Friday, August 17, 2012

Sonic Branding: An Interview with Ari Kessler Creator of Apocalypse of John's Live Soundtrack

Ari Kessler: Composer, Lyricist, Pianist, Band Leader, and all around great guy sits down  answer 5 questions about the Serious Theatre Collective's FringeNYC hit, "The Apocalypse of John ".

1. Ari, you're the lead Aural Specialist for the Serious Theatre Collective. How does that make you feel?

I've always prided myself on my aural abilities, though I do have reservations about this title.

2. Reviews have likened the music in the show to a sort of "live soundtrack". How does that description compare/contrast with what you were going for? 

The music for A of J has always been more in line with the idea of a soundtrack than a traditional musical accompaniment. The live band is a part of the show's world, and so its job is to interact with the characters and act as a sort of guide to the audience as the plot zips through locations and scenarios.

3. Tell us about how you created the music for the show.

The main theme, "Kiss My Ass Goodbye", was written as a stand-alone song way back in the early stages of the script when we were still treating it as a traditional musical. Once we decided on the role for the band, though, the song became a motif for the Upstairs bar and for John in particular. That led me to write themes for the other main characters, and during rehearsals things settled into place organically.

4. What do you do when you're not playing music for the theatre?

When I'm not playing music for the theater, I'm usually doing something else music-related. Teaching private lessons, teaching classes, playing for classes, playing gigs, gigging for classes, classing for gigs -- you get the idea.

5. After all the excitement for The Apocalypse of John has died down, what will you do next?

After A of J finishes its Philly Fringe run, Lizz and I will go into seclusion to work on songs for a super-secret project, currently codenamed "octopus seahorse-saurus". I've said too much already.

Ari: Play on playa

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