We had the good fortune of connecting with Connor Cook and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Connor, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
Foremost, I am inspired by moments. I’m the type of person who goes through life living for those in between moments, the ones that seem small and inconsequential but are actually the ones that stick with you for the longest. I’m a really very feeling based person, and most all of my memories are attached to some sort of feeling. I’m almost always drawing from an experience when writing music, trying to use my own experiences to inform what is happening in a film or other project I’m working on. As a composer, I am always trying to sonically capture something, much like a photographer tries to capture an instant. I’m inspired conversation with people, interactions and events. I am inspired by other people’s music, be it film music or folk music or whatever else I’m currently stuck on. I’m inspired by others’ expression of self- dance, photography, art, poetry, books and stories. Lately I’ve been very inspired by my friends and friendships. The idea that people spend time with you just because they like you for exactly as you are- what a treat! I think inspiration is a really universal concept, even if all of us find it in different places, we are all seeking it and grateful for it when it delivers.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a composer, mostly for film, but I also compose music for TV, video games, musicals, and any other visual projects that I have the great fortune of working on. Lately I’ve been doing some songwriting and performing too. I grew up with bluegrass and Irish music being my teachers, and I think those roots are present in everything I do. As a highly nostalgic and person centered around remembering, my roots are a huge deal to me and a big part of my musical voice. To me, music is a gathering- a sharing of ideas or feelings or hopes. I treat music as such- and when I’m writing for a project this is the lens I see the work through. I am a composer because I want to connect with people and share my love of film through my own means, which is music. I think what sets me apart from others is my own story- it in itself is unique and it informs the music I create. I think I am also a deep listener, and a big feeler. I think my curiosity sets me apart from other composers- I like to ask questions and find out the meaning behind things in a story. I am an empath, which makes reading film something I love about the job. It is natural and easy for me to understanding feelings and emotions, because I have a lot of them! I think this gives me a lot of strength in scoring film. I can really put myself into the story and by doing so, bring some music to the table that hopefully does something for the film that wasn’t there before. I’m most excited artistically when exploring and playing around to find a solution for a project. The most recent lesson I’ve learned is to be flexible and gracious, without losing any fire for chasing my dream. Because of the pandemic, I’m learning how to be more adaptable and go with the flow- which doesn’t mean I’m not fighting for my dream of supporting myself with composing- but it just means finding different ways to make the dream happen. Many streams lead to the ocean, and I’m learning how to explore them. I have also learned that everyone’s path is different and unique, just like our stories. There is no set model for making things happen or being a “successful film composer”. As long as I’m making music that means something to me and I am proud of, I am fulfilled. I want the world to know that our stories are the most special and wonderful things we have- and that we should share them. Sharing our stories connects us and fills our spirits and souls. I love working with people who are sharing a story that I haven’t heard before. My unique brand of feelings forward music making might not be for everyone, but for those it does resonate with, I’m looking forward to making things with you.
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?
First things first, after picking my bestie up at the airport, we go to In-N-Out for a quick and satisfying meal. Nothing gets me more hyped on LA than a protein style animal style burger and light well fries. Oh BABY! Some must see places: Bob Baker Marionette Theater- at least one show, but maybe two. The organ music and spellbinding puppetry are absolutely essential for a fun trip. Griffith Observatory that night- we can reflect on our own existence and get all misty eyed that out of this whole world we found each other to be the best of friends. We go to Salazar for dinner, the margarita is perfection, and the tacos are unbeatable. Since we are feeling saucy we get the carne asada fries too. Then (covid times aside) we go dancing at Zebulon which is right nearby. Convenient!! A visit to Wine and Eggs in Atwater Village is top of the list, a new store opened by the incredible Monica Navarro, and an absolute gem of the city. Once we’ve secured some tasty natural wine and local snacks, we will go for a hike in the Malibu area. Since the weather is (always) nice, we will do Point Mugu and drink wine at the top overlooking the Pacific ocean. Majestic! I don’t want to forget a trip to Cafe Gratitude, so we will go to the location in Venice. I AM WHOLE! We should now wander around the canals a little and hit the beach for some easy breezy times. We will have to see a show at The Bootleg- it was the first venue I ever played at with my friends Eric Davis and Jake Tittle! Probably my favorite venue in all of LA. I love LA so much, it’s hard to narrow down all of my favorite things, but rest assured, we will have a gorgeous time. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate my Shoutout to Heather McIntosh. She has been a bright spot in my life as my dear friend/mentor/hero. She inspires me as a person living in the world, but very much artistically as well. When I first moved to LA to pursue film scoring, I did some assisting for her and learned what it actually means to be a film composer, among many other things. Though I was learning from her, she always treated me as a fellow artist/colleague. That meant a lot to me, and still does. I learned a lot also about how to treat my fellow creatives. Heather is so honorable, humble, kind, brilliant, and diligent and I aspire to be like her. Her music is incredible as well- so unique and wonderful. I’m so grateful for her in my life.
Photos by Marielle V Chua