Hit-Monkey Composer Daniel Rojas On Music Themes, Industry Trends, And La La Land [Interview]

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So what’s next on your plate? Is there anything you can share?

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The next few weeks are not so crazy because “Kipo,” “M.O.D.O.K.,” “Hit-Monkey,” and a couple other things that I did were all in a row. So I haven’t had a big break in a little while. So I’m taking a little time to update my studio, update my computer, all these things that need to be done every once in a while.

I’m starting a feature film that is live action, but I can’t share yet what it is, because you know how it is, but it’s a live action feature film. It’s kind of a dramedy. So it’s very different to the things that I’ve been doing and it’s for one of these streaming platforms. So it’ll be there, I think probably either in the summer or fall of next year, but we are going to be scoring it up until about April, I think.

And then after that, I’m going to be starting a show, the … again, I can’t say very much, but it’s going to be on Nickelodeon and Paramount Plus. I think I can share that, which is my first time working with them. So I’m excited about that, but it’s with some people I’ve already worked with before.

So yeah, that’s what’s on my plate for next year as of now and the rest, yeah, I would probably … Like I said, I’m trying to be a little selective, just picking projects that speak to me and things that I feel are moving my career in a direction that I want. So I do have a bit of time if something like that comes up and I’m trying to demo for some things, but as of now, I don’t have a ton fully on my schedule, but it’s also the end of the year. So things really warm up usually when we come back in January.

Okay. So my final question for you. This is going to be completely out of the left field, but “La La Land” … with your jazz expertise, the central question of that movie, there’s a sort of “modern jazz versus traditional jazz” debate kind of going on … What was your personal takeaway from the movie?

That’s a very interesting question. [laughs] I actually, I don’t know if you saw maybe on my bio, but I have a jazz background myself. I went to school for jazz studies in North Texas. I think I’m more of, in that sense, I’m a little more team John Legend personally.

I feel like jazz is an extremely rich art form and that’s why I studied it and I still admire it so much, but I am of the team that I feel like, that music happened for a reason and our job, more than just replicating and being extremely purist about it, I feel like our generation can just take that and move it somewhere else. So I would say I’m more of that team, although I do think it’s necessary to keep the tradition. So I admire musicians that are so meticulous about maintaining the art of Coltrane and Charlie Parker alive. And I think that there’s a big value about that just as there’s a value in museums showing art by Monnet and all these things. I think there’s a value in tradition and safekeeping of that.

But in general, and for myself, I’m more team John Legend in the sense that I want to modernize things and make it more accessible to people. And I think as musicians, I’m of the mindset, I’m not just writing music for myself. I know that there’s a school of people that say, you should just do everything for yourself. I like to do things for people as well. I get gratification by seeing people enjoy the projects I’m working with, whether it is a film or a TV show or just a music album. I like that. I like to share it. I like to see people enjoying the music. So part of what I do, I try to always keep it in mind. I’m doing this for other people too. So that’s kind of my mindset.

“Hit-Monkey” is available now on Hulu.

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