Artist Spotlight (Sept. - Present)


By Jan Hoeglund

John Apashe is a Montreal-based electronic music producer from Brussels, known for aggressive dubstep, neurofunk, electro and trap. He's signed to Kannibalen Records and widely in the bass music world for his sophisticated sound and dynamic live performances. Our own Jan Hoeglund recently spoke with him about his sound, his direction and thoughts on the current state of electronic music production.

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John, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself, your educational and music background?

Hey, thanks for the interview. I love your products! My musical background started very early with a really musical dad and a creative mom, they have always pushed my sisters and I into music, playing instruments, learning music theory etc.

At the end of high school I was facing the damn 'What am I going to do with my life?' question. I wanted to go for some engineer studies but looking at the only skills I had, I thought it would be easier to just go for sound or music studies. That's when I left Belgium to study electro-acoustics in Montreal. While studying here, I had the opportunity to start an internship at the Apollo Studios. After three months they hired me and I worked for 2 years with them, mainly as a Sound Designer and music writer.

So you moved from Belgium to Canada to study. Do you think moving to a different country has influenced your style of writing?

Difficult to say, I would say yes, because I write music very differently than I used to. However I might have faced the same changes in Belgium too. I think working the Apollo Studios influenced my style of writing more than anything else. I learned to work fast and efficiently while I used to be more of a slow producer.

You have a very unique voice within the world of electronic music. I can hear trap, I can hear percussion, brass, etc. I got a little bit of a Gustave Rudman (Producer of Woodkid) vibe from it, but what do you yourself call this style?

The best way to describe it is to say 'Hybrid' even though many people can't relate to that term because it's not specific. It's exactly what I try to make, music that is not anything specific but rather everything that I like, combined.

As for electronic music I know that your influences range from Prodigy to Fat Boy Slim to Noisia but you are very obviously also influenced by film and trailer style music. How do you combine and balance those epic elements with electronic music and which composers influenced you?

I love orchestral music too, from the old classics to more contemporary classical music. I believe Classical music is the best to make people feel something or dream in a cinematic way. Electronic dance music is often dead inside, its composed to make people dance. I combine both genres in order to give a cinematic and dance feeling at the same time.

Danny Elfman (composer for most Tim Burton's film) is a good example of someone that inspire me. He can make pretty much anything while keeping his signature sound. From the Theme soundtrack of The Simpsons to the most dark and epic Batman movie soundtrack. Other big composers that influenced me in that field would be: Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore and John William.

Percussion samples seem to play a big role in your music, how did that come about? Is part of it because you took drumming lessons growing up?

I like mixing and layering multiple kinds of percussion samples. Mixing the powerful 808's drums with more acoustic percussions. 808's sound big and acoustic percussion instruments have the texture and soul that electronics won't give you. A good example are Taiko drums, those big Japanese drums, that Woodkid often uses. It makes it sound epic and deep directly.

What's your take on the current film/game/trailer music scene? What changes have you observed as an eletronic musician?

I can definitely hear big changes in the mid range production of that music scene. For example productions that couldn't afford big recordings sessions with an orchestra. This was often the case in the video game industry. They use to copy orchestrations with samplers and synths but it always sounded cheap. Now technology allows us to use more complicated samplers that copy the sound and also the organic elements of an orchestral. If you're good you can pretty much compose with a computer and make it sound real.

Will we hear some Apashe film/game music in the future? Is that an avenue that you would like to pursue?

I would definitely love to be more involved with these kind of compositions in the future. Unfortunately I don't have the time at the moment to write exclusively for that. However I can continue making tracks and license them for that industry.

What's next for Apashe? What are your plans for 2015?

I have a new EP, very asian influenced, with a music video shot in Thailand. And for the next month a world tour. For the rest I will keep making a lot of music, focusing even more on the cinematic aspect of it.


Want to learn more about Apashe?


By Jan Hoeglund

One of the most frequently asked questions that we get asked from our clients is "How do you get into the trailer industry?". Since we have already interviewed a few successful trailer composers, we thought it would be wonderful to also take a look at the industry from the other side of the fence. Enter Jake Versluis of Position Music.

Position Music is one of the premier addresses in the trailer music world, thanks to the impressive roster of composers that call Position Music their home: Jo Blankenburg, Jack Trammell, Danny Cocke, Varien, Tom Player, James Dooley and many others. Jake handles A&R for the trailer music power house and also manages his own acts at his management company Verse Management Corp. His clients include Danny Cocke (composer), who we just recently had the pleasure of interviewing.


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your background and how did you end up in the trailer music industry?

The short story is that I attended the University of Florida and I was part of the college representative program for Atlantic Records while in school. I moved out to Los Angeles after I graduated and I’ve been out here ever since. I worked on the artist management side for many years working with REN management managing the band Incubus. I also started developing and managing a young composer named Danny Cocke. We started having a lot of success with his music in the trailer world and that led to me working for Position Music as a Creative Director. Position Music is a music publisher that signs deals with artists and composers and then focuses on getting the music in TV, video games, trailers, film and advertising.


How has the world of trailer music changed over the past ten years?

It’s changed in a few ways. There are more companies and composers doing it now than there were 5 or 10 years ago. Couple that with the fact the technology for writing and recording has gotten better and cheaper and it’s no surprise that the trailer space has become competitive and perhaps even a bit crowded.

The style of music used in trailers continues to evolve. It’s not the same now as it was 10 years ago. All you have to do is go watch a trailer from Spiderman (Toby Maguire) and compare that to a current trailer like “Insurgent” to hear the difference.

Another way it’s changed is that 10 years ago you needed to record live orchestra for your music to be considered premium trailer music. In 2015 the samples are so good that often times it’s hard for the average movie watcher to tell the difference between live and synthetic strings and brass. For this reason you could say the barriers to entry, and specifically the cost to enter the trailer music world, has come down significantly.


Has the traditional three act structure of trailer music changed at all? If so, how?

I think certain editors and studios will always feel safest with the traditional three act structure, so there will always be demand for it. But the most important trailers, the ones that really grab your attention in a way you’re not used to, are the ones that use music really creatively. I would say that if you’re a composer that fully understands how the three act structure works for trailers then step out of your comfort zone and try creating something out of left field. The really smart editors will understand what you’re doing and it will set you apart from everyone else.


What type of trailer music gets more commonly placed? Epic vs dark electronic vs sound design vs ... ?

This is subject to change based on what is currently hot in the marketplace. Here’s an example: the movie studios have announced the release dates for their superhero movies through the year 2020. There will be over 20 superhero movies during the next five years. To me that says that there will be demand for dark superhero type cues.


How did you experience the change in trailer music after the Inception trailer was released (Braaam)?

Much like the pop music world, that sound and aesthetic became a trend and the movie studios were asking for music like that for a few years after the Inception trailer. Then, as always happens, the studios burned the sound out and the industry had to move on to something else. But the Inception trailer will always be a moment in time, and it may have been one of the first trailers that really ignited the public’s consciousness about trailer music and about how important and cool it is.


Do you consider orchestral music when it is not recorded with a real live orchestra but with samples? Does that type of full orchestral music get placed often these days?

We do consider music without real orchestra. Real orchestra is the steak sauce to the steak. If you’re a really talented composer and you can write excellent music, then your music will find a home with or without real orchestra (as long as you understand how to use the right samples well). On the other hand, if you haven’t put in your time writing and really learning your craft but you go record your compositions with live orchestra it won’t matter. Real orchestra itself doesn’t make the cue. If you have a really well written cue and THEN you go record with live orchestra, then man WATCH OUT because the industry won’t be able to get enough of that music!


What is the most commonly requested style of music these days for licensing? Do you get requests for tracks that sound like a very particular artist/song/score/etc.? If so, which one?

You know, we compile a list every quarter of the most requested songs and styles of music. And of course that list changes every quarter. It’s not rocket science - spend time with the Billboard top 200 and “emerging artists” chart and you’ll see what the studios want as well. If an artist is really talented and ALREADY creating music like the artists on that list then that music will likely be sought after. But I would advise an artist NOT to go create music that is derivative of the top 200, trying to copy a sound in hopes that they get their music licensed.


What are your thoughts on the "Loudness" trend and that drums/hits need to be loud and very much in your face?

Fundamentally, I don’t have a problem with drums and hits being in your face if that actually helps sell movies and video games. But I do have a problem with the fact that in the last two years I’ve needed to bring earplugs to the movie theater because the trailers and in some cases the movies are just too dang loud. The thing about hearing loss is that in many cases you don’t know your hearing has been adversely affected until a few years after the damaging incident(s) have already happened.


Should a composer focus on a very particular style or have a really wide repertoire of styles?

Focus on your particular style. If a composer tells me he/she can do a lot of styles really well I usually lose interest quickly. I’ve watched composers for years and I’m aware of what it takes to be great at what you do. If there are two composers, composer A and composer B, and composer A came up through the industry learning great songwriting and production from big time artists like Nine Inch Nails and Linkin Park while composer B came up through the USC music school ranks going the traditional route than those two composers are going to have very different approaches to composing. OWN your style and be the best you can be at it.


Are there particular trends that you see within the trailer music worlds (more sfx, heavy guitars, etc.)?

Right now the trend is less guitar and choirs singing in Latin (like in the early 2000’s) and is more sound design and SFX driven.


What would you say is the ideal number of spaces to leave in a track for the editors (4, 5 or even more)?

This is going to vary based on the type of music the composer writes. I’m actually hesitant to say there is a formula. Yes for the right type of cues it helps to have spaces in cues but if it feels forced then editors will pick up on that. I’d much rather hear a non-traditionally written cue than a cue where the composer sits down and the first thing he/she thinks is “Okay… I need to have three sections, with X amount of spaces, Y amount of rises and then when that’s done I’ll write another cue like that.”


Would you say it is better to focus on sound effects or on melody these days?

Melody. Always melody. Lots and lots of people can do sound effects, but if you can master how to write a compelling melody then you will be in a select group of composers.


How much do song titles and album art actually count?

The right song titles do in fact make a difference. It’s probably a psychological thing for the editors. Album art can count, but now that we’ve moved away from CDs and CD artwork and into digital distribution I’d say it counts for less than it used to. Having said that, we pride ourselves on our artwork at Position Music. I guess it’s because if you’re a creative person than you just naturally care about how all of your art is presented to the public whether that be music, song titles or artwork.


What is the sweet spot in song length (2-2:30min)? What is the sweet spot in album length?

Yeah you nailed it with the 2-2:30 time range. Just make sure it’s long enough to cover a whole trailer from beginning to end. If the song is longer than 2:30 that that’s okay too. Album length I’d go about ten songs.


How relevant is the hybrid orchestral sound still?

It’s still relevant. Less so than perhaps during 2010/2011, but knowing how to cross excellent melody with fantastic samples will always be needed. It’s still the case that there aren’t a ton of composers who can do both really well. Often times we have to have composers collaborate on a cue because one will be great with samples and production and another composer will be fantastic with melodies and live orchestra.


Could you list 5-10 Position Music tracks/youtube videos of recent tracks that you think are representative of the 2015 trailer music sound?

Jupiter Ascending


The Hobbit

Dragon Age Inquisition

Halo Nightfall


If you could give an up and coming trailer music composer advice, what would you tell them?

Do your homework. Before you worry about the best samples out there and needing to record with live strings, sit down and study WHY the great contemporary composers are so great and why their music is in high demand. And Youtube is your best friend. Use it to learn how to program properly, how to mix well, what samples to use and more.

Barriers to entry to the trailer music world are lower than they’ve ever been before, which is good. But that also means there’s more competition than there has ever been before. How are your cues going to stand out?


Want to learn more about Jake Versluis?



By Jan Hoeglund

If you are a fan of epic trailer-style music you have without a doubt heard of Spanish composer-extraordinaire Ivan Torrent. The young producer has been a major force in the world of trailer music over the past couple of years as a composer for production music companies and sample libraries.

Thank you so much for taking the time Ivan. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Thank you guys, it's my pleasure! Well, I am a composer and producer based in Spain, I am 36 years old, and I began my romance with music when I was 6 years old. That’s when my parents bought me a little keyboard. I’m not sure if they knew how much headaches this would give them along the years, but my interest was growing and I studied some music theory till I was teen. I was playing with keyboards and doing my audio mixes with cassettes, know...haha crazy times!

When I was in high school one of my best friends introduced me to the world of Midi, and that was like a catalyst. The opportunity to write music within a computer changed the game for me since my keyboards were extremely limited. It was fantastic and we started to work with recording software Cubase when it first came out and a Roland keyboard as controller.

We began to write some electronic stuff (Oh how bad it was, lol!) and bit by bit we learned all the steps that are in the production process. There was no internet as there is today, so it was an interesting process of try and error as we were completely self-taught.


What was your first job in the music industry? When did your career make the turn towards full-time composer?

I was around 16-17 when I got my first job. I was really young but, and even though I was still learning, I had the chance to release my music under some labels in my country, mixed by some established producers.

My skills were slowly growing, and I began to work on a local radio station, doing jingles, tunes for the radio formula...etc.

This resulted in a humble production company that I formed with a handful of people, and with time and a lot of effort we achieved some good projects. We did some projects with artists in our country which in return allowed us to work as full time composers.


Of all the projects you got to work on, which one was your favorite?

I feel good about some of my older works I did for other artists, where I worked as a producer or composer. But I would say that these past few years have been more exciting and interesting to me, since I'm doing more and more what I really love which is to mix epic and instrumental music with electronic stuff. As many other composers, I come from the world of EDM. I’ve always tried to add orchestral arrangements into my electronic tracks.

It seemed risky or weird to some people, but there were pioneer artists that were working that way and to me those sounds and those productions were terrific! And I wanted to reach that level in some way myself.

My last tracks "Architects of Life" and "One of Us" are maybe the tracks that show that I feel more comfortable now mixing these styles together, since I think they express the essence of what I was looking for: Blending the orchestra with vocal elements and aggressive electronic elements, but all of them living together in harmony within the composition itself..


How do you experience the world of trailer music? It is a fast growing industry and technology is allowing more and more composers to create realistic mockups and cues, how do you feel about it?

Years ago when the first trailer of LOTR was released, I was blown away by “Gothic Power from Christopher Field, the track that surrounded those epic images that mesmerized all of us. At the same time, it was frustrating not to find the track on the official soundtrack. I had never realized that the music in the trailers was not from the soundtrack, but this introduced me to a whole new concept that was totally unknown to me.

I think that current sample libraries and the power of modern computers to which we have access nowadays, allow us to create more realistic orchestral tracks. It's a fact that has changed the rules of this current hybrid music trend and it has opened the door to new composers from other styles to build a large catalog of tracks that can be used in trailers. All of that makes this style of music really visible to the audience and less niche. Of course, this creates more competition but as in every business, competition is what pushes us to provide our best and foster the evolution of the genre.


You often work with vocalists on your tracks. Do you have a method of choosing them? Or do you usually already have someone specific in mind that you in other words compose for when you are working on a new cue?

The voice is a really important element in my tracks and I have very specific tastes in vocal colors and textures. Honestly, I am extremely picky about this. I tend to research on Soundcloud and other social network profiles and, depending on the the color, air, pitch and texture of the voice, I contact the vocalists. When they are interested, I then I send a mockup with the melody lines sung by me as blueprint for the recording.

The process it's quite simple, but it's important to me that every artist feels comfortable with me and also that he/she has the ability to express emotions and by doing so add their own character to the composition. By doing all this, the listener has a much better experience and a deeper connection with the track and that's what it is all about.


What are you currently working on? Is there an Ivan Torrent solo album in the works?

Yes there is. :) I am trying to focus on it and to release it in 2015. Fingers crossed! I began to write sketches in 2012 but it’s been difficult to find the time to work on it lately. But I have decided to refocus on it and put all my efforts and love into making this album.

I am currently also working on something special to me that will be released before the end of the year. A compilation with almost all my tracks, with new mixes, mastering and extended versions of some of them.


Where do you see yourself in five years?

I don't know...I prefer to live the present, with some perspective, but without thinking too much in what's what the future has for me. Life spins a lot, sometimes faster than what you expect. Lately I learnt that is better to live the present intensely, but with pragmatism and patience. This is a distance race...


What does your workstation look like?

It looks like it’s been taken straight out of the Enterprise, lol! Thats what my friends say when they come over to my place. It's a little room, acoustically treated. But in it I have three 22” monitors and an additional 51” screen. The computer has an 8-core processor, 64GB RAM and a good amount of SSD drives. I use a pair of Adam S3X-V speakers, a MOTU audio interface, and a Neuman U87 mic with Avedis and Anamod gear for the recordings.

Although it is not a huge studio. I am really comfortable. It’s my little temple.


How often do you revert to using live instruments in your tracks? Or is most of it sample libraries?

It depends on many things. Mainly on how good the libraries that I am using on the track sound, as well as the overall context and how the elements blend together. It's obvious that live instruments bring an organic essence to the music, which helps a track to grow exponentially. But at times there is no need to break your wallet when the track works great with samples and there is a good production involved. It's a plus, but not always needed I think.

There are albums of other artists that I have worked on, where almost everything was recorded live. Others where it was a 60% or even just 40%. But my goal definitely is to achieve a good balance with live recordings and samples.

For instance, on this new project that I am working on live elements will be crucial.


What is your favorite Soundiron instrument?

Mars and Venus, without a doubt! I use them in a good amount of my trailer tracks and they have a great sound for that epic trailer context. In particular the Slavonic vowels helped me a lot to achieve that realism and energy in some moments. They also have really great playability, something really important to me in my workflow.


How do you feel about music and movies? Unfortunately, there's a lot of movies (AND video games) that just seem to disappear shortly after the release. How do you feel about this subject? For example, a lot of composers respect Alexandre Desplat for not using sfx / electronic elements in his scores as he uses nothing but what the orchestra can offer.

You talk about how timeless can a product be, when the resources that the industry uses to make it more appealing and shocking for the current market, which in turn goes against its longevity and that in 20 years in the future we will see the current music, as the way we see the CGI from 20 years ago, right?

Well, I think it's all about the trends and the generation that embrace those trends. I agree that the more a film is on the classic side in regards to the music, it is more timeless.

The soundtracks from the last four to five decades are a blast. We can go back, and look at some tracks from Williams, Morricone, Goldsmith and Silvestri and they will draw a smile on the faces of many of us. They are emotional, shocking and really touchings. The leitmotifs were maybe more descriptive and captivating than what the industry seems to need today, but at the same time we all know that, unfortunately, they could sound out of place in a current and more modern film. The electronic stuff is way better nowadays than when it began to appear in some movies back in the day.But it is a fact that the balance between electronic and orchestral in those instances were more experimental and reserved. So the blend between both were not so established and evolved as it is today.

Music was really orchestral or really electronic, the blend was not so obvious. Which played against the electronic tracks, making them obsolete over the time. Now that that blend is really tangible, I would say that it's necessary to be competitive. Orchestra and synths work in many many cases as a single entity and personally, I love it!

In every generation, the market feels comfortable with what they have in front of them, simply because it can't go forward to know what the future holds. So we tend to compare what the industry is able to do nowadays, with the old things that we know. For better or worse.

In summary, I think the path is the same...The music trends, the way that movies are done, and the audience, is very very connected. It all evolves in the same direction and probably what we love today, we will hate it tomorrow, or it will seem outdated.


What do you do when you're NOT composing or producing?

Haha, that's pretty difficult. But when I have the chance, I try to go to the movies. It's something that I really love, or maybe I simply try meet with my friends or with my family.


What would you have liked to know before stepping into the world of composing for media?

I think that the music industry, in general terms, is a beautiful but a dangerous jungle. It's not always what it should be. And it's not always fair. I’ve experienced this too many times in my career.

Our romantic and bohemian side tends to blind us and we are more spontaneous in our decisions, but without the necessary cautious. And the right decisions are really important in this business. They can decide a career, for good or bad.

Definitely part of our learning process, but something that I would have loved to know before my start in the music business.


If you were to teach a beginner's class on film scoring, what would you tell those young composers?

As I mentioned before this is an endurance race. So whatever you want to do in this life, do it with conviction. The key is to be patient, work hard and enjoy the process. And all that life has in store for you will come at the right moment.

Want to know more about Ivan? Go here:



By Jan Hoeglund

Being a young composer in Los Angeles (or anywhere for that matter) and hoping to have a career in the studio is tough. As many of the more seasoned professionals in the industry say:

a) Diversify and b) Be Yourself.

Sarah Schachner's work certainly shows that her own sound has matured to the point where it's almost instantly recognizable. Her signature sound includes haunting Violin and Cello licks that have a bit of a folk vibe and sometimes even Western sound to them. But it's not just traditional elements that Sarah uses as part of her main musical arsenal. She is also a big lover of all things Moog which shows in her talent as a synth programmer that shine through in her cues. No surprise then that A list composer Brian Tyler frequently brings her on his projects for additional music. Sarah's credits include Call of Duty MW3, Far Cry 3, Now You See Me, Iron Man 3, Assassin's Creed Black Flag and Assassin's Creed Unity.

Soundiron had the chance to sit down with Sarah to talk music industry, life and the must-have human skeleton replica that should be in every home.

Thank you so much for taking the time Sarah. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

Thanks for speaking with me! I've always played in bands since I can remember. My dad organized a family band with me and my sister when we were very young. We started out playing a mishmash of traditional irish folk/old blues/klezmer/bluegrass type stuff at local festivals and then it evolved over the years into an instrumental classic rock cover band usually resulting in amps being slowly turned up to 11 over the course of the night. My mom would play film scores in the house all the time growing up. My family has definitely played a huge role in my creative background.

After graduating college, what was your first job as a composer? Did you ever have additional jobs on the side or were you able to make it a full time gig from day one?

I moved out to LA right after college and by some freak of nature luck found an assistant position to a TV/trailer composer on craigslist (which shockingly wasn't asking for free slave labor and first born child in exchange for imdb credit). I was a terrible personal assistant but he thankfully saw enough in my musical abilities to keep me on board with more of a music production role and that's how I got my first opportunity to compose for TV. I worked with him for one year and have been freelance composing ever since.

You frequently work with Brian Tyler. How did that come together?

Indeed. I met Brian in 2009 and he gave me the opportunity to do some arrangements and additional music on some of the earlier video games and it just kind of went from there over the next few years whenever he needed help.

You worked on AC Black Flag as part of Tyler's team which led to you writing the score for Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Unity. The game is set within Paris during the French Revolution. Where did you draw your inspiration from for the music?

Writing action music in a classical contrapuntal framework was definitely a unique challenge. The French revolution was an interesting time because it was at the beginning of the classical period but there was still some crossover from the previous baroque era. The missions at Versailles, for instance, reflect more of the overly flourished baroque sound that the aristocracy was reluctant to let go of.

I drew some inspiration from Jordi Savall's viol da gamba playing, particularly on the score to the French film Tous les matins du monde. I love the raw emotional sound of that instrument so I had a bowed dulcimer custom-made which has a very similar sound. The combat music in Unity is a bit more restrained than some of the previous Assassin's Creeds.The music of this era was not overly rough or bombastic, but methodical and calculated. As always with the franchise, the player is periodically reminded of the sci-fi modern Abstergo element with low gritty analog synth pulses weaving in and out of the classical soundscape.

"There's a little too much Moog on this" - said no one ever.

What do you do when you're NOT working?

I'll let you know when I find out. But no, I love seeing electronic artists whenever I can, working on music for my own side projects, reading up on the latest Large Hadron Collider news, stalking dodgy modular synth dealers, drawing dog portraits, painting, sensory deprivation tanks... typical stuff.

What is your process when you're writing something that is a bit more out of your comfort zone?

I will generally take some time to just listen to music that inspires me. That's usually enough to get some ideas going. I never go into anything with the mindset that I have to sound just like something else or fit into any one genre decided by society. I feel most comfortable working in between genres without strict stylistic limitations.

Of all the projects you got to work on, which one was your favorite?

Assassin's Creed Unity and then Black Flag and Far Cry 3. I've really enjoyed working with Ubisoft. I'm also excited about Lazarus (a film project with a totally different vibe) due out January 2015.

Do you prefer scoring movies or video games and what would you like to work on next?

It's a tough question because each one has its own unique rewards and challenges specific to that medium. Scoring a game is completely different than scoring a film or a TV show. I think overall, variety is key. There is something about the interactive nature of games though that is really exciting to me. The future is bright in the gaming industry.

What does your workstation look like?

Controlled chaos. Instruments everywhere, on the floor, spilling into other rooms. My dining room table is currently covered in instruments. Mandolin Stew will be served at 6:30. I run everything through an Apollo quad and into Cubase.

How do you decide how to balance live instruments with sample libraries when you work on a cue?

If you are doing it all yourself, you are pretty limited to what you are able to play. If there is no budget for a live session and it's an orchestral-based score, I will double all string parts with live takes. I also buy instruments all the time that I have no idea how to play. They are still useful for generating interesting sounds even if you aren't a virtuoso. I do rely heavily on samples for percussion and there are some great libraries out there for that. Samples are an incredible and necessary tool, but there's something about the articulations you get from a human playing a real instrument that are impossible to recreate digitally. You can play the same exact melody on the same instrument, but if you're imagining yourself as a pirate while you play, it will come out differently than if you're thinking of yourself as Chuck Norris or something. Maybe by 2064, samples will have "character mindset" options. Also, imperfection is good. It gives music character.

What is your favorite Soundiron instrument?

Emotional Piano! It's incredible. There are so many great patches in the "FX" folder in that library. Also the Rust libraries are really unique and interesting and I have a lot of the original Tonehammer libraries which I still use all the time.

If there was a movie/game/show (past, present and future) you would have liked or would like to score ... which one would it be?

I would love to score a futuristic sci-fi about the technological singularity when computers gain consciousness. Anything along the lines of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moon, Her, or that weird video game that was in the movie Her. That would be cool.

If you were to teach a beginner's class on film scoring, what would you tell those young composers?

Step 1: Treat every project like it's the best thing in the world and deserves your best music (even if it's a commercial about cat litter). Over deliver and outshine the project while still serving its needs. The unfortunate thing about this industry is that it's like a möbius loop erratically spinning around with no visible entry. Every once in a while there's a little opening and someone might be willing to take a risk and give you a chance. Always have plenty of music ready to go that is the best representation of you at that time.

Step 2: Don't underestimate the importance of working well with others. You are ultimately there to bring someone else's vision to life while also staying true to yourself. Be able to handle criticism and don't take rejection too personally. It happens to everyone.

Step 3: Don't forget to eat.

What would you have liked to know before stepping into the world of composing for media?

"Meetings and Conference Calls for Introvert Composers 101" should be mandatory in all film scoring programs because writing music is only half the battle.

Want to know more about Sarah? Go here: