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Music, Movies, and Pandemonium

January 6, 2010

I’ve had so many questions about my son, Kenneth, composer of the Prophecy score, that I thought Id feature him an an interview. I can’t tell you how proud I am of him – as a musician, artist, and human being.

I hope you enjoy getting to know him better!

How did you come to your love of music?
I was extremely into sports from an early age. I didn’t show a hint of interest in music until I was about 15. Before that point, I had been playing baseball since I was four or five years old, and soccer very soon after. I was planning on trying to become a professional baseball player. However, one summer I got an acoustic guitar and just took a liking to it. I taught myself piano shortly after and went from there.

You play guitar, bass, drums, and piano. Which of those is your favorite instrument and why?
Well, I’ll be honest, I only play bass and drums just to say I can! I don’t have a big interest in playing them. I can only really hold a beat and that’s about it. When it comes down to it, there’s nothing like a stand alone piano and the power it can invoke in the listener. I think it’s one of the most dynamic instruments out there.

You’ve made no secret about your fondness for film scores, what is it about that medium that makes it so special?

I do like film scores. Let me rephrase that. I LOVE film scores. Don’t get me wrong, I like rock/alternative music and some hip/hop, but I find film scores to be much more emotional. I think film scores can evoke feelings that rock music can’t or very rarely does. It’s also a plus to have visuals to put the music to. Say you see a movie and really liked it, then buy the film score. Every time you listen to one of those songs you are going to be reminded of that movie and how good it was. I think film scores just carry more substance and depth.

Best Film Score of All Time?
Oh man, you’re putting me on the spot! I’m probably going to have to go with three: The Dark Knight, Assassin’s Creed 2, and the Last Samurai. I highly, highly recommend those to anybody looking for some really great, emotional music. It also helps if you have  experienced them, because they are all fantastic movies/video games. I only recently got the Assassin’s Creed 2 score, and while I really love it right now, the thing that makes me love certain film scores most is staying power. The Dark Knight  and the Last Samurai score came out years ago, but I can still go back to them and remember why I love them so much. We’ll see how long Assassin’s Creed 2 can hold up for as long.

What inspires you in the creation of your own music?
I honestly don’t know. I’m a natural procrastinator and overall lazy person, so I don’t have a schedule I follow or anything like that. What I do tends to be more erratic and spontaneous. I could go a month without working on any original songs, simply because I’m just not in the mood. When I am in the mood, I can only describe it as being “in the zone”. There’s nothing else but my music and me, and I really love to get lost in that moment.

How important is reading the Prophecy books in composing music for them?
It would be like telling professional film composers to compose music without seeing footage from the film they are composing for. I’d say it would be just about impossible to make music for the Prophecy books without reading them. Especially because the books have such a deep and rich atmosphere throughout, I think it’s a necessity to read them.

When composing music for the Prophecy trilogy, do you come up with the music first and then assign it to a piece of the book, or do you mark certain scenes as important and then write music for it?
I’ll usually read through the book and write down any scene I can imagine music for. Afterwards, I go through and eliminate all but the essential scenes. I think for the book 2 score I am aiming for 10-20 songs.

You’re currently in your Senior year of high and are home-schooled through Laurel Springs School, an online college preparatory school. What made you decide to leave public school for the less traditional homeschooling method?
I could go on and on for all the reasons I left public school, but I won’t. I’ll just say two things.

One – as a whole, my generation is becoming more and more ignorant, selfish, and rude. I could not deal with most of the people at school. People who think it’s ok to go out and get drunk when they are years under the age limit. People who couldn’t care less about what’s going on in the world and who don’t care about anyone but themselves. I don’t want to sound high and mighty and like I’m an adult, because I’m not. I just find it hard to believe that so many of my peers act the way they do. And I admit, I’m generalizing. There are kids that aren’t like this, but for the most part I’d say a majority of teenagers are selfish and ignorant.

Two – The other reason I left was because the environment within public school is not for everybody. I found just about everything we did in public school boring and extremely easy. I was able to coast through middle school and high school and keep a 90 GPA, while doing minimal to no homework and never studying. Home schooling just fits me and my personality better.

What do you like most about homeschooling? Dislike?
I really just like the amount of freedom and control you have over your courses and when/how you do your work. I realized just how much time is wasted in public school. It’s an overall better experience, in my opinion.

I really don’t think I dislike anything about homeschooling. Most people would say something along the lines of “I would miss my friends so much”, and again, it’s not for everybody. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a naturally shy, reclusive, and painfully anxious person, which, by the way, is why I’m so awkward in most interactions. It’s nothing personal, I just have a very hard time being myself around people I’m not comfortable with. Anyway, sorry to get off topic! I’ll just end with the fact that homeschooling suits my personality much better than public schooling.

Describe our family in your own words (you have total amnesty!).
I love our family so much. I think we’re very dynamic people, with a ton of strengths and weaknesses, and that’s what I love about us. I think we all tend to be a little moody, but I think that makes us have more colorful personalities and enhances our unique traits. I really hope that didn’t come off too big-headed or anything like that! (I didn’t bribe him to say that!)

You also play in a rock band called Innocent Posture. How does your rock music fit into or complement your interest in film scores?
I go through music phases all the time, I’ll go for a month or two with Hans Zimmer constantly playing on my iPod, and then all of a sudden, U2 sounds like the greatest thing ever, and then it’s goodbye film scores! I think I would get way to burnt out on film scores if they were all I listened to. It’s good to have differing choices in the music you listen to, and I’m sure it’s the same with anything else, like books and movies.

Best rock band ever?
Well anybody who knows me well would say this before I did. Let’s just say that the name starts with a Co and ends with a ldplay. I’m also a huge fan of the Goo Goo Dolls, which is a fantastic band that have been around for years. I highly suggest you listen if you haven’t heard of them.

As you know, we’re crazy film fanatics! Name your Top Five movies of all time.
Meet Joe Black – Tons of people say this movie is terrible, but I honestly don’t think they saw the same movie as me. I love this movie so much. It’s extremely different and Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins do a great job.
The Dark Knight – I don’t think I even need to say anything here. Obviously one of the greatest masterpieces ever. I can literally find nothing wrong with the movie, not even little, tiny, nit-picky things.
Brokeback Mountain – I can’t stand people who make fun of this movie for being “gay” and think it’s funny. Yes, it’s about two gay men, but the movie overall is about love and the complications it brings. People can be so ignorant that it really just ticks me off, but anyways, this movie is phenomenal and extremely deep.
Candy – This is an independent film from Australia, made in 2006. It has Heath Ledger (who if you can’t tell already, I’m a fan of) and Geoffrey Rush, and it’s just a fantastic movie. I can literally watch it over and over again. It’s very hard to find and I had to special order a copy on Amazon, but I really recommend it to everybody.
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – This is a movie where I think just about everything went right. I really love the fact that it spans a lifetime and that it’s just such a unique story with so many hidden meanings and themes.

What are some of the qualities you’d like to find in a perfect-for-you girl?
Oh god. I’m blushing right now while reading this and I don’t know why! I would just have to say that she would have to understand and complement me very well. She would have to understand that sometimes, I just want to be left alone or that sometimes I really just don’t feel like talking. That’s all that comes to mind right now.

Name one thing a lot of people probably don’t know about you.
One thing that people don’t know about me is that I can be an extremely cynical person. I fully acknowledge it and am working on it. I don’t know why, I think it’s just my personality, but I have a slightly pessimistic view towards many things. I’m definitely not one of those people that is optimistic all the time, but I’m trying to be better about it.

Thing you are most looking forward to this year.
Well I can’t name one so I’ll name several. As many of you know I am really into music and video games, and 2010 is looking to be a great year for both. Specifically, I’m really looking forward to the Goo Goo Dolls new album in the next few months, which will be their first in about four years. I also am excited to see where my film score music takes me and how the second book in the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy does. I’m telling all of you reading this right now, while book 1 was really really REALLY good, book 2 is 10 times better. (I didn’t bribe him to say that, EITHER!)

One of our favorite family traditions is movies and ice cream at home on Saturday night. What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?
If anybody ever comes across the ice cream flavor Pandemonium, put that in your mouth right away. That’s all I’ll say.

What scares you most about your generation? What inspires you to have hope in them – and yourself?
Oh lord, well I guess the fact that we are so selfish and mindless that when we get to the critical point with war and the environment and all of the problems we face now, most of my generation will not do anything. I really believe thing’s are going to get worse, and maybe that’s just my pessimistic side speaking, but we really have to act on the problems going on in the world, specifically the environment. I recently heard that we have four more years to reduce our carbon footprint before all the damage we’ve done is irreversible and the world will change on a massive level. I just hope that when the time comes, my generation proves me wrong. Sorry if that was very depressing!

Place you’d most like to travel to in the future and why.
Three places: New Zealand, Italy, and Jerusalem. I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand since I saw the Lord of the Rings movies, which were shot there. It looks like such a beautiful country, and to be there in person must be breathtaking. I want to go to Italy and Jerusalem because I’ve played in those cities in the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise, and they look gorgeous. I’m also extremely fascinated by their architecture, and I really really like the canals that run through Venice. I want to pilot a gondola!

What do you think or hope your life will look like in five years? In ten?
I won’t go into specifics. I’ll just say that I hope I am doing something professionally that makes me happy. That’s always been my number one thing in life, because I do not want to be stuck with a career that I don’t like. What’s the point in that? I think happiness is what we’re all searching for, and I hope that in five or ten years I have it.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie permalink
    January 7, 2010 8:16 pm

    hey! awesome interview. I’m glad to see my pictures went to good use :]
    Kenny, you are an amazing musician. I wish you only the best with everything you do and hope you don’t forget about me when you’re famous! LOL!

    • January 7, 2010 8:58 pm

      Lol I wonder who this is? Lol I won’t forget you. You could be my roadie or something 🙂 lol.

  2. January 7, 2010 1:00 pm

    I agree 100% about “stand alone piano”. I wish I could play (she says as she eyeballs the piano standing in the corner of the room) and I started lessons last year but had to stop (hope to start back up this month). I just love piano.

    I had to laugh.. the Goo Goo Dolls were around when *I* was in highschool. I thought they’d gone forever and yet I learn here that they are coming out with a new album. The things you learn from today’s Young People.

    Kenneth does not sound like a Young People though, he sounds much wiser and level headed than most adults!

    I work for the Dean in the music faculty at one of the top Universities in the world (and my country) and we’re looking into a music for video games type course thing. It’s slow coming, but hopefully this will be something that comes to fruition in the next few years. It’s a huge industry right now and a lot of our Music Tech students are interested. (And of course when I say “we” I mean “them” since all I do is schedule meetings and organize the Dean’s life. heheh).

  3. Rebecca permalink
    January 7, 2010 1:00 am

    hey this interview made me feel not alone more not so different, kenneth you sound to be a special person, who i know few people like, i am young also, seventeen i often find it hard to show my true opinion you mentiond just a few things which i completely agree with you! young peoples attitudes changing more and more i often find it hard to fit in with friends, yea underage drinking etc…. omg the part about teenagers being selfish and ignorant, not trying to sound mighty, very similar to what i often say yet no one my age understands, they rather call it fun! Its gud to know there are people like you who also agree, i listened to your music for the prophecy of the sisters, definately perfect, you are surely talented, i love piano i sometime try teach myself, not that good though i wish to be one day. please reply if you read this 🙂

    • January 7, 2010 8:57 pm

      Thanks for commenting! I’m glad you liked the interview and that it made you feel like you’re not the only one. It’s hard to stick to your beliefs, especially when you’re surrounded by people with conflicting principles, but I believe it’s much better to be who you are and not who others want you to be. It may be hard to be one of the only kids in school who doesn’t fit the typical teenage stereotype nowadays, but don’t worry, there are more of us out there! Lol but seriously, it’s very nice to find someone else like me. I agree, people who can only have fun drinking, doing drugs, and sleeping around etc. all the time obviously have to re-prioritize what they call “fun”.And I’m very glad you like the music 🙂 One way to get better at piano, and I think this goes for many other things, is learn things from people you admire. Obviously I know a whole bunch of Coldplay songs on piano. If you practice things that you enjoy, it makes you that much better at what ever you are practicing, because you are putting your all into what you are doing. If you want to learn piano go for it! Thanks again for commenting!

      • Rebecca permalink
        January 9, 2010 7:28 am

        aw thx for the reply, i didnt fully expect one, omg! you wana come to new zealand, (is where i live) i jst watchd lord of the rings tonight haha weird, i couldnt get into it hmmm.. watching the rest in the morning. we shd so be pen pals, lol visit me in new zealand lmao. i really wana learn clair de lune on piano, hmm can you play that. OooO and lovers in japan by coldplay wud be cool?..
        Rebecca

  4. jen permalink
    January 6, 2010 10:37 pm

    I really enjoyed this interview and had to sit back and think about it for awhile. Michelle, you are raising a wonderfully, sensitive human being. Kenneth, I think it’s amazing that you, at your young age, funnel so much of yourself into what you are creating. Music has a way of moving people in a way that in my opinion, nothing else does in quite the same fashion. I really envy you that outlet. I’ll be looking forward to hearing more of your work. What you have produced already is incredible!

  5. January 6, 2010 9:35 pm

    Great interview! You have a very talented son – I know you’re very proud!

  6. cubistx3 permalink
    January 6, 2010 9:31 pm

    Nice interview. I love Assassin’s Creed 2, the music really makes the game. The landscapes and setting is amazing. I am going to have to find that Ice Cream. I love movie scores. My favorite right now is “Let The Right One In” it is a vampire movie. However, if you see it you are going to want to find the version that says “Subtitles -Theatrical”. They changed the subtitles in the DVD/Blu-Ray U.S. release, if you can find a U.K. copy of the Blu-Ray and have a PS3 it will play on it. The PS3 is region free. We watched the movie on the U.S. Blu-Ray then heard about the difference and watched it again when my U.K. copy showed up. Totally different movie. Great interview, Kenneth sounds like he has a good head on his shoulders and is very smart. You obviously have done a great job with your son Michelle.

  7. Rose Huston permalink
    January 6, 2010 9:15 pm

    Wow, Kenneth. You sure have grown to be a complex and amazing person. I appreciate your honesty in how you view your own generation. I think you’ve pin pointed the problems and now you can use your voice to make a change. Your message will spread wider than you think it will and your opinions matter!
    Take care, and I know you’ll be successful at whatever you put your heart into!
    Rose
    (you’re old friend, Kharey’s Mommy)

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