A Q&A with LA Visual Media Composer Denisse Ojeda

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  1. As a Mexican-American composer for visual media and a terrific bass player, we would love to hear about your influences and how you describe your musical voice! 

    I feel like I’m kind of a late bloomer when it comes to the composing game. It’s taken me awhile to find my voice and my genre but through the years I’ve been able to find artists and composers that really inspire me. Some of my influences are Hildur Guðnadóttir, Mica Levi, Johann Johansson, Alex Somers, and Ben Frost. I tend to lean into a mixture of dark electronic/orchestral hybrid sound.

  2. You have recently transitioned from commercial work to the more independent film scene. Can you walk us through the similarities and differences between these two fields? 

    I worked in trailers for 4 years and I learned a lot about what goes into making a trailer. The biggest difference between trailer work and film scoring is that you’re not writing to picture. The music comes first and then the editor cuts it into their trailer. Ads are also different and you sometimes get the chance to write to picture which is amazing because that’s usually never the case with trailers. I recently got to write music for two shorts last year and it was really great getting back into film scoring. The collaboration between the director and the composer is similar to the collaboration between the music supervisor and the composer with trailers.

  3. What was your favorite project that you’ve scored so far? Why?

    I got to write music for the teaser of The Undoing on HBO. It was the first time that I got to make music that fits my style, and I had a lot of fun.

  4. Collaboration is at the heart of filmmaking & film music, and we know that you have been working closely with some of our wonderful members! First let me ask about your work with Genevieve Vincent. How did it start? What projects did you tackle together? Tell us everything!

    I met Genevieve last year after I asked if we could meet for coffee. I wanted to talk to her because we both had worked in music supervision, and I wanted some advice into how to transition into the film/TV world. She mentioned that she needed an assistant and I volunteered. The first project that we worked on together was an HBO documentary about Brittany Murphy. It was my first time being an assistant and I learned so much about the process. After the documentary, we co-scored a sci-fi short. Genevieve is a great mentor, and she took a chance on me and I’m forever grateful.

  5. You also recently started working with our wonderful president Catherine Joy and Joy Music House (JMH). It must be an incredible learning opportunity to work with JMH as they help so many different composers coming from such different backgrounds. What have been the biggest takeaways of this experience so far?

    It’s been really great working at JMH, and I’ve learned so much in a short amount of time. It had been awhile since I’d done orchestration and music prep, but I’m so happy to get back into it. Catherine is a great mentor and I’m so happy to be on her team. I’m excited for what’s to come.

    Check out Denisse’s AWFC profile.

    Interview by Esin Aydingoz

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