Making music for A New York Moment in Brisbane – Rohin Jones, composer

An interview with the composer of Israel Rivera's film, A New York Moment

Q: What made you want to work on this project?

Growing up I watched my mother take her love of movement in dance and pour it into choreography. With no real training at all in either dance or theatre, she would go ahead and recruit about ten friends, and create these highly interpretive, theatrical dance pieces. The night I fell in love with movement my mother was dancing dressed entirely in black and her white mask glowed as bright as the skeleton painted on her track suit under black light. To be given the opportunity to marry my love of dance and music and have two brilliant artists bring a score to life with their movements and expression was what really motivated me to work on this project.

Q: Having not met the dancers before filming and with little creative direction; how did you come up with the concept/story board for the film/music composition?

When coming up with a concept for the piece I thought, instead of locking myself into a compositional framework. Every day I’ll simply dance until I could sing a new melody along to the movement, and then play the same melody on my guitar until I could dance to it. In that way I found the first basic ideas.

Q: Tell us a little bit more about your creative process when putting something like this together?

Once I had spent a month finding the core musical ideas, developing them and teaching myself to play them well, I began exploring all the different ways I could connect them into a flowing piece. When I felt as if I had exhausted my desire to develop the flow, we went into the studio and set up to record a guitar and voice demo. I warmed up for a couple of hours then hit record and called the first take the piece. The rest of the process from that point was piecing together the arrangement and instrumentation which I went through with the steady assistance of Chris Neehause.

Q: Once the piece was filmed, did you get back together to edit the final version, or did you work quite independently?

The score and footage developed side by side throughout the process as Israel and I moved through drafting phase toward a final edit. While the work was done independently, each development inspired the next.

Q: What is it that you love about Brisbane and its creative scene?

One of the things I love about Brisbane's creative scene is most of the people I've met have more than just their own thing going on and are invested in collaborations that stabilise the scene locally.

Q: What is the main thing you took out of this project?

I should have been a ballerina.

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