We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Bjornson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandon, why did you pursue a creative career?
I chose to pursue a career in music composition and production, because this is where I find my greatest passion. I knew that if I didn’t, then the artistic voice inside me would cease to exist, and god knows that happened to too many people over the years who’ve given up on their dreams. I also knew this career path wouldn’t be easy, and it hasn’t been, especially through Covid. I’ve stayed busy throughout the pandemic and some of my best work has come from this past year. All my compositions are my heart and my vision, and I wanted to show them to the world through BLB Compositions.
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.
These days, I’m doing a lot of composing in the “Digital Art” space. I think what sets me apart from other artists is my form of composition. Nowadays the field of visual composition has been flooded with strings, orchestras and brass. Orchestral composition takes great skill and is sophisticated and gorgeous and I respect that immensely. I pride myself on my own type of “Alternative Composition,” using instruments like bass guitars run through analog and digital effects, saxophones and synthesizers paired with watery pianos, and trap and acoustic drums to hold ‘em all together. I grew up listening to jazz, pop, rap/early trap, rock and metal in Los Angeles, and it’s the biggest influence on my style of composition, so I incorporate that minimalist and pop-y type sound into my work. Not only do I use instruments, but I incorporate different and unique sounds and effects, of whatever that catches my ear in everyday life, (such as a childhood wind-up toy in my score for MX Cookie on my website) I really enjoy incorporating interesting ‘sounds’ and instruments to my scores. I’m really excited about this new “Digital Art” space. Digital Art was a serious program at Calarts and I have friends who are devoted digital artists. I love to collaborate with them by scoring their work. Lately, my Instagram is filled with digital art and my compositions that are paired with them. It’s an incredibly exciting new space – I can’t wait to see how it grows!
I started my “musical journey” after a rough ride through elementary school. Navigating social and emotional and educational skills was not easy for me, but my spirit has always been uplifting and I loved the art of learning. In Middle School, I was introduced to the didgeridoo, (which, I had no idea would change my life.) That instrument, (not known by most,) taught me discipline. In order to play the didgeridoo, I had to learn circular breathing. This technique took a lot of practice to master. That Australian percussive instrument gave me the courage to move over and next, try the “Djembe”, (a traditional West African drum.) After gaining the knowledge and confidence to play these very difficult instruments, it then gave me the conviction that I could move towards more traditional instruments, piano and then saxophone, which drew me towards jazz at a young age (and, still a genre that I listen to for pleasure and for inspiration.) There is nothing quite like a John Coltrane tune, nothing better!
In high school, I took a film class that was considered college level. I started to write, direct, produce and edit my own short films and music videos. I learned how to produce “Stop Motion” films which was probably the most difficult art to learn, but the most rewarding, of all my films. After that, there was no stopping me. In my junior year of high school, I realized I wanted to move away from film and go all-in on music. A friend of mine took me into the school band room to show me some guitar chords. I spotted a cheap, beat-up bass that called my name and I fell in love! I took to that instrument, fast, taking bass lessons and learning as much as I could about the instrument and its history.
I had a hunger to learn the instrument (the bass) When applying to college, I knew that this is what I wanted to study and “California Institute of the Arts “ is where I wanted to study it. As we all know, college is a winding road and I found myself circling back to film, but this time in a different way; I found a passion for scoring visual and audio mediums such as film, animations, video games and podcasts. So, essentially pairing my two passions, was where my journey started to take me, then and now. Throughout my four years in college, I took countless compositions, productions and audio editing courses to strengthen my craft. The funny thing was, I wasn’t even in the composition program – I just fell into the work and fell in love with it, so my focus was to expand my music and film experience and combine my two passions, as mentioned above.
In my junior year of college, I studied abroad, for six months, in the UK,. There, I focused on music production which helped me to become a better composer, producer and overall musician. I studied with Adem Hilmi, (producer for Amy Winehouse and Florence and The Machine.) Adem really understood me and appreciated my talent. The validation from someone of this stature, someone who truly tapped into ME, gave me the confidence to tackle the variety of avenues I have gone down, to date. I think facing fears and pushing through the more difficult musical avenues is what I’m most proud of, and I do love where I am, right now and so excited for the future.
Lately, I’ve been moving towards crypto-based art and music sales, working with CalArts and Art Center alum like Conny Cavazos and Flora Xia to create art and music driven worlds. Examples of such work can be found on my instagram and website under the “Digital Art Scoring” tab! These are in progress with more to come soon!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, the best thing about LA is that there’s so much to do! If i had a friend visiting the area for the first time, I’d probably give them a few starters and let whatever attracted them in those areas take hold! I’d start by taking them to Venice beach (as it’s a must see for anyone new to LA). Then, I’d take them more inland towards Santa Monica, maybe have them stop at Watergrill for seafood or Lanea for mexican food, then have them head over to King’s Head Pub for some drinks! Afterwards, I’d probably have them top the night off in Malibu, watch the sunset there and maybe enjoy a joint from the Malibu Community Collective if they’re into that sorta thing! I guess you can tell that I love the beach. LA has a lot to offer, but in my eyes, the highlights are on the coast!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be anywhere without my family, first and foremost! The support they’ve given me over the years has been unwavering and I could not say I’d be in the same place today without them. The education they’ve provided me with has been extraordinary and I couldn’t have asked for a better upbringing; Brett, Vicki, Bryce and Zoe – you are my world!
I’ve also had some educational and professional mentors along the way, that have given me the confidence and the experiences that have influenced the trajectory of my life. First, Evan Beachy, my middle school principal, who influenced me with kindness and the gift of an analytical education, paving the path for me to hone in on more details, and is really the reason that I tackled Music Theory, through college. Second, Adem Hilmi, my mentor at Falmouth University in Cornwall, England; he taught me mixing and recording techniques and gave me the confidence I needed to work stronger and harder. Both saw great potential in me at different ages and I cannot thank them enough!
And of course, I can’t forget my amazing group of friends for influencing me along the way! Jordy, Ryan, Grace, Brian, Gen – love you lots!
Vicki Bjornson and Grace Tarandek