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Interview with Mark Roos

Mark Roos

 Mark RoosThe Vermeers and God’s Square Mile

FSC:  What inspired you to compose film music?

MR:  Not to sound trite or “canned” but the reason I began to become passionate about film/T.V. was because as a kid growing up I was the picked “nerd” among my peers. I didn’t have many friends and music was where I found solace. I’m classically trained and I learned to turn towards music as a way of connecting—connecting with myself, with others and with the world around me. My teens and mid-twenties were filled with the usual rock and roll band aspirations, but as I got older, I returned to classical and symphonic music, finding I had a talent of using music in film/T.V. to connect the viewers with the director’s vision, in turn connecting viewing audiences with their own hopes, dreams and even fears.

FSC:  What distinguishes your music from other composers?

MR:  Most people say that my music, even upbeat compositions have “tension.” There are many, many amazing composers out there, many I deeply admire. One of the things I’ve learned is that there is no “competition” in writing film/T.V. music—every composer has their own voice and carries their own life experiences and histories into their compositions for the screen.

FSC:  What is, to you, the most important thing to convey in your music?

MR:  The most important thing I hope to convey in my music is emotionally connecting the audiences with the stories they are watching. These stories are often amazing, dramatic and joyous and the most important thing I try to connect with is amplifying, or pushing the emotional message to the viewer musically.

FSC:  What is, in your opinion, the best soundtrack to date?

MR:  James Horner’s “Titanic” Soundtrack. The way he incorporated the historical music of the time period in such an emotional and unforgettable way is simply nothing short of genius.  I also really am a fan of James Newton Howard’s score of “The Village.”  That score is hauntingly beautiful, simple melodies, with an orchestration that accentuates the emotion of each scene in the film.

FSC:  If you could compose the music to any upcoming major film project, what would you pick? Why?

MR:  Horror or dark drama. These appeals to me because it is an opportunity to step “outside the norm” and do things musically that normally wouldn’t work in a conventional film, say a children’s movie. You can use sounds and combinations and your own samples to create wonderful sonic textures that really grab the viewers.

FSC:  You compose for so many different mediums, what is your biggest challenge when switching between them?

MR:  Putting myself in the different psychological or emotional space, if you will, that’s required for different mediums, say, between T.V. documentaries and video games, because the audiences are different. They connect with the projects in different ways and it’s my job to be sensitive and aware of that to maximize the project’s message.

FSC:  Ok, are you ready for this?  John Ottman or John Powell?

MR:  John Ottman. Both John’s are amazing, but I identify and try to achieve the same heart-stopping grip his music takes when you watch one of the film’s he’s scored. His chord structure, in my humble opinion, may not be as “polished” as Powell, but somehow the way he infuses his melodies, well, it’s remarkable.

FSC:  Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

MR:  Media, all media, is changing, and there are more opportunities for great composers to find creative ways to express their art. I hope to have scored several feature films and T.V. shows and would love to do another video game soon. Just completed one, it had a 1960’s beatnik vibe—very, very cool to have worked on it.

FSC:  What is the importance of soundtracks in your opinion?

MR:  Usually, it’s the last thing that gets addressed in the creative process and the creatives (director, DP, etc.) are justifiably exhausted. They are usually hopeful and terrified—hopeful that my score will take their project to the next level or terrified that I will ruin it. My job is to listen, REALLY LISTEN to what they are saying, what they are not saying and deliver an outstanding score that will connect their project with their viewers. Do that, and I feel like I’ve had a good day.

FSC:  What has been your biggest challenge in your career so far?

MR:  Keeping up with all of the technological advances, which seem to happen on a daily basis. I need to continue recognizing that having the latest “shiny object” is less important—what really matters is the music. So, that being said, I’ve come to learn that the next piece of software is not going to help the inner creative process that enables me to connect with what’s been shown on the screen. That has to come from inside.

Looking forward to what Mark does next? Visit his site at

Mark Roos

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