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Behind the Title: Composer Kevin Riepl

NAME: Kevin Riepl (@kevinrieplmusic)

COMPANY: Kevin Riepl Music 

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Composer

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
As a composer, my job is to create engaging dynamic scores for visual media.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
The enormous amount of music that is needed on the average episodic animated television show.

Animal Instincts Digital CoverWHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Being able to write music for a living.

WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS FOR SCORING? HOW DO YOU BEGIN?
I begin by talking with the director of the film, creator of a show or video game and discuss what type of music the project calls for to musically support the project.

CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH YOUR WORKFLOW?
After speaking with the director or creator of the project, we decide on the musical style and where and how the music should work. I then head into the studio and start working on a sound palette that fits with what was discussed. Depending on the project, sometimes I am asked to provide piano sketches of themes for the characters and story arc. Once the writing begins, if it’s a film or TV, I write and develop the score chronologically as the film progresses.

With games it is a bit different. Many times the process is not chronological. Even though the game may have a story, I’m asked to write a certain number of ambient tracks or action tracks that can be used in multiple areas of gameplay. Rarely are the tracks scored to actual sync points in the game, unless it is a cut-scene between levels, then those are approached the same way a film or TV episode is scored.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I would be working in another creative field in music, art, photography or film.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION?
I was inspired by how music affected me as a young boy when watching movies.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
Since I was in elementary school when I started playing the trumpet. After many years of studying and various jobs in music I started to pursue a career in scoring video games and film in my early 20s.

PrintCAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Over the last year I’ve worked with Warner Bros. Animation scoring three of their Batman made-for-home entertainment features and now a new series with them. I’ve also worked on the video game Battleborn, the new title from Gearbox and 2K.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
I am proud of most of the projects I’ve worked on. There is one project that I will always hold close to me. The short sci-fi film Henri directed by Eli Sasich. This film came to me during a difficult moment in my life concerning my health and I worked on it during part of my recovery. There was a connection I made with the content of the story and what I was going through.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
My computer, my other computer and my other computer.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
I used to be a really frequent Twitter and Facebook user, but as I’ve gotten busier and busier, there has been less time to follow and less time to post. Even though I still use both channels I mainly just have an Instagram account where I post more personal stuff and share some of my professional news.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I’m a big fan of enjoying a bourbon or rye every now and then. Also spending time with my family along with playing baseball with my nine-year old twin boys and coaching their team.

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