“with an open mind & heart there is a never-ending well of creativity out there if you pay attention.”
Award-winning TV and Film Composer, Jacob Yoffee shares with us the big life changes that helped build vital resilience, the wisdom to never stop learning and growing, and where keeping an open mind and heart leads you.
We’d love to hear how it all began. How did you get started as A FILM, TV AND TRAILER COMPOSER?
Craigslist!! Seriously, I didn’t know any other way to start. So I just googled looking for gigs and thought the best way to dive in was to work with other up and coming filmmakers. It also helped give me material to develop myself. At the beginning I was definitely not ready for anything with severe deadlines.
What moment(s) in your life do you feel helped form the artist you are today?
My father was a Marine and we moved a lot growing up. I graduated high school in Okinawa, Japan and going to college across the world from my family was tough. Then moving with my fiancé (and now wife) to New York was hard….and then moving together to LA was even harder! All these big life changes and challenges I think are moments that reinforce your confidence in the face of adversity. They give you a chance to build the thick skin you need in this industry. It may not sound like the answer you were expecting but I’m totally serious in saying that resilience is probably the most important trait to develop.
THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER — YOUR STUDIES, YOUR BACKGROUND AS A JAZZ ARTIST, YOUR WORK WITH ROAHN HYLTON — WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT HAS STAYED WITH YOU ALONG THE WAY?
Never stop learning, never stop developing your sound and your tastes in music. At 25 years old I thought I knew what made music ‘good’ or whether one composer/artist was better than another. But I’ve since learned that I am often wrong and with an open mind & heart there is a never-ending well of creativity out there if you pay attention.
How do you approach collaborating with others?
It’s never the same way for any project or collaboration. Some collabs are passing music back and forth, some are a lot of talking about ideas, some are musicians interpreting your notes on a page or picking the vibe up from the MIDI. All of them are valid and yield great results. The critical element for me in choosing partners is accountability; will they come through by the deadline???
Do you have any methods or practices that help spark new ideas?
A wise professor once told me you need several ways to start. It’s usually about energy for me; the hours are always long and I’m constantly sleep-deprived. So if I’m excited about a scene I’m scoring, or if I’ve got that first melody, chord progression or riff in my mind the energy flows. If not I might pick up my saxophone and just play over some changes for 20 minutes, or I browse Spotify listening to something as far removed from my project as possible.
We’re honored to have you as an Emergence Audio user, how do our instruments help in your creative process?
The fine line between minimalism and constant evolving!! The kind of music we have to make demands endless exercise in saying something with nothing. These libraries give you material that live in the critical ‘there but too busy’ realm.
What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m co-scoring The Wonder Years with Roahn Hylton and we’re starting two other series for mid-2022. Our big personal project is an album that will release next year titled ‘Th3rdstream’.
Since our interview with Jacob, he and Roahn Hylton were nominated for a Black Reel Award (Outstanding Original Song, “All I Know”) and a HMMA Award (Main Title – TV Show/Limited Series) for their work on The Wonder Years.