Pedro Bromfman

Pedro Bromfman is a powerful don of the composing world, best known for his mastery of gripping and refined Latin-American infused action scores. Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he has carved out a name for himself as the musical visionary behind Netflix's perilous hit series, Narcos, Brazil's biggest franchise of all time, Elite Squad, the 2014 re-make of Robocop, Jordan Ross' menacing Thumper, and many more captivating projects. Pedro's flavorful and brilliantly executed work has garnered him two Gold Medals for Excellence in Film Music at the Park City Film Music Festival, an ASCAP Award, two nominations for Cinema Brazil Grand Prizes, a Hollywood Music in Media Award, an ACIE Award, and a Premio Contigo! De Cinema. In our inspiring discussion, Pedro speaks on his musical metamorphosis in the digital age and the mental toughness it takes to thrive in his field. 

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You are originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Do you come from a musical family or was this path to become a musician traveled by you alone? 

I was born and raised in Brazil. I don’t come from a particularly musical family. My grandmother studied classical piano at a conservatory in Curitiba, but she ended up becoming a doctor. In fact, she was one of the first women doctors in the city she grew up in, which is located in the south of Brazil. She graduated college back in the late 30’s early 40’s.

My mom was very much into music. She always said she wanted to be a singer, but it never really panned out. She came from an incredibly conservative family and never had much freedom to make her own choices. She was only 21 years old when I was born. She was always playing music and singing to us. When I was around 10 years old, she passed away. I asked for a guitar for my birthday the following year. Looking back now, I was influenced by her passion for music and her desire to be a musician. I think it rubbed off on me and definitely influenced my path. 

My dad is a big classical music buff. He listens to a lot of classical music and attends many concerts, but he has absolutely no musical talent or inclination. He has been very supportive of my music since I was a kid. His approval and own interest in music made it much easier for me to pursue it. My brother is a business man. He went to business school and works in a completely different field, but growing up, we were constantly listening to music and he played the drums for bit.

When I was 18, I moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. Afterwards, I moved back to Brazil for a few years, but I’ve been in L.A. for the past 16 years.

How did you end up studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston and then continuing your academic career at UCLA?

By the age of 13, I had quickly developed my guitar playing skills and started working with a new teacher. I really wanted to push myself, so I started getting into jazz and instrumental music. I was fortunate enough to be recommended to one of the best guitar teachers in Rio. This teacher introduced me to Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, and Grant Green. I started listening to Miles Davis and John Coltrane. I became obsessed with jazz. My teenage years were all about jazz. I wanted to be a player and a session musician, living New York and playing music for a living. At the time, that was what I thought I wanted for my life. Primarily, I was focused on jazz guitar, learning and transcribing horn solos on the guitar. I also started studying, harmony and ear training. From when I was about 14 and through my teenage years, I was taking music seriously. By the time I was 15, I would say I already knew I wanted to go to a music institute like Berklee. My dad has always had the mind of a businessman. He said, “If you want to do this, I support you, but do it right”. The idea was to go to a good school and get a bachelor's degree because then you had the option to go on and do something else in the future, if music didn't pan out. We all know it’s hard to become successful in music. 

When I got to Boston, I enrolled in performance at Berklee. My goal was to play, but I slowly started taking some arranging and composition classes. I learned more about traditional harmony, orchestration and counter-point. The compositional aspect really started to reel me in. I became more and more interested in the idea of writing big band arrangements and creating horn charts. I wanted to explore and understand harmony and melody in depth.

After that, I broadened my focus. Becoming a great guitar player and jazz musician was not my only goal anymore. At Berklee, I also explored my roots, playing and studying Brazilian music. Growing up, I listened to a lot of Brazilian music, but living abroad drove me start exploring it and playing it myself. Most people around the world might not know names like Moacir Santos, Hermeto Pascoal, and Guinga. These are truly amazing composers and band leaders from Brazil aside from the well-known greats like Tom Jobim and Joao Gilberto.

My years at Berklee allowed me to focus 100% of my time on music. My experiences opened my mind to new possibilities. I also learned so much from the people I met. I developed so many different interests and was introduced to so much new music, but film music wasn’t even on my radar. Even though I was writing big band arrangements and some light classical orchestra pieces, I never really knew that you could make a living from scoring films. I remember when my dad took me to the movies to see Cinema Paradiso, I was 13 years old. That music stayed with me. Later, I bought the CD and transcribed some of the melodies on guitar. Even though Ennio Morricone primarily composes film music, I still never really put two and two together. I’ve always been passionate about film and obviously, music was the center of my life since I was a little kid.

After finishing my studies at Berklee, I moved back to Brazil. At that time, I was playing in a lot of gigs with a jazz band. I went on tour with some local musicians, supported singers, and then started producing records, mostly instrumental music. I wrote some jingles, but I was mainly focused on my own compositions. After three years being back in Brazil, I started to realize that the instrumental music scene maybe wasn’t for me. This was 18 years ago and I had just met my current wife. She wanted to move to Los Angeles to study film. We decided to move to California and we both enrolled at UCLA. She was studying film and many students needed music for their projects. I was the musician within a group of directors. 

Honestly, knowing what I know now, I think I was made for this role. I played rock’n’roll, I played jazz, I studied classical music, I understand orchestration, I have the ability to write for a lot of different groups and in a lot of different styles. My background was the preparation I needed to be able to score for film and television because each project is an exploration and a film composer should be versatile and eclectic. As a composer, you get to wear a lot of different hats, collaborate with all kinds of musicians, meet very cool people from different areas of music, and constantly experiment, which is what keeps me interested.

Can you name and give us some background information on some of the most influential records and artists that shaped your musical taste from childhood through college?

Miles Davis was very influential. I listened to Kind Of Blue and Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet non-stop, which also featured John Coltrane on tenor sax. The Cinema Paradiso soundtrack was an important record to me as a kid. I listened to a lot of blues and rock’n’roll. I think Jimi Hendrix was my introduction to the heavier guitar sounds when I was 12 years old. I also listened to Weather Report and Chick Corea Electric Band. Those were the artists that made me really interested in fusion and jazz. Native Dancer is another beautiful album by Milton Nascimento featuring Wayne Shorter, which bridged Brazilian music and Jazz in a very original way. Later on, I ended up meeting and spending time with Milton, a Brazilian singer who was very influential to me. He was a huge star in Brazil and one of the few artists who crossed over to play with jazz musicians in the U.S. While I was at Berklee, he released another beautiful album called Angelus, with special guests like Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, and Peter Gabriel.

Hermeto Pascoal is also a Brazilian musician I admire. He plays every instrument. He has the most amazing band of rotating members and is always discovering new talent. He's probably in his seventies now, but he’s made the most sophisticated and crazy music you've ever heard. 

Wes Montgomery's West Coast Blues was a big record in my teenage years. The way Wes played the guitar with his thumb and the sound he got out of the instrument was so warm. He lived a very short life, but the work he did and the talent he had was extraordinary.

What is your creative process like and how has it changed over time? What is your DAW of choice these days? 

For the past 12 years, I’ve primarily worked with Logic. The final sessions are assembled in Pro Tools and then sent to the dub stage. In the early days, I used more Pro Tools since I was primarily dealing with audio recording. 

Now, we all have these endless possibilities of software instruments and audio libraries to work with and, as a film composer, I spend most of out time composing to scenes by creating mockups. We’re able to work with such a wide range of sounds and samples. I also create my own libraries for every new project and have built a large palette of software instruments over the years. It's funny because I have never been a technology guy. I was 22 when I used a computer to create music for the first time. I thought I had to learn it because I didn’t want to have to rent studios to record music. I bought Pro Tools, the Digi 001, and started experimenting with it. 

Before that, my education in music and composing never involved technology at all. Once I moved to the U.S., I started creating a lot of library music and working with a guy who was running the music department of a trailer house. He gave me a lot of feedback, saying “I love your pieces, but the recordings need to sound better”. I started spending time with engineers and other composers to understand different recording methods and sequencing techniques. I took classes to help me use the computer for music production and almost 20 years later, the computer is my main instrument and what I work on every day.

Even though I’m not a tech guy, I like finding new sounds and processing recognizable sounds until you can’t tell what they originally were. I am always experimenting with live instruments, buying rare and exotic instruments that I’ve never played before to find my way of getting brand new sounds out of them.

The possibilities are really never ending. Although, I believe it’s important to follow the advances in music technology, I value the organic side of music more and more. These days, most artist's demos sound really well produced, but in general, pop and film music seem really repetitive. I wonder if technology and creating things in the box are to blame for that. I know there are people out there making great music with organic sounds, but it has become harder and harder to commercialize or find an audience for original and experimental music.

The other day, I spoke at a panel for the Latin Recording Academy. They were discussing how the quality of music, in general, is declining. They asked the question "why aren’t more kids out there consuming and creating great music?" Every year, we see less and less “great music” getting released. Record companies are not investing in artist development or non-commercial music. I’m going off on a bit of a tangent here, but technology has made us a bit lazy. When I was young, I would spend eight hours playing my instrument, four hours transcribing a solo, etc. Now, it's harder and harder to get younger people to focus on one thing. Sometimes, you see them playing video games, while the other television set is on and music is playing in the other room. There is too much stimulation and information. It’s become too hard to quiet down the brain and focus for hours and hours on one track or on recording one instrument and tweaking it to make it sound good.

I have changed over the years too. I used to spend so much time with my main instrument, but now, I prioritize. I am still able to focus. Coming from a different generation, I sit there and say “I will finish this two-three minute scene by 4 o'clock today." I try not to stop to look at social media or get distracted by other stuff. I make a point to concentrate.

Your work on Narcos is incredibly distinctive, incorporating Colombian flavors and instrumentation (traditional flutes, accordion, charango, ronroco) developing them in a crime/action score treatment. How did you begin to piece together the musical identity of the show and how has your score evolved from season to season? 

For the first season, we wanted to use the flavors and the rhythms of Colombia in our score. I brought in percussion players and some of the native instruments to replicate Colombian grooves and sounds. We recorded them and created many software instruments to pull from to score the show. I wanted to use these South American based sounds in a political crime and action context, bringing them into a sort of a “mainstream” score. I wanted to find the nuances and create themes without being stuck in a strictly Colombian sounding world.

In film and television, there’s been less and less thematic material and more emphasis on sound design and ambient music. My work in Narcos was fortunately very thematic, I set out to create a theme for Pablo Escobar and ultimately ended up having three different ones for him. I also had themes for the main D.E.A. agent, Pablo's wife, and many of the more important characters in the show. We really worked to incorporate those traditional instruments but took them out of the expected Colombian style. Sometimes, we’d have a melody with strings and piano, but I’d add a ronroco or charango tremolo in the background just for color. This process allowed us to create something entirely new. For a project like this, it wouldn’t work to have a classic orchestral score, so there was a lot of experimentation. 

100% of what you hear in the first two seasons was played on acoustic instruments. I would take these isolated sounds and process them, adding very long reverbs to create ambiences, but ultimately, everything had an organic source. I love playing with synthesizers, but for a show that takes place in the 80's in South America, we needed it to sound more natural and instinctively Colombian. In season two, we made everything bigger and darker. I composed more intense cues with strings, a lot of aggressive percussion, and driving rhythms. Since Pablo was still around, we still used some of the themes that we created for the first season. In season three, we were in the 90’s, following a different cartel. That really opened up our musical possibilities. We decided to incorporate synthesizers and pulses, combining them with the early sounds from seasons one and two.

Every year, we’ve tried to reinvent the music a little bit but in season three, we had to throw almost all of the themes out and start fresh with the new characters that we were being introduced on screen. It's kind of like doing an all-new show. I love change, but as a composer, we know that the hard part is getting started, knowing you can go anywhere. You think to yourself…”Which sound should I use for this? Would this benefit from a big or small orchestra? Should we use a solo instrument here?”

We had already determined the signature of the show. We knew what we wanted to keep, but we knew a new direction was worth exploring. I think it’s the best of both worlds. It wasn’t a blank page, but we had the creative freedom to take it even further.

It is common knowledge that you played almost every instrument on the Narcos score with the exception of percussion and that every sound used was specially created for the show. What are the benefits of building your own sound library to draw from?

We created about 200 software instruments for Narcos. Everything from percussion loops to phrases and effects I recorded myself, like bowed guitars or simple notes from instruments that I don’t really play proficiently, like the accordion or harmonica. These things were turned into loops or stretched out and reverbed to create big ambiences. 

To create those software instruments we use Kontakt. I’ll start a session, record a bunch of things, go through it, edit, and select what I like. I work with a talented guy named Juan Carlos, who is really talented and great with technology. He’ll import those sounds into Kontakt and create a beginning and an end. If it’s a rhythm, he makes sure it loops properly and takes care of any music editing that needs to be done. Now, we’re able to create multi-instruments, so we have this whole library on one color-coded keyboard to trigger multiple instruments. 

I try to create my own library for every new project to make it feel entirely unique for different shows and movies. I rarely find other uses for the sounds I create after the film or show is finished because I try to be faithful to each project and move on to the next thing. I don’t want anything to sound like something anyone can buy of the shelf because the uniqueness is a large part of my signature as a composer. 

Was the time period a meaningful consideration when developing your score for the show? Do you communicate with music supervisor, Liza Richardson about the relationship between your score and her period specific selections? 

Liza, myself, and Eric Newman, the producer of the show, always spot the episodes together. Sometimes, people from Netflix and Gaumont are in the room. Liza always sends a bunch of great ideas and the editors begin experimenting with songs where they find appropriate. When we’re in the spotting room, we’re able to talk and figure out where the songs fit into the story and which ones works best. In Narcos, the licensed music and score are heavily intertwined. Sometimes, the score works on top of a song or the score leads us into or out of a specific song. The use of music in the show is very organic and we’re lucky to be able to play off of each other. 

The songs in the show make you feel like you are in Colombia in that specific time period. Liza is very faithful to what people would expect hear in Medellín or Cali at that time. We want to make it feel as accurate and authentic as possible. 

Liza has found many great and obscure things that we had never heard of. Her team really did their research on Colombia. The song selections also feed my process because when I hear something we’re using, it might inspire me to use one of those instruments in the score.

Can you tell us about the artistic process of creating the Narcos theme?

The main Pablo Escobar theme from the first season is called Prologue in the soundtrack album. When I was getting ready to begin writing the music for the show, I spent a lot of time playing with a 10 string guitar called Ronroco, which is commonly found north of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru. It’s a larger and bassier version of a Charango. One day, my wife and I were sitting on our porch. She was pregnant with our first baby at the time. While sitting there with the Ronroco, I started playing this chord progression with a Latin fingerstyle groove on the instrument, The next day, I added a melody and recorded it. When I sent it out to everyone, they loved it. That piece opened season one and then became the main theme for Pablo throughout the first two seasons. 

Your scores often feature percussive punctuation. Who are some of your favorite percussionists to work with?

I always work with Cassio Duarte. He is originally from Brazil and can play anything! I work with many different Brazilian percussionists and I will always schedule sessions with them when I am in Rio, but Cassio works for me remotely from Houston. He is primarily the percussion player I worked with on Narcos.

I’ll send him tracks for reference and he’ll just record a bunch of different takes with various instruments. Since we have so little time in between episodes when composing for television, sending files digitally has become necessary. When working for Netflix, I have more time than usual, but with other networks, you have three to four days to literally deliver all of the music. In that time frame, you don’t have usually have time to schedule recording sessions. Luckily, a lot of players have the ability to record remotely nowadays. I go through the tracks I get back, select and edit the raw material. By doing that, I end up getting exactly what I want as well as quite a few amazing surprise. It really works really well for me.

Collaborating remotely allows great musicians to input their creativity and then I’m able to do the final edits, picking and choosing what fits into the sound of the show. I also play a lot of percussion myself. Though it’s not my strength, I record overdubs and add it in. I’ve also started using more and more of the Hang, which is like a pan-drum. You have heard it in Narcos since the first season. The instrument looks like a flying saucer and has a little bit of a deeper sound than a steel drum. The inventor is a scientist/musician from Switzerland, who used to be in a steel drum orchestra. He’s created three or four generations of the Hang, each with different tunings. I only have the integral one, which has a seven note scale, but I know players who are able to get the full chromatic scale by combining three of four hangs with different tunings. My friend, Manu Delago lives in London now and plays with Björk. He’s a master of the Hang and has recorded for me before.

What has been your greatest challenge composing over the course of three seasons of Narcos?

Our process on Narcos has always flowed very well. It’s probably been the smoothest experience of my life as a composer. When I was brought on, they were still in the process of shooting the first season, so I started writing themes while they were in Colombia. I was sending them music and not really hearing feedback, but when I received the rough cut of the first episode, almost everything I had written was in there.

Some of the very first pieces I wrote became some the main themes for the show. Season one really flowed smoothly. With season two, we had more time to compose between episodes. Working with Netflix is just great and they really foster their filmmakers. They believe in the people they hire, producers, show runners, and allow them to guide the process. 

Maybe I could say scheduling was challenging at times, they were off shooting in Colombia and it was hard to get everyone together to know exactly when we were dubbing, what tweaks needed to be made, getting approvals, etc. Maybe that’s one challenge we faced, but it didn’t really affect my work that much. 

Film music has gone through something of a renaissance in recent years, placing a greater emphasis on performing original scores for live audiences. What are your thoughts on taking your own work and presenting it in this fashion?

I think it’s amazing. I had a lot of fun doing a concert for Television Academy last year. Many composers came together to perform music from some of the top television shows. We had Jeff Russo playing music from Fargo and David Buckley playing his work from The Good Fight. I put a suite from Narcos together and we had a small 30-piece orchestra. It was really fun to do that! There's been talk before of trying to put a Narcos concert together and tour a little bit, so we'll see. It's something that would take me back to my roots of being a performer, which is always enjoyable.

There are also these video game concerts taking place all around the world with full orchestras and choirs, which is fantastic! People are introduced to a whole new way of hearing this music. It keeps musicians and orchestras employed and the composers, who make this music, are introduced to a younger generation. The fans might become interested in other classical music and keep supporting film and video game music. These events are opening their ears to new possibilities. Even musicals are having a come back and getting more and more people to the movie theaters.

You worked with director, José Padilha on Robocop, as well as on Elite Squad, which is the highest grossing film in Brazil box office history. What was your relationship like on those projects and what did you learn from the collaboration?

Elite Squad was the first feature film I worked on with a theatrical release. The movie followed an incorruptible, very violent police force in Rio de Janeiro, which would come in and save the day when things got out of hand. The score was rough and tough. A lot of hard rock guitar and Brazilian percussion. I think we sort of started a new genre of Brazilian film scoring with that movie because we’ve heard the same sounds in a lot of political and gangster Brazilian movies since.

The movie was a huge success and won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. It catapulted Padilha’s career to the big leagues. Everyone was like, who is this guy from Brazil making waves? The film has really become a Brazilian phenomenon, to this day people quote lines from the movie on a daily basis. Along with City of God, Elite Squad became one of the most important pieces of contemporary Brazilian cinema. 

The success of the film allowed us to make a sequel, which was the biggest movie ever shot in Brazil. Elite Squad 2 ended up doing huge numbers at the box office. It is the most successful Latin-American franchise to date. In a way, both those movies taught us all of us, who worked on the film, how to make movies.  We were all experimenting and finding our way as we were doing those films. Before that, I had only done one or two features, but they were really small films. I was mainly making library and trailer music and composing additional music for television. They were my first opportunity to score films with a bigger budget. The second film afforded us a small string group, and some brass. The score for the sequel was more polished and somewhat sophisticated than the first installment.

Tell us more about your music from the 2014 remake of RoboCop. Your score was reflective of the Robocop's character, part human, part machine, which translated into half organic and half electronic instrumentation. What were the rewards of reimagining such a popular film? 

After those movies, José got many offers and decided to reboot Robocop, which we worked on in 2013. It was a great experience. I’m very proud of the movie that came out in 2014. It was a very stressful and somewhat crazy process, but I loved it. The idea was to revamp the character of Robocop. The film asks a lot of questions that are coming up in today’s world with the amazing advances of technology. “What if you plant a chip in someone’s head and could control their body?”, “Can you control a person’s will?”, “What is free will?” “Can robots take over law enforcement?”.  

It was a great opportunity to go big and record with a 76-piece orchestra. There was also so much experimentation with electronics. For this score, we were recording in the studio all the time, working with a lot of percussion players. I love being able to record live musicians. If I have the opportunity to record an orchestra or bring in a bunch of live players, that’s what fascinates me. It’s the best. Their work amounts to so much and defines what the music ultimately sounds like. When you do it yourself electronically, it can sound great but you’re limited to what you are bringing to the score as an individual. In a session with other players, one idea can pop up and lead you in a whole different direction musically. 

You have received recognition for numerous high intensity action, thriller, and adventure films. What type of projects outside of that realm would you be interested to work on in the future?

I’m always interested in challenging myself and fascinated by exploring different things. Of course, once you start doing one thing really well and become known for it, people start calling you to do more and more of that. I can’t complain about having work, it’s fantastic, but at the same time, what keeps me interested is having the ability to try new and different things. It’s funny because when I first moved to L.A. I was hired primarily to do romantic comedy projects with light orchestral instrumentation, guitar-based music, or even piano-centric music with smaller ensembles.

I was making a lot of library music in that style. Now, I find myself thrown into the deep end of the pool, doing darker and heavier movies and shows. I’d love to be able to work on lighter things as well as my bread and butter action, drug, and violence combo. With Narcos, there were a lot of opportunities to be more melodic and create beautiful music, even with drug dealers killing each other. I think we found a way to balance the darkness and the beauty.

My wife is a director and a writer. She’s working on a very personal project that I’ll be doing the music for. I’d also love to do an animated film or kid’s movie, something my daughter could watch. She’s 2 now.

In your opinion, what is the greatest misconception about the role of a composer?

It seems like the general public doesn’t really understand what a composer does. I get messages on Twitter and Facebook all the time, saying things like “I love the salsa you picked for the season three finale”. My responsibility is to create original music for the show, creating themes, underscoring scenes, magnifying the emotions of the characters, and creating suspense. Sometimes, I have input on what song is licensed, but that’s mainly the job of the music supervisor and often times, the director. I’ve made it my mission to conduct talks at film schools and universities, especially when I visit Brazil, to explain what my job is. Here, I participate in Recording Academy events and try to spread awareness about the role of a film composer. 

The other misconception is that I have the luxury to sit and wait for inspiration to come. I have to crank out several minutes of score every day to be able to meet the deadlines. You don’t get a month to complete the music for each episode. You have to manage your time to get 35 minutes of music finished in less than a week. It’s not a factory assembly line because we are ultimately doing something artistic and putting our sensibilities into practice, but your experience is what enables you to complete the work quickly. 

Music is the last thing to go into a film or television show. A lot of the time, people are insecure about the outcome of a project and you have to be helpful and positive. There are a lot of skills that you need as a composer that have nothing to do with writing fantastic music. You wear multiple hats, understand that the music is there to support the film made by someone else. You’re there to assist their vision.

After working on a show like Narcos for three years, the creative process gets much easier, but you are still sitting down with both digital and live instruments to come up with a piece and start crafting your voice. In the past, people asked me to create music in the style of other composers all the time and copy their sound. As I grow older and more experienced, people want to hire me for what I do. I try to only accept projects that are willing to let me use my voice and explore new possibilities.

In this business, you never really make it, even if you are composing for a successful show or big budget movie. Competition is fierce and it’s always an uphill battle. Doing your best work is what will get you hired in the future. You constantly have to put your music out there and “make” people want to work with you. It’s not like I can sit around while my agent calls me offering different projects every day. You have to search for the projects you want and pursue those opportunities with the right demo and the right approach. You have to be proactive or you will become old-fashioned in this industry and no one will call you anymore.

What are the most thrilling projects you’ve been working on lately?

I’m working on this great docu-series with National Geographic called Chain of Command. It’s an eight-episode show about the US military, filmed all around the world, with unprecedented access to the Pentagon and top military aids of the United States. You get to see how the chain of command works all the way from the top officials to the boots on the ground. It’s a big release for Nat Geo this year. It’s high quality, it looks and sounds amazing. 

I’ve also recently scored another show for them called The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman. That was a six-episode show starring Morgan Freeman. He travelled around the world interviewing people about what makes us human. Each episode has a different theme, like love, peace and so on. 

I started out working on documentaries, which I’ve always loved. These days, I’m also trying to get more and more into smaller indie movies. On those types of projects, you have to reinvent yourself every time and be able to come up with something cool with maybe three other musicians. I’ve just completed a great short film that’s premiering at Sundance in a week called End Of The Line.

Having a big budget to hire an orchestra is amazing, but working with a few musicians in my room, drives me to experiment and create diverse new sounds. You’re much more likely to end up with unique, very original scores. 

Tune in to Chain of Command on National Geographic, Mondays at 9/8c. Watch 3 seasons of Narcos now on Netflix.