1. Introduce us to your project!
Well this album, Los Angeles Pieces (2007-2017), is basically a collection of some of my most personal pieces over the past ten years since I moved here to LA from Thailand.
2. How did you start out?
I grew up loving film, literature and art and started piano lessons when I was 7. Some of the first pieces I learnt were scores by James Horner (The Land Before Time and later Titanic, Legends of the Fall, Braveheart) and a few Beatles and Carpenters songs (yes, I’ve always been a bit all over the map). Eventually that led into the world of classical music, being a concert pianist and joining the choir at the Bangkok Opera. It was the love of storytelling and film though that I think really got me started. I’d started working with friends of mine on sets of their short films etc. and gradually was given the opportunity to score them. That changed everything, and I realized it was something that was natural and fun for me as opposed to writing my own standalone music at the time which proved difficult and cumbersome. Over time, I’ve written a number of my own solo pieces and projects which have led me here to this album.
3. Describe your sound.
I would say even though I’ve worked in a variety of musical genres and styles, the sound that seems to recur in my work is the constant search to merge acoustic and electronic elements in a way that feels transparent to me. I know this is incredibly subjective as every artist will have his or her own sense of what transparent (if that is indeed what you are going for) feels like. Though I’ve always (and will always enjoy) purely acoustic music, or a good live rock band, the studio is very much a major instrument for me but not necessarily in the traditional pop/rock sense (though that has certainly played a large role) but rather in taking acoustic instruments and recording or playing them in ways that are not traditional (pencils on violin strings, a contact microphone on the body of a cello while tapping the bridge with a timpani stick etc.). So, a bit of a hybrid between the record production world and the avant classical.
4. What influences your craft?
A lot really. Art, architecture, literature, obviously films. I would say storytelling is the main influence. I’m always looking to tell a story, to explore characters in a hopefully multi-layered way. Music can be a really great and universal tool in which to do that.
5. What makes your project different? Why should people listen to you?
People have tended to tell me my music is ‘cinematic’ and apart from that meaning that they can imagine it in a film (I can too) or narrating/accompanying a scene, I think it also comes from that sense of storytelling that owes a lot to not only film music of the past (and present) but also the great musical storytellers of the past centuries, namely opera and ballet composers. Wagner, Puccini and Tchaikovsky are gods in that sense. Having said that, I am, as I think all artists/composers/storytellers are, constantly trying to find a way to express what is contemporary and relevant by means of what interests me and what I know of my own ‘musical voice’. I say ‘what I know of’ because it seems to constantly flow and change as I do and though certain things will always stay entrenched in my aesthetic, I’m always searching for a more interesting or different approach, looking at the subject from a different angle, a further distance, or a closer one.
6. When introducing people to your music, what song should I show them first? What is your quintessential track?
Hm that’s a tricky one. The Adventures of Iris Lily is really quite special to me and so is Un Jour de Chance. I’ve actually been having this discussion quite frequently these days, regarding quintessential tracks, i.e. what is your sound or what sounds most like you, or in a way, what piece could represent the most of you in it. I’ve found that a bit hard to track down in a single piece of music for me, at least so far. They all embody some aspect of me that the others don’t necessarily do. Sometimes there are overlaps and I suppose it’s from those overlaps that someone determines the answer to that question though I often feel I’m a bit too close to see it clearly myself ironically.
7. What has been the biggest struggle in your career so far?
I think the usual struggles of pursuing work that speaks to you and balancing the job/work aspect of it aside, one of my biggest struggles has been working out the difference between the types of films I’d love to work on, the types of stories I’d love to tell, and realizing my strengths as a composer, the sound that comes most naturally to me and the kinds of films or projects those would fit; understanding that sometimes those two are not necessarily the same and trying to find a balance between the two.
8. What has been the biggest highlight in your career so far?
Last year I was served as one of the technical score engineers to Danny Elfman on his Justice League score as well as score technical coordinator to John Debney on The Greatest Showman; both incredibly rewarding highlights for me. Both great composers, an honor and an incredible learning experience. Apart from that, this album, Los Angeles Pieces, is incredibly personal and is my first solo album aside from my film work and various collaborations so I’d say that’s a personal highlight.
9. How bright is the future of your project – what are the plans?
Well I don’t have any future plans regarding this album at the moment but I am working on three new ones coming up: a collaboration with concert pianist Christopher McKiggan on a new take on the ‘solo piano album’ which I’m very excited about, an album of music that ties into the world of filmmaker Andre Hedetoft’s upcoming feature film Finns Här Några Snälla Barn and a compilation of the past four Emily Daccarett fashion collections I’ve written music for over the past few years.
10. When all is said and done, how would you like to be remembered?
I think at the end of the day, I’d like to be remembered for having engaged in the social and political fabric of my time and having found a way to explore, to express, to challenge and to discuss them in my work. I think most artists, no matter what medium, look for that. There’s always that discussion we have with both the past and the present (and sometimes the future). I think we all look to the past in various ways in the hopes of figuring out our present. Artistically we do that as well, hence cycles of musical styles re-emerging, being re-found, re-interpreted for a new era, by a new generation. It’s always a balancing act and I’m still looking for mine.