Originally from the Netherlands, Lodewijk Vos’ approach to music making is very much his own. One half of the scoring duo Menalon (with Joseph Murray), the Canadian Film Center grad has worked on TV shows such as Diggstown on CBC, documentaries including HBO’s The Slow Hustle and Mr. Tachyon for VICE TV, and films like Level 16 and The Void. We talk about the wild new instrument/effects box he’s building, his roots playing rock in the Netherlands (but being more interested in the effects pedals than the guitar), starting as an in-house composer for MTV, his move to Toronto and the differences between European and Canadian mindsets, the power of working away from a computer screen, his world-traveling, site-specific modular synth explorations, committing completely but then throwing out film scoring concepts and hours of work, the power of documentaries, dealing with anxiety and fear, rejecting hustle culture, his meditation practice, and sound as healing.
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Lora Bidner - Folkloric
1:07:14Ottawa born Lora Bidner combines her background as a singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist as well as affinity for folklore in her music for the screen, which includes the BBC/Family Channel series Malory Towers, mini series Hogtown, feature thriller Don’t Click, and Family Channel series Ruby and the Well, which she co-composes with Rob Carli. The four-time SOCAN Foundation winner completed a Bachelors of Music from Carlton and a Masters of Music Technology from the University of Toronto, and is an artist in her own right, who released the critically acclaimed To The North in 2015 and is currently working on a new album.We talk about how she got her start singing and writing songs, the surprising film score touchstone that we both share as a favorite, the demanding high school program that got her started writing music early, and the winding educational journey where she overcame tremendous obstacles toward a career as a singer-songwriter. In the end, she returned to her first passion - scoring for film and TV. Since then, Lora graduated from the Canadian Film Center’s Slaight Family Music Lab, where her formidable work ethic helped her meet the intense challenges of that program, preparing her for the real life pressures of being a screen composer. We talk about the joys and struggles of her recent projects, how she manages the interpersonal aspect, and how folk music and her voice become part of her scores. Lora’s new challenge is as a new parent, where she juggles the demands of motherhood with a busy scoring career. She offers valuable perspective for anyone who is thinking about, or living, in that tricky balance.www.lorabidner.com
Lodewijk Vos - Color and Grit
1:13:41Originally from the Netherlands, Lodewijk Vos’ approach to music making is very much his own. One half of the scoring duo Menalon (with Joseph Murray), the Canadian Film Center grad has worked on TV shows such as Diggstown on CBC, documentaries including HBO’s The Slow Hustle and Mr. Tachyon for VICE TV, and films like Level 16 and The Void. We talk about the wild new instrument/effects box he’s building, his roots playing rock in the Netherlands (but being more interested in the effects pedals than the guitar), starting as an in-house composer for MTV, his move to Toronto and the differences between European and Canadian mindsets, the power of working away from a computer screen, his world-traveling, site-specific modular synth explorations, committing completely but then throwing out film scoring concepts and hours of work, the power of documentaries, dealing with anxiety and fear, rejecting hustle culture, his meditation practice, and sound as healing.www.lovosmusic.com
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Neil Parfitt - An Animated Life
1:29:41Neil Parfitt’s wonderfully diverse career sees him working at the highest levels as a composer for animated series, as well as designing custom synth sounds for some of the biggest blockbusters on the planet. He started out as a kid who was equally fascinated by how music was produced as he was with the technology that was used in the process. Neil began his scoring journey in anime, with titles like Bakugan Battle Brawlers, and Beyblade. This multiple Canadian Screen Award nominee is now known for his music on series such as Ranger Rob, The Remarkable Mr. King, and Bravest Warriors, where he writes everything from Golden Age orchestral film music, to 80’s cheese, to chiptunes. We talk about his early days figuring out how things worked by dismantling them, getting his start in Toronto as a dialogue editor, and how dogged persistence led to his entry into animation with Nelvana, working with Japanese creators on anime shows and adapting to musical cultural differences, a terrifying surprise meeting while he was on vacation, the joys and challenges of working on animated series, where you have to “turn on a dime [and produce] a million different cues”, becoming an accidental Youtuber, and being terrible at self-promotion.Heads up - this episode does contain a bit more strong language than usual.www.neilparfitt.com
Carly Paradis - Nothing is Something
57:26Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Carly Paradis has made a name for herself as a first call screen composer, scoring huge TV hits such as the BAFTA nominated Line of Duty, Sick Note, and Netflix’s The Innocents. After a stint in Toronto’s burgeoning indie rock scene in the mid-2000’s, a cold email to Clint Mansell on Myspace turned into an opportunity to work with the famed composer on his score for Moon, and to tour in his ensemble. This led her to making London, UK her home base, and from there she has built an enviable career writing for top shelf film, TV, and trailer projects. She also finds time to write and produce her own albums, including her latest, Nothing is Something, and most recently, to land the job as the touring keyboard player for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in Summer 2022. We chat about her minimalist studio approach, surviving the pandemic, her art school and songwriter roots, working with the London Contemporary Orchestra, her work on the massive British hit and cultural touchstone that is Line of Duty, how she funds and creates her ambitious albums, using unsung, imagined lyrics to guide her scoring, and much more.www.carlyparadis.com@carlyparadis
Jeff Young - Leverage
1:22:26In this episode, we’re going to change things up a bit. My guest is a composer, musician, and engineer, but his primary vocation is as an entertainment lawyer with a specialty in IP and copyright. This is your hour of pro-bono legal advice, and a masterclass drawing back the curtain on some of the things most creative types fear and neglect: contracts, negotiation, and making sure the business of your art is well taken care of.Like many kids of Chinese-Canadian immigrants, Jeff Young was urged to go into a pragmatic field of study. While he did follow his musical passions, he also studied business and law, and was called to the bar at the early age of 23. He also worked in various capacities on projects for Warner, Universal, CBC, and most notably, engineered mixes for some of Vivendi Universal's most successful video games: The Hulk, Dark Angel, and The Simpsons Hit and Run. The tough life of 20 hour days left little time for much else, and so he turned to entertainment law as a means to support his family and lead a more balanced life. A member of the Law Society of British Columbia and the State Bar of California, he has represented Grammy winning artists and negotiated with the likes of Virgin, BMG, Disney, Sony and Warner/Chappel. While Jeff spends the bulk of his time as a legal professional, he now balances it with a growing scoring career, which has seen him recently completing 3 feature length films.In this chat, Jeff reveals the specific language and approaches he uses to respond to some common “problem” clauses found in composer contracts, red flags and other things to watch for, dealing with fear and anxiety around conflict, and the concept of leverage in negotiations, including the biggest lever of power a creative person can have. Jeff dispels some myths and notes that getting a professional to help you avoid serious missteps can be less costly than you might think. His unique perspective as a musician and lawyer, and his passion and energy make for an engaging and informative conversation, perfect for anyone wanting to get a better understanding of this part of our business.
Jonathan Kawchuk - Everywhen
1:26:32Alberta-born Jonathan Kawchuk is interested in where and how we live as a means to give his music context. He completed a Bachelors of Music at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, worked with Nico Muhly, Ben Frost, and the Philip Glass Ensemble, as well as studying wildlife field recording with Chris Watson. The environment, the sounds that arise from it, and how his own music interacts with the environment are themes that permeate his music over the course of several albums. The most recent, Everywhen, takes his ideas to the most extreme, allowing for only 3 sound sources - the human voice, sine tones, and the sound of the Kananaskis Rockies. The resulting work, which required pre-market software to fully realize, was mixed for Dolby Atmos and uses no compression, EQ, or reverb. In his film work, which includes NFB feature Memento Mori and the indie hit Clara, he is equally daring. We chat about the incredible (and unintended) technical complexity of creating Everywhen, his interest in environmentalism, athleticism, exhaustion, and fear in his music, his recent score for Niobe Thompson’s documentary, Carbon: The Unauthorized Biography, and the bridge he navigates between being a recording artist and screen composer.http://jonathankawchuk.com/@jonathankawchuk
Rob Duncan - Give Them What They Need
1:16:16At the tender age of 11, Rob Duncan dismantled a piano in his experimental music class. This must have been a spark for him, as he is now known for recording scores on decommissioned nuclear submarines, finding his next instrument in a junkyard, or being asked by a producer to write a theme using a toilet. Though he was equally interested in computer animation, he ended up pursuing music at York University, and worked writing jingles before making the jump to Los Angeles, where he landed his first breakout gig: writing the score for the final season of the cult-hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since then, he has firmly established himself as a go-to TV composer, and has written hours of music for shows such as Castle, Timeless, and S.W.A.T., garnering 4 Emmy nominations along the way. We chat about the importance of mentors, the responsibility a composer has for the emotion of every chord, the incredible lengths one sometimes has to go to to nail a show’s theme, trying to achieve work-life balance, the beauty of imperfection in sampling, and how he has managed through some of his biggest career ups and downs.@robertduncanmx
Ari Posner - The Unmasterable Language
1:29:08At first, Winnipeg-born Ari Posner set out to build a career as a songwriter. After discovering that perhaps his abilities as a lyricist did not match his musical gifts, he moved into the fast-paced world of ads, which gave him the training to work in myriad styles and deliver on a deadline. Now, he is one of Canada’s most respected and prolific screen composers. In collaboration with Amin Bhatia, he has scored award winning hit shows such as Anne with an E, Flashpoint, and X Company, and with Ian Lefeuvre shows including Carter, Johnny Test, and Supernoobs. In this episode, we talk about his stirring solo work on Northern Rescue, and get philosophical about the long-term effects that the pandemic has had on his working life, the upsides of having a studio in a commercial space, working remotely, and ask: “is the spotting session dead?” We also dig into his methods for capturing and re-purposing ideas, using the “mirror test”, the amount of emotional information a scene can have and how music fits into that, dealing with client feedback, when collaboration goes wrong, plus an incredible insight about screen music from Canadian acting icon Colm Feore.www.arimusic.com
Cristobal Tapia de Veer - The Uncensored Artist
1:06:46Cristobal Tapia De Veer is a maverick whose consistently unique approach to scoring has finally, and deservedly, thrust him into the spotlight. His family fled the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile shortly after his birth, and while they returned for a time, they eventually made a new home in Quebec, where Cristobal still lives and works. While the folk music of Chile was “always in the background”, he was more into Michael Jackson and “more extreme” forms of metal. But the rhythms and instruments of his birthplace still find their way into his music, contributing to the rich tapestry of his sound. Before getting into scoring, he completed a Masters of Music as a percussionist, and even had a small dance music hit called Supersex with a group called OneTon. In 2006, he self-produced a bedroom recorded album called “The Spider in Charlie’s Box” which was intended to introduce him to producers as a “true individual unwilling to follow the rules”. This caught the attention of showrunner Marc Munden, who hired Cristobal to score the period drama The Crimson Petal and the White. This led to Utopia which was a breakout for De Veer, who was noted for his novel scoring. More shows would follow, including Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Humans, and Black Mirror. It feels as if he’s been consistently working on a musical thesis, which has culminated in his much lauded score for The White Lotus. We chat about his early days, his instinctive approach to music making, his punk attitude and feeling that music should be noticed like another character on the screen, and strange time spent working with Kanye West that ultimately provided the materials for his groundbreaking sound for The White Lotus. @CristobalMusic@FreeRunArtists