Don’t be fooled by the success experienced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross: successful music composer duos that stand the test of time are rare. Music composer trios are even more of a rare breed, and this is one of the things that make Cutting Room Music stand out.
We want to learn more about what makes Cutting Room Music work, what the day in the life of a music composer/producer looks like nowadays, and what makes each team member tick – musically speaking. We kicked things off by chatting with Katherine Beggs, the youngest member of the team and arguably the busiest. Besides working full-time on musical projects for CRM and her solo work, she is also pursuing dual degrees in music composition and political science at Brown University. Keep reading to learn more about Katherine and what it’s like being part of Cutting Room Music.
Tell us a bit about your background and what got you into music
This is a great question because I honestly was not anticipating doing music professionally even five years ago. I was trained on classical piano, but when I was around 13 I started to write my own pieces. I then started officially composing in a more professional capacity when I was a sophomore in high school. I got into a young composer’s program where I had to compose for my city’s local choir and I truly fell in love with it. As I continued composing throughout the years, I realized that I wanted to continue doing it in college and eventually my career.
Can you tell us about some of the musical projects you’ve worked on since you started out? Is there a project that holds a special place in your heart?
Yes! One of my recent projects that I am particularly proud of is a song that I wrote and sang for called “Wake Up and See the Light.” This was a commission from the company and it was inspired by the events of 2020, including the BLM protests and the Covid response. Although it’s been an extremely dark time, there have been beautiful moments of people coming together and helping one another.
Any exciting projects you’re currently working on, or anything interesting in the pipeline (that you can tell us about)?
So many projects! But I am not sure if I am allowed to discuss them quite yet…But you will definitely hear more about them in the upcoming months.
What do you think is special about CuttingRoomMusic? How do you differentiate from other similar companies or the competition?
What is so special about CuttingRoom Music is that we are truly a team where everyone has an equal voice. I’ve worked for companies as an intern where I felt completely invisible due to my age, but Mark and Adonis treat me as an equal, which is remarkable given the fact that they are established composers who have been doing this longer than I’ve been alive. I think what separates us is that we are a team as opposed to a single composer. We each have different strengths which we bring to the table — so you get triple the amount of talent and labor.
What’s it like working with Mark and Adonis within CuttingRoomMusic? Do you ever disagree when working on projects?
It is truly the best, it has brought me so much joy to work with both of them. Our styles definitely vary, but that is the beauty of it all. We each have our own unique voice and when we combine them, the end product is amazing. I haven’t had any disagreements so far and I don’t anticipate we will! In addition to being great collaborators, Mark and Adonis are also great friends, which makes the team even more special.
Now we want to get to know you a little bit better. Who are your favorite musicians or composers? Who inspires you?
Wow, I have so many so I’ll just name a few. Some of my favorite film composers are Dustin O’Halloran, who did the music for the movie Lion, Siddarhta Khosla who scored This is Us, Rafael River who scored Queen’s Gambit, and Labrinth, who is an incredible solo artist but also did the music for Euphoria. Their music speaks for itself, I would definitely check them out. They have been some of my main inspirations.
Where do you get your inspiration when writing/composing music?
I get a lot of my inspiration for writing music from the artists that I listen to combined with my own life experience. I consume a lot of music and I view my brain as kind of like a computer. I input the information, which is the music I consume, and the output is the music I write. It’s not always a conscious thing, though. Sometimes I will write something and notice that it sounds similar to a song I really love, and I’ll be like “oh that’s where that came from.” I write a lot of music based on what I am feeling, too, or experiences I’ve had, which tend to inspire a lot of my songwriting lyrics. I know a song I write is good when it’s a song I would want to listen to.
What does a day in the life of a music composer look like?
I think my typical day as a composer is somewhat unique because I am also still a college student. I try my best to balance work and school life, though. Typically in a day, we either have meetings as a team or with our clients. I also meet with Mark a lot to work on music and production. A lot of the time is then spent composing independently, too, when I am not in class or doing homework.
What kind of music do you enjoy listening to? Any favorite genres or artists?
I would say my go-to genres of music are pop, indie pop, and RnB. I really love artists with distinctive vocals, specifically. Recently I’ve been appreciating a lot of acoustic music with minimalistic production. Some of my current favorite artists are Mustafa, Ayoni, and Leon, who embody what I mentioned above.
Can you tell us which are your favorite movie soundtracks or scores?
My all time favorite score is Inception (Hans Zimmer), specifically the Time theme, which is incredibly moving and beautiful. The build up is tremendous. I also love the music for the movie Moonlight, which Nicholas Britell scored. The string work on it is amazing. And like I said before, I love the soundtrack to Lion by Dustin O’halloran and Hauschka. The piano melodies are stunning on that score.
What’s your favorite musical instrument?
My favorite musical instrument probably has to be the harp, which I cannot play, unfortunately. I just think the sound is angelic and it’s such a beautiful instrument in itself.
What’s one movie, TV show, or musical project that you would have loved to be a part of?
I would have loved to have worked on This is Us. Not only is the show itself so well done, the music is some of my favorite music on a television series and I love Siddhartha Khosla (like I said before).
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Just that I am so grateful and excited to be a part of this team. I am so proud of the work we have already created and I just can’t wait to see what we do and how we grow in the future.
Interested in working with Katherine and Cutting Room Music? Reach out to us and tell us about your musical project.