We had the good fortune of connecting with Santiago Amézquita and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Santiago, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
Setting a schedule and planning each day the night before is key. Setting a timer (usually 1 hour) while I am working on specific tasks helps me to stay focus and to enhance my productivity. Trying to do exercise at least 3 times a week and drinking a lot of water is fundamental as well.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I work as a music composer and producer, and I love collaborating in the world of visual media and storytelling. I like to merge different types of instrumentation and experiment with creative arrangements that can help me push my own boundaries. I mix the traditional sounds of an orchestra with electronic soundscapes to create a modern, hybrid sound that captures the essence of the stories being told on screen. I think that having a background as an electronic music producer has helped me to step outside the conventional cinematic soundscape and has meant that I am not afraid to experiment with creative arrangements that can help me push my own boundaries.
Besides working on film, I’ve also collaborated as a music composer, producer and sound designer with artists that create light art installations, video mappings, video games, choreographies, animation and theater as well. I firmly believe that great new opportunities very often come from collaborations with other artist and friends that inspire me, rather than make all sample-based music all alone in my studio. As a music producer, I’ve worked mostly on electronic music that has been released by labels such as Motek, Kolour Recordings, Piston and Clinique Records among others under the name of “Amezquita”.
To make a career in music is hard enough by itself, and being so far away from my family, my home country, and from the culture I grew up in, makes it even more difficult. Breaking into the film music scene in L.A is hard for anybody and even harder for outsiders, but honestly, for now I am just grateful to be able to make music, work alongside other filmmakers, and to be keep learning from many other artists.
I’ve learned to never compare myself with others, this career is not a race or a competition, it is more about collaboration and focusing more on self-improvement each day.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, I still have a lot more to discover around L.A, but if you enjoy comedy shows, The Comedy Store is definitely a must. For concerts, The Hollywood Bowl has some amazing concerts. Last year, I was able to see John Williams conducting the LA philharmonic. Maestro John Williams! The guy is 89 years old and is still making music and doing sold out concerts. Those type of unique events only happen in this city. For rooftops, I would recommend Broken Shaker, the view of downtown L.A. during the night is beautiful down there. E.P & L.P is also a nice rooftop bar with a nice view of the Hollywood Hills, and it also has a rooftop theater! I also love going to Venice Beach because of the vibe of the place, you never get bored over there.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mother. She has always supported me on this crazy idea of mine of following a music career. I would also say Kubilay Uner, who is the person ahead of the MFA program of Music Composition for the Screen at Columbia College Chicago, and was one of my teachers while I was studying there. He is someone who has shown me a lot of support and mentorship during the last few years.