I had.

438

:

A drum machine, a bass, and usually

two guitars, you could bounce those

439

:

tracks, uh, you know, you take three

tracks and record it into one, and

440

:

then all the way, if you keep bouncing

tracks, you can get up to seven tracks.

441

:

So I made a deal with myself to write a

piece of music every day in the summer of

442

:

92, and then never play it for anybody.

443

:

So I had the ability for it to be

terrible and, uh, just get through it.

444

:

But that was the most educational

experience I had where you

445

:

just forced yourself to write.

446

:

I mean, you know, composition

is just like learning violin or

447

:

any other trade or instrument.

448

:

You just have to keep doing

it and be willing to fail.

449

:

And that's what I did.

450

:

It was on guitar.

451

:

And then.

452

:

Uh, I started taking composition

lessons formally right after that.

453

:

Uh, I wanted to know more and I had, I

got like a Korg X2 and it had 16 tracks

454

:

on that, which was huge in 92 or 93.

455

:

I think that now it's the year after.

456

:

So 93, I got this huge thing and

it's a workstation and you're able

457

:

to record all these things with MIDI.

458

:

It was just a whole new world.

459

:

And so through experimenting and

then, I mean, the lesson really is

460

:

just your ears and looking at scores.

461

:

I mean, you want to learn about Bach, you

just listen to Bach and look at it and

462

:

then study it, and then hear the players.

463

:

And then same thing with John Williams.

464

:

You want to do it, try to

get it under your fingers.

465

:

You know, a piano a good piano reduction.

466

:

Getting things under your

fingers really, really helps.

467

:

And then you go, Oh

wow, he's moving a lot.

468

:

He's doing this, this, and this.

469

:

And then the way he wrote it for

the strings, it's all separated.

470

:

That's all fascinating stuff.

471

:

So that was kind of the gateway of

just being curious and just keep

472

:

going after it, being willing to fail.

473

:

And, uh, and then eventually,

you know, finding people who were

474

:

willing to tolerate some mistakes.

475

:

And then it's a collaboration

and then we're all making okay

476

:

films to really good films.

477

:

It's a, it's gradual

478

:

Gareth: Yeah.

479

:

So I was going to ask what, was there

a moment where, in amongst all that

480

:

you decided, Oh, actually I want to do

this for a living, or the opportunity

481

:

come at you without, you know, you

realizing, how did that come about?

482

:

And what was it?

483

:

Jason: yeah, I would have to say,

uh, there was, you know, for a long

484

:

time when I'm a kid, you know, you're

like, I'm going to be a rock star.

485

:

That's what I want to do.

486

:

I'm going to try to be Eddie Van Halen or

the next Kirk Hammett or whatever it is.

487

:

And, uh, the music industry changed

immensely by the time Nirvana came in.

488

:

I don't know.

489

:

You remember the transitional

thing between one thing?

490

:

Yeah.

491

:

Gareth: Yeah.

492

:

Guitar music was back.

493

:

Jason: And I remember thinking

like, maybe I don't want to just

494

:

play heavy metal guitar or rock

guitar for the rest of my life.

495

:

Maybe there's other things.

496

:

And that's when I started to listen to.

497

:

You know, I was already listening to

soundtracks, but I was thinking about

498

:

it more of how if I was to write for

media, I could write in any style.

499

:

The great thing about, you

know, film scoring is anything

500

:

you've learned in life.

501

:

Something, a piece of music you heard when

you were a kid, you could maybe use that.

502

:

Something you heard in college,

maybe you could use that.

503

:

Something you heard 10 minutes

ago, you could use that.

504

:

I mean, we're always taking from the

universe and then reinterpreting.

505

:

You know, just like this

conversation, we're just...

506

:

improvising now back and forth,

you know, some of this could end

507

:

up in a composition in its own way.

508

:

You know, you could say something

like, you should check out this artist.

509

:

Then I do.

510

:

And then it's amazing.

511

:

And then you're inspired by that.

512

:

And it just goes and goes and goes.

513

:

And so for me, the, the big point,

uh, I don't know if you remember a

514

:

movie called interview with a vampire.

515

:

It had Ellie Goldenfall.

516

:

It was a score by him.

517

:

I heard that music and Before

that, I thought, oh, maybe I

518

:

can figure this out on my own.

519

:

That was the score that made me go, I

don't, I don't know what he's doing.

520

:

And there's no sheet music for this.

521

:

They're not releasing

film scores on paper.

522

:

Uh, you know, because he's got these

things where there's horn rips in

523

:

it, and then the horns are slowly

bending and twisting, and then he's

524

:

doing all these extended techniques,

not familiar with at all, but it was

525

:

amazing, it was absolutely amazing.

526

:

I'm hearing magic in a different way

that John Williams is bringing magic

527

:

and all these other components are.

528

:

So around 94, at the end of that,

I was like, I should, I should do,

529

:

you know, music for medium for film.

530

:

And I realized I could do it for film.

531

:

That was the goal at the time.

532

:

And then television, video games,

commercials, it's an endless thing.

533

:

And since I play all these

different instruments.

534

:

And there'll be a home for everything.

535

:

And that's been my experience.

536

:

Any piece of music I've ever

written, there's a home for it.

537

:

Somebody needs it somewhere.

538

:

And, um, there's nothing wasted.

539

:

So that was kind of the game changer

for me around 94 with Elliot Goldenthal.

540

:

And then that rabbit hole of these

amazing composers that I would have

541

:

written off prior, I'd be like,

I don't know what I do with this.

542

:

But then, you know, You know, same

thing with the movie, The Shining, you

543

:

know, you hear all of these in 2001,

there's all these extended techniques

544

:

from Xenakis and Penderecki and you're

like, how, how are they doing that?

545

:

Then you see the notation for it.

546

:

You're like, yeah, I was never going

to guess that, you know, it's like an

547

:

arrow with every instrument playing

the highest note for 30 seconds.

548

:

They're improvising that and that's,

it's a different style altogether.

549

:

So all of that got my wheels turning and

I was like, this is super exciting and

550

:

At the end of 94 when I saw Interview

with the Vampire and listened to that

551

:

soundtrack a million times, I realized

I want to do that kind of thing.

552

:

And, uh, it went from there

553

:

Gareth: all the way

through to camp hideout.

554

:

Jason: all the way to Camp Hideout.

555

:

Gareth: That's wonderful, Jason.

556

:

I ask all of my guests to leave

an item and a piece of advice in

557

:

the music room for others to find.

558

:

What advice would you like to

leave in the music room for anyone

559

:

who would like to hear some?

560

:

Jason: I have a couple of things.

561

:

Uh, the first one is just take big risks,

you know, uh, bet on yourself, Get the

562

:

education you want to get if you think

it costs too much, maybe you're worth it.

563

:

You have this one life.

564

:

You really should run towards it.

565

:

My biggest regret every time once I've

achieved something, I was like, I could

566

:

have gotten earlier if I had just taken

more risk, I could have done this.

567

:

You know, it's like coming to Hollywood.

568

:

I was 26 years old.

569

:

I went to USC to do that and I

knew I was going to stay here.

570

:

But even then, like maybe I

could have gotten here earlier.

571

:

I could have done more Even with what

I'm doing now, like I'm getting to

572

:

talk to you and doing interviews.

573

:

Maybe I should have hired a PR, you

know, Impact 24 has been amazing.

574

:

I should have probably

called them 20 years ago.

575

:

Uh, over and over again, I've had this

experience of like, Uh, this is great that

576

:

I've succeeded, but I, I arrived with a

certain amount of fear, and I, I probably

577

:

should have just leaned in more with that.

578

:

So that's one piece of advice.

579

:

The other one, uh, when I was at USC,

Christopher Young, great teacher,

580

:

great composer, uh, he said something

amazing that's stuck with me since then.

581

:

He said, Hollywood is the land of dreams,

but it's also the land of broken dreams.

582

:

Uh, there are some people that do

want to see you succeed, but many

583

:

others, uh, only go so far, and they

don't want to see you succeed, and

584

:

you kind of have to be wary of that.

585

:

Uh, that's, it's a weird problem,

you know, because you think, oh,

586

:

everyone's rooting for me to succeed.

587

:

Not so much.

588

:

Uh, there are some people that only

went so far and then they get bitter.

589

:

You know, you see that with family

members, you know, they kind of hold

590

:

you back and go, you're not good.

591

:

I've known you since then.

592

:

This is what you're capable of.

593

:

Don't do that.

594

:

Don't believe them.

595

:

You write your own story.

596

:

Go as far as you possibly can.

597

:

Bet big on yourself.

598

:

And be wary of the people, you know.

599

:

there are some people that are rooting for

you and they are dreamers and they want

600

:

to do this and then there are those that

they're only meant to go so far they're

601

:

going to plateau and so that's kind of

my advice is just that big on yourself

602

:

uh stay away from the negativity you know

take breaks channel what you did in your

603

:

childhood what did you why are you here

why are you doing this are you doing it

604

:

because you love something that's what's

going to drive you over and over again

605

:

and uh you know that that's ultimately it

606

:

Gareth: Yeah.

607

:

I love that.

608

:

I love the run towards it,

you know, just go full on.

609

:

And I liked, uh, earlier on, you

said ABC, uh, always be curious.

610

:

I think that's, that's a

great bit of advice as well.

611

:

That's going in the music room for you.

612

:

And how do you have an item that

you'd like to leave for others?

613

:

Jason: for me, I would have to say, I

mean, in time, if I went back, part of

614

:

what nurtured me in every Anytime you get

trying to navigate being a teenager and

615

:

going through all that, I had a cassette

Walkman, one of those Sony's, uh, you

616

:

know, and I had a headset on all the

time throughout high school, then into

617

:

college, and just the constant listening

to music and listening and just any device

618

:

that delivers music to my head is huge,

uh, because I'm always listening to it.

619

:

And if I'm, you know, cooking

food for the kids, guess what?

620

:

I'm going to listen to music.

621

:

I'm running an errand.

622

:

I'm gonna listen to some music.

623

:

So I'd say, you know, a pair of headphones

with, now it's an iPhone, which is great

624

:

because I can fit thousands of CDs on it.

625

:

I mean, if you drove in the car with me

in the, you know, early two thousands

626

:

and you'd be like, it's messy in here.

627

:

I'm like, yeah, just don't put your

feet on all my CDs because you never

628

:

know what you wanna listen to back then.

629

:

Now it doesn't matter.

630

:

But that's definitely, that was a

game changer for me just having,

631

:

you know, an iPod and now iTunes in

general and just being able to channel.

632

:

Anything.

633

:

So any mood.

634

:

So if I'm in the mood for Sinatra,

and I just want to get that in my head

635

:

space, or if I'm wanting to hear some

Thomas Newman or, you know, Pantera

636

:

or Stravinsky, whatever it is, uh,

637

:

Gareth: It's a whole,

638

:

Jason: probably my favorite thing.

639

:

Gareth: it's a whole music education

in your ears, isn't it really?

640

:

Jason: is, you know, all the answers

are in those recordings every time.

641

:

And, uh, And there's still, you know,

you listen to it today, but next

642

:

year it's going to sound different

and it's going to be more important.

643

:

As we age, we, we grow with certain

recordings and, uh, I'm so thankful

644

:

for, you know, having, you know, again,

being born when we were born to hearing

645

:

all this music from the 70s, 80s and

90s as it happened, you know, in time.

646

:

Because now when you look back, you're

like, how do you listen to Jimi Hendrix?

647

:

And you have to advise them,

uh, in the order it came, you

648

:

know, how do you watch Star Wars?

649

:

Please watch it in the order it came.

650

:

Don't go rogue and play these

things out of, you know,

651

:

Gareth: Controversial.

652

:

Jason: right.

653

:

It's, it is controversial, but

you know, the way it was delivered

654

:

to us, please hear it that way.

655

:

I don't hear a greatest hits.

656

:

I don't believe in greatest hits

recordings of any kind, you know, go back

657

:

to the, you know, if you want to hear the

Beatles start in order, you know, if you

658

:

can, because, and that's ultimately it.

659

:

So, you know, iTunes, iPod headphones go,

660

:

Gareth: But what, what worked for you was,

did you say the Sony cassette Walkman?

661

:

Jason: At that time, yeah,

662

:

Gareth: Yeah.

663

:

Yeah.

664

:

With it, with the foam ear phones.

665

:

Jason: yeah, I used to have a paper

route, and so I would have to go

666

:

through sprinklers, you know, and

all sorts of terrain on a bicycle,

667

:

uh, while throwing newspapers.

668

:

Back in the day, that's

how you got the news.

669

:

It was on paper, and we would deliver it.

670

:

And so I had a cassette,

and it was waterproof.

671

:

So it was there, you know, this

big, bright, yellow, waterproof Sony

672

:

Walkman, uh, with these big, bright,

yellow, uh, you know, thin headphones.

673

:

And, you know, every day for an

hour and a half, I'm delivering

674

:

newspapers, listening to various things,

whether, you know, be Van Halen or

675

:

be Beethoven, whatever it was, it was

keeping me moving and I still do that.

676

:

I have not outgrown this process.

677

:

Gareth: Well, that's fantastic.

678

:

And if that worked for you, then the

big yellow Sony waterproof Walkman

679

:

goes into the music room because it

would clearly, uh, help someone else

680

:

and probably, nurtured your love of the

album rather than just picking random

681

:

Jason: Absolutely.

682

:

Yeah.

683

:

Gareth: reason to put that in.

684

:

Jason: Yeah.

685

:

It's funny because, uh, all the

albums I listened to back then,

686

:

I'll listen to it in order of

this track listing that they had.

687

:

I don't do that now.

688

:

Now I'll get a recording.

689

:

I'm like, uh, let's, I actually

arrange things by tempo.

690

:

I like things faster and

then it goes slower because

691

:

whatever it is, I'm high energy.

692

:

I'm like, it's a go, you

know, it, you know, like Ennio

693

:

Morricone, he's very interesting.

694

:

Some of the most beautiful music he's

written, but those are slower tempos.

695

:

John Barry's like that, like dances

with wolves and very slow, slow tempo.

696

:

And, you know, those are the ones

I'll still listen to in order

697

:

because it's programmed certain way.

698

:

But, uh, you know, if it's a recent

rock album and it doesn't matter, um,

699

:

and I feel bad about that, but if I'm

listening to Metallica's Master of

700

:

Puppets, oh, it'll be Battery, you

know, and then Master of Puppets and

701

:

straight on through all those songs.

702

:

So

703

:

Gareth: That is going into the

music room along with your advice.

704

:

it has been a joy

chatting with you, Jason.

705

:

Uh, lovely to meet you.

706

:

Thanks for joining me in the music room.

707

:

Jason: you too.

708

:

Thank you for having me.

709

:

It's an honor to meet you and I

look forward to hearing your music.

710

:

Gareth: Thanks for listening to

the Music Room podcast today.

711

:

If you'd like to know more about the

show or the community that surrounds

712

:

it, head to music room.community.

713

:

The link is in the show notes.

About the Podcast

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The Music Room
Personal stories of inspiration from professional composers, songwriters and musicians.

About your host

Profile picture for Gareth Davies

Gareth Davies

Audio creator of music, podcasts, tales and rhymes. Toad & Friends (Warner Bros. Discovery) arriving in 2023.

Gareth is also the creator of The Music Room community, podcast and newsletter.

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Danny Brown $5
Saw your excellent post on Facebook, and happy to become a supporter!
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Anonymous £1
Thanks for making this podcast! I appreciate all the advice and useful items that guests leave, it’s helped me think about how I go about things.