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Film and television composer Sunna Wehrmeijer talks about her writing process, the composers who inspire her and how working with Audio Network gives her creative freedom and the opportunity to record with some of the best musicians around
Can you tell us about your musical journey and how you first became interested in composing?
I was always coming up with tunes since around the age of five, and I ended up studying composition for media in the Netherlands, but it wasn’t until I went to LA after that and attended UCLA filmscoring that I fully realised this is what I wanted to do for a living.
I’ve always been fascinated by how music fits a mood and, even though I went through phases when I was younger where I thought I perhaps wanted to be a performing musician, it made much more sense that I ended up being a film composer.
It still thrills me how music and picture fit together, and also I actually get way too nervous to be able to be a performer myself – I’m happiest by myself, writing in a studio and handing over parts to incredibly talented musicians who bring the music to life.
What are some of the major influences on your music and who are some of your favourite composers?
Among my favourite film composers are Alan Silvestri, Bruce Broughton, John Williams, James Horner and James Newton Howard. I worked for the latter for several years, and I can definitely count him as influential.
Watching him work has taught me a lot about interacting with filmmakers and making sure they get what they’re looking for. The way he reads a scene is quite extraordinary. Whenever I’m stuck on anything and I can’t immediately solve it, I always think: what would James do?
Can you describe your process for writing for film/TV vs a standalone album?
I find it easier to write for film and TV as there’s the picture right there telling me what to do, and which turns to take. When I do an album for Audio Network, I’m thinking about what the track should be, how it would be most useful to Audio Network, what the best structure is, etc. Once I’ve given that some thought, I can just have fun with it and see where a tune takes me. The freedom is a fun break from being tied to images that normally point me in a certain direction.
Can you discuss any upcoming projects or collaborations that you are excited about?
As a composer, the sequel to Monster High: The Movie was a blast as I was able to revisit some of my themes from the first Monster High movie. It’s out now on Paramount+ and Nickelodeon. I also revisited being the solo vocalist on The Hunger Games franchise – you can hear me on The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes.
I am in the middle of scoring a series for the Henson Company called Slumberkins – the first batch of episodes is available to watch on Apple TV+ and the new season will land next year.
How has it been working with Audio Network?
I’ve worked with Audio Network for about 10 years now, and it has been fantastic. The whole team is always so kind and helpful, and it’s an amazing opportunity to write music with so much freedom, which suits my style of writing. The recording sessions are always fun and it’s a privilege to have my music recorded by some of the best musicians around.