We had the good fortune of connecting with Akira Komatsu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Akira, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is trigger to draw out your hidden or unexpected power and ability. You have to think out of the box to find the solution. It is related to money in most of the cases and that means life its self. It’s no doubt you need money for food and rent first. Sometimes you need to throw your pride and ego away to go through the new door, and it’s mentally tough. Why do I have to do this? How can I do this? You may think, but you have no choice at the moment you are facing the risk. You must find the unexpected ability inside of you and encounter some new possibility in front of you. That is the great enlightment of life. I always take risky way when I had a choice to take one out of some ways and enjoy struggling to find something new.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I had played small clubs in Tokyo years ago. I was leading an instrumental band and composing all materials played. Actors, filmmakers, or their media artists came to talk to me after the shows from time to time and it would be nice to have my composition in their works, but I could not take those opportunities at first because I did not have good DTM tips back then. I gradually had gotten TV commercial and indie movie gigs about a year later since I started bedroom composing and my career had shifted from guitarist to composer naturally. It has seemed to be smooth in the very beginning when I moved to LA, but absolutely NOT. My compositions were pitched to Westworld and Judd Apatow TV show some weeks after I moved to LA. I got so excited as I heard my compositions were to be heard by music supervisors of such major programs and foolishly I believed some of those would be used, but none of them were taken as you imagined. Rejection has been a good friend of mine since then. Negotiation sense is always mysterious. I still have a hard time talking with indie filmmakers about compensation. I’ve never won that game. I am still not sure how to price or evaluate my music in a proper and favorable way. Let me say that I love composing for any medium and enjoy working with media artists all the time, just in case filmmakers might read this. I am a jazz guitarist and film composer specialized in horror at the same time. My elevator pitch is ” Pat Metheny meets Christopher Young” and I come to think now it’s time to have some more diversity as documentary, coming of age and human drama, too. I like Jon Brion too, his show at Largo at the Coronet is great that I miss because of COVID 19. Hope I could tour around the world like Eric Serra’s cine concert.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Absolutely Griffith Park is must and walk to the Hollywood sign. Eating at PINK’s. Santa Monica beach. Live music and eat a big baked potato at The Baked Potato on Ventura, hope Larry Carlton plays.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Naoto Yamakawa / Japanese film director / I had leaned a lot from the experience of working for his film in my early years of my career as a film composer. Film composing is an extension of the stories, you don’t have to put your watermark intensionally in your music, your voice is still there all in all. Musicians Institute of Technology GIT / My old school in Hollywood / My basic sense of composing was established there. I learned what not to play rather than what to play. All teachers are amazing and especially Jeff Richman, Art Renshaw and Barrett Tagliarino are big influence on my music. I also thank Dan Kimpel, Megan Doheny and Danny Diaz for supporting my life in LA. Society of Composer and Lyricist (SCL)/ is the premier organization for music creators working in all forms of visual media: film, television, video game, and musical theatre / SCL always encourages, mentors us. “Kenny & Co.” / A Don Coscarelli Film in 1976 / This is the first impression of America in my very early years of my life and it was kept deeply in my soul. I always had been thinking that I wanted to go to the U.S. since then and music was connected to the thought afterward. Luckily I could meet Don Coscarelli, the director of the movie, and actors as J. Michael Boldwin, Reggie Banister and Terrie Kalbus here in LA last year. THANK GOD! Ovation Elite Standard / Electric Acoustic Guitar / This guitar is given to me as a prize of Human Relation Award I received on my graduation from MI and haded by Daniel Gilbert at the graduation ceremony. This is the only one instrument I have now because I sold all my belongings to make money to come to LA. AL SCHMITT ON THE RECORD / autobiography of Al Schmitt / Great epic of music industry of LA and full of philosophy of his work and for what you love. Cathy Heller / President of Catch The Moon Music / I learned not only a lot about music licensing but also philosophy of doing what you love. How to Make It in the New Music Business / Ari Herstand / Great map to sail on the ocean of music industry. The Monkees / American Pop Icon / Bigger than The Beatles for me. Norman Ludwin / Music Educator / I studied orchestration arrangement at Local 47 and 20th Century Harmony Class with him. That had my musical third eye open.
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