We explore the daunting and terrifying world of film composer John Massari. The cult classic “Killer Clowns from Outer Space” is considered to be his break-through, but the cherished American film composer feels at home in a wide range of genres.
DECEMBER 16TH, 2019
In the fifth episode of Inside Sound Minds, we meet John Massari at The Lair Recording Studio (Katy Perry, Mike Posner, All Time Low) in Beverlywood, California. A place he considers his favorite creative space to create music and art. Massari is a cherished american composer that makes music for film and game and is best known for the cult-classic Killer Clowns from Outer Space.
The Beginning of a Successful Music Career
For him it started in childhood, at the age of six he felt that he had to pursue a career in music. His parents never got him an instrument so he built a guitar himself out of a ruler and some rubber-band. It was his mother though that finally brought a piano into the family and Massari started tinkering with it. He realized that he constantly tried to recreate sounds and music from movie nights on this very piano and little by little fell in love with the combination of music and visuals.
The Tipping Point
John Massari then decided to pursue a career in music and went off to the University of California in Los Angeles. He went to school with well-known composers like Christopher Young (Spiderman 3, The Shipping News) and Don Davis (The Matrix Trilogy, Jurassic Park 3) and noticed that he had to find his own voice. Sometimes, it needs a great project for a composer to find his own voice. Luckily he got to work with the Chiodo Brothers for a film called Killer Clowns from Outer Space. They wanted “that classic sound”, but not played by an orchestra so Massari had to recreate that sound with a variety of different instruments and the manipulation of synthesizers helped him to create his signature sound.
"You’re only as successful as the five closest people you’re associated with!"
He‘s a fan of the symbiosis of music software and orchestras and cherishes how both can uplift a soundtrack. While Massari started making music without the support of computers, he is a fan how music software and computers are constantly evolving. His advice for young and aspiring composers: “You’re only as successful as the five closest people you’re associated with!”.
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About this Series
Inside Sound Minds is a series of interviews where we meet musicians, composers, and other friends of UJAM. In these exclusive videos, you get to look behind-the-scenes and hear from the industry’s best. See how they master their art and what tools they use to elevate their creative process to another level. With this series, we hope to inspire you to create your best music.
With CARBON, the ability to create great guitar sounds with amp placement & incredible signal processing becomes so intuitive and rewarding. I’m proud to have this in my DAW.
– John Massari, Film Composer (Killer Clowns from Outer Space)