Interview with Music composer James Warren Morris

Today on What On What’s Good with Jovin Tardif, my guest is James Warren Morris. James is a Composer, Orchestrator, and Arranger and has a Masters of Music in Scoring for Film, Television, and Video Games from Berklee College of Music. He has composed for a variety of short films and documentaries in a variety of genres including comedy, science fiction, and drama, among others. His compositions combine complex orchestration and melodies mixed with the organic sounds and strong counter melodies that he brings from his jazz background. James often utilizes electronic elements in his music to bring a cutting edge sound to the soaring melodies that are present in the music. In my opinion, you are the future of music in film.


1. Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Well, I played music all through high school, really focusing on jazz music. I had a small jazz combo that played gigs in the Toronto area. Ever since I was young, I had always wanted to write music for the picture. Originally, I wanted to do jingles and T.V. spots. I graduated from Humber College with my Bachelor’s in Music where I focused on jazz performance and recently graduated from Berklee College of Music for my Masters of Music: Scoring for Film, Television and Video Games.

2. What made you want to go into music?

Music has always been such a big part of my life. I started teaching private saxophone when I was young, and always loved gigging and jamming with my friends. The biggest influences, I would say, would be my instructors. They pushed me to be the best player I could be and really challenged my way of thinking about music. This constant pursuit to breakdown new barriers, to incorporate innovative ideas, while simultaneously integrating the language of the great musicians and composers from the history of music is something that has always intrigued me, and has ultimately pushed my love of music.

3. Do you have a favourite instrument and why?

I would say, that no one instrument would be my favourite. Each instrument has its own unique timbre which lends itself to expressing unique ideas and emotions through its specific voice. Interesting orchestration comes from how one combines those individual voices, blending into new textures. This, I would say, is a big part of my compositional process. My orchestration and composition process is very closely linked, and as such, searching for interesting textures plays a big part in my compositions. Textures can elicit a variety of emotional responses, but my goal is to always use these textures to accent the intended emotional response of the picture.

4. What is your dream job in the industry?

It sounds cheesy, but every project I work on I see as a blessing. I always view the project as a blank slate, working closely with the production team and director to further the project’s goals. I always see each project as a new challenge and love working on every production.

5. Where can we hear samples of your music?

You may listen to my Soundcloud

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Jovin Tardif
Jovin Tardif is a freelance writer, storyteller, interviewer, reviewer and conversation starter.