Joelsiah A. Jones - "Exploring unfamiliar territories will only make you a better composer." - Stereo Stickman

Joelsiah A. Jones “Exploring unfamiliar territories will only make you a better composer.”


Composing and producing music exclusively for movies and video games has become synonymous with the name of Joelsiah A. Jones. His unique approach to enhancing the escapism of media has led to a swiftly expanding and distinct yet versatile repertoire, and with plenty of new projects on the horizon, it was a pleasure to talk all things composition, film, creativity and inspiration with the rising artist. Here’s the conversation in full.

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Joelsiah – great to chat with you, thank you! For those new to your journey, who or what first inspired you to compose music?

Rebecca! The pleasure is all mine! Thanks for having me! My first inspiration came from the man who raised me. There was always a small keyboard around. He didn’t know how to play, but he played a few notes, which I copied. Later, I played those notes in whatever fashion I saw fit. I never forgot that moment.

Tell me about your creative process – do you get a visual brief first, maybe scenes, a story, or do you make the music and just imagine where it might fit?

If I come on board during post-production, I’ll sit with the director and have a spotting session, where we’ll talk about ideas while watching the film and or reading the script. If in pre-production, I love being involved in the whole filmmaking process. That means coming on set when possible, speaking with the director and cast, and really trying to hone in on the story and the message it’s trying to convey.

Your repertoire is distinctly eclectic – Is there any limit to the mood or genre you’re willing to explore if the story appeals?

Not at all! I used to be quite nervous about composing for horror, for example. I didn’t think I was very good. Now, it’s become very fun to do! Exploring those unfamiliar territories will only make you a better composer.

In what ways did playing piano in church inspire or influence the style in which you now create?

The start of my interest in music theory started in church with many different applications in any given subject. The use of the unique Jazz, Gospel or otherwise chords structures can make for very interesting sounds! Reharmonisations are specifically fun!

What is it about making music for film that inspires you more than the ambiguous act of purely making the audio without the visual aspect?

It’s an entire experience that fully captivates you when done properly. There have been times when I forget I am even in the cinema, and I love that feeling. It’s like your right and left arms. Both are capable of great feats on their own, but together, they are far stronger. 

Which composition of yours to date would you showcase to a new listener first, and why?

I have grown quite fond of the piece Theater from the upcoming film, Where Sweet Dreams Die. It’s simple, beautiful, and, in the context of the film, quite heartfelt. I think you will all enjoy that one!

Do you work with other musicians or produce solely from the studio, and is there a vast difference in terms of the process and passion you’re able to instill in either case?

This is a whole thing with me. I’m thankful for VSTs and Plugins to come up with ideas and hear them, but for the music to be used in the film, I will use live musicians where I can. And not just any musicians, musicians that I know and trust. It makes a difference, writing to the strengths of a musician who is just as passionate about story and music as you are. The film will show if the music was done without that love and enthusiasm.

Which film do you feel has one of the most powerful scores, and why?

There are so many that it’s hard to really be fair to the number of scores I consider powerful. Yet, the first that popped into my mind is the Interstellar score. The use of this very simple leitmotif communicated into the infinite void of space and time is… incredible, to say the least.

Do you have any creative regrets, or do you move on from a piece once it’s released?

I often say, “Practise makes better.” If I try and strive for perfection on any track, I’ll never be done because that will never happen. There are some films from when I first started that I now cringe to hear, but it makes me happy that I have improved and continue to for each new film.

What’s your greatest ambition right now?

I would love to be able to use live musicians all the time! To be in a place in film where I can have that dedicated team for anything would be astounding. That, and a Grammy award!

What’s the best piece of advice you could give to aspiring composers who are yet to feature in a film or visual venture?

What worked for me is getting connections and improving your craft in whatever style that may be. If you gravitate toward a specific genre, lean on it, join those filmmaking groups, find others at your level, stay consistent and, soon, things will happen!

What’s the best way for visual creators to get in touch with you?

The “Contact” page of my website! Everything goes straight to me and my team!

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Find Joelsiah A. Jones on IMDB, Instagram & LinkedIn.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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