1) RYAN, YOU RECENTLY SECURED A MAJOR COLLABORATION WITH LUCASFILMS. CAN YOU PLEASE ELABORATE ON THAT?
I’m beyond loving composing STAR WARS: FORCES OF DESTINY for all my friends at Lucasfilm. The entire team has been absolutely fantastic to work with. One of the biggest musical challenges has been finding a way of honouring John William’s indelible musical language from the trilogy of trilogies, while at the same time composing from my own musical vocabulary. Each moment I’m writing, I still can’t believe I’m creating new music for the Star Wars universe. I hope the fans enjoy FORCES OF DESTINY as much as we have enjoyed creating it.
2) YOU PROBABLY GET ASKED THIS A LOT BUT, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE RELATED TO ONE OF THE GREATEST LIVING COMPOSERS?
I love Howard, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount from him — through the four years I worked for him when I began my career, through our conversations over the years, and also by studying his music and career. Being related to Howard isn’t something I think about on the day to day, as the demands of my workload keep me focused on the projects I’m composing for. However, every now and again I do think about how uniquely specialised a craft it is to compose music for film, TV, games, virtual reality, and others mediums, and it occurs to me how especially uncommon it is to have more than one member of a family in this same field. I find Howard to be an incredibly admirable example of success in our profession, and I’m grateful to not only know him and to be able to call him my uncle, but to also be able to call him a friend.
3) CAN YOU PLEASE ELABORATE ON YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE 2015 ACADEMY AWARDS? IT MUST HAVE BEEN BOTH DEMANDING AND A BLAST RIGHT?
I was the Assistant Music Director for the 2015 Oscars, and it was one of the greatest experiences of my career. Working directly with the unbelievably amazing orchestra was beyond incredible. To hear how flawlessly they’re able to change music styles on a dime, and to do it seemingly effortlessly, is nothing short of astounding. And to work directly with artists such as Lady Gaga, John Legend, Adam Levine, Anna Kendrick, Common, Tim McGraw, Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Jennifer Hudson, and more, was like having a dozen dreams come true at the same time. I couldn’t believe the level of talent that was a part of the discussions, rehearsals, and show at any given moment. I also had the great honour of returning to the 2016 Oscars to work on Lady Gaga’s music. I couldn’t be more grateful to my unbelievably talented friend Stephen Oremus for asking me to come on board his music team.
4) BESIDES COMPOSING, YOU ARE ALSO A PILOT. YOU CAN FLY!! NEXT TO WRITING AN AWESOME CUE, IS FLYING JUST AS SOUL FULFILLING?
Yes, flying is massively fulfilling. There’s a feeling of accomplishment I derive from flying which is different from nearly all other endeavours in my life. One aspect among so many that I absolutely love about it is that when I’m flying I really can’t be thinking about music, or much of anything else except flying. In a way, it’s almost like a forced vacation since my mind is so focused on all the tremendous responsibilities that come with it. Flying is one of the only activities in my life which actually reminds me of the feelings I have when I first took up music, which is there is an endless body of knowledge to learn from. It’s truly an endless pursuit of knowledge and growth, and it’s massively humbling.
5) WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING COMPOSERS IN GENERAL AND TO THOSE WHO WANT TO MOVE TO LA?
Learn your craft and the language of storytelling and filmmaking. Seek out challenges. Say yes to everything. Constantly challenge yourself to grow musically, professionally, and personally. Constantly evaluate and learn from what you’re doing. Be diverse and developed in your skill set and interests. Have interests outside of music which inspire you to grow personally and to learn about the people and the world around you. Take time to appreciate. Be grateful, and show your gratitude. Be a good person, and be good to others. Be patient. Very patient. I’ve always held a belief which I live by, and perhaps it could also be considered advice, which is — “take care of the music, and the music will take care of me”, and knock on wood, it always has.