John is an exceptional composer and songwriter with a passion for creating mesmerizing music that transcends genres and mediums. John's exceptional talent and unique compositional style have earned him a reputation as a highly sought-after professional in the industry.
S: What were some of the earliest musical influences that you can remember growing up? What instrument did you grow up playing?
J: My parents were big into classic rock, so I grew up listening to the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, and the like. We also had a baby grand in the house that my parents played. My mom knew how to read music, but my dad could only play a handful of songs he learned by ear. So when I was 8 or 9, he taught me how to play one of the easy songs he knew, "Heart and Soul", and my mom taught me Fur Elise. But piano didn't resonate with me at that young age, and music wasn't anything I ever planned on getting into. Then I heard the electric guitar live for the first time when I was about 13, and that changed everything. After that, I began taking lessons and learned classical guitar, and after a few years of that I eventually moved on to the electric guitar.
S: What led you into making music for media?
J: I played in bands for most of my life, so writing for media never really entered my mind as a career path until my late 20's. My band mates were involved with library and trailer music on the engineering side, so I knew that world existed...it just never excited me the way playing live did. But when the band started slowing down, I decided to take a few courses at UCLA Extension to refresh my memory on music theory and see what other options existed besides writing "epic trailer music". I ended up with an internship at Remote Control Productions, and saw that there were a lot of different options for working in media besides trailer music! So these last few years have been spent working on my production skills, working on short films, and figuring out what style of music excites me to write.
S: How would you describe your style of writing?
J: Coming from a songwriting background, my music tends to be melodic based. The last few years, as I've become more proficient with orchestral writing, I've also become increasingly interested in medieval instruments. I have recently started learning to play the nyckelharpa and the hurdy gurdy, so I've been having a blast developing my style of blending those instruments with the orchestra.
Bright, magical, and slightly contemplative with a sense of whimsy. Harps, strings, and woodwinds create a larger than life atmosphere.
S: What was your intention behind “Sure Promises”?
J: I wanted to create something that felt whimsical and light, with a hint of something darker at its center. I'm a huge fan of adventure games and stories, and a lot of what I write tends to lean in that direction.
S: How did you start creating this song and eventually achieve your vision?
J: Every song is different. Some start with the melody, some start with the chords, and some just start with the sound of an instrument to get the juices flowing. This track started with the harp and grew from there. I tend to be more of a gardener than an architect when it comes to my writing. I usually let the music dictate where it will go, and try to shape it as it grows.
S: What were some of the compositional challenges that you faced?
J: Getting started! As I said, I'm not much of a planner...so starting out is usually the hardest part for me. Once I get a few ideas thrown against the wall and start seeing bits and pieces that could grow into a song, it gets easier.
S: What was your favorite part of the process?
J: When the song begins to take a definitive shape. It's such a joy taking a step back and looking at all the dead ideas scattered across the end of the DAW, and seeing the heart of the thing that was hiding in that mess the whole time.
S: Outside of music, where do you find inspiration in your life?
J: I'm an avid rock climber. I have yet to find anything more inspiring than standing on top of a mountain peak you've just climbed and seeing horizons most people never will. I also recently started to compete in endurance sports (marathons, triathlons, etc...), and find that it helps clear my mind and help focus on the tasks at hand.