After chatting about all things music with Katherine Beggs and Adonis Tsilimparis, it’s now Mark Roos’ turn. The third creative mind behind Cutting Room Music, Mark has a long and busy career in the music industry. An award-winning composer, Mark Roos is a true veteran in the business, and has worked on some major projects over the years, including Keeping Up With the Kardashians, American Pickers, Snapped, Murder One, and Amazon Prime’s Trending Crimes. He’s also worked on musical projects for Microsoft XBox and Pixar, and has served on the Board of The Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL). Today, we’re sitting down with Mark to pick his brain about his musical beginnings, favorite composers, new projects in the pipeline, and more.
First, tell us a bit about your background and what got you into music.
My earliest encounter with music was in Vienna, Austria, when I was 5 years old. According to my father, who did not usually exaggerate, he took me to go see Mozart’s Magic Flute, and when I came home I said that that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t know what a composer was back then, obviously, but according to him, that’s when I decided I wanted to play music. My parents told me that if I wanted to pursue this, I’d have to take lessons at least once a week until I was 18. So, I thought about it for about three weeks, and then I came back and said I was in. I took piano lessons every week when I lived in Austria, and then continued learning when we lived in the U.S. My teachers would come to the house to teach me, and my mom was always there by my side to encourage me. She took notes during classes, and made sure I was disciplined and accomplished all the assignments, so really, I owe my musical career to my mom.
You’ve had a long and fruitful career, and probably worked on a lot of music over the years. Is there a project that holds a special place in your heart?
Not to sound smug, but they’re all good, honestly, at least to me. I love all the projects I’ve worked on, and enjoyed working on them at the time, so I can’t really pick just one, sorry.
Any exciting projects you’re currently working on, or anything interesting in the pipeline (that you can tell us about)?
Yes! I’m looking forward to scoring the second season of Amazon Prime’s Trending Crimes, along with Katherine and Adonis. We’re all very excited about that. According to the director and producer, they’re already done shooting the episodes, so we should be getting into post-production this fall and start working on the soundtrack.
What do you think is special about CuttingRoomMusic? What makes you stand out from the competition?
What I really love about working with Katherine and Adonis is that we’re able to meld all our different musical perspectives and influences into the individual project we’re working on. With the three of us working on the same task, the music just takes on a different life, one that it would not take if we were working alone. Adonis and I have worked together for over 10 years on different projects, so it’s fantastic to have a company together and do this ‘officially.’ Then, with Katherine’s added talent and fresh perspective, the results are just amazing, every time. Our clients also really like the idea that we’re a team, and not just an individual composer. They like to know that there are three of us working together on the project, making sure we execute their vision and help them connect to their audiences.
What’s it like working with Katherine and Adonis within CuttingRoomMusic? Are your styles similar or very different? Do you ever disagree when working on projects, and how do you make it work?
We’ve never disagreed on projects, to be honest. How we make it work is we start with a specific scene or project in a very seamless and organic way. One of us will, for instance, take an initial motif, then the next person will add their unique take, then maybe Katherine will add some voices, so everyone contributes. It’s really a collaborative process where we inspire each other and each adds our own creativity.
Now we want to get to know you a little bit better. Who are your favorite musicians or composers? Who inspires you?
My favorite composers are Beethoven and Bach. I also love Haydn, Mozart, Ravel, and lots of other classical composers. On the other end of the spectrum, I also enjoy Neue Deutsche Härte, a subcategory of industrial metal that originated in Germany and Austria in the 1990s and early 2000s. The most well-known band in this genre is obviously Rammstein, a band that I really enjoy. I also recently discovered a new band called Sleep Token. Their cords and writing are completely different from everything else that’s out there, to my ears at least. They don’t follow the usual chord progressions, so it’s very refreshing and unique.
Where do you get your inspiration when writing/composing music?
Honestly, my inspiration lies in the project and the deadline. There’s really no inspiration like having to complete a project for a client. Basically, when you’re writing and composing music all day, every day, and you do it year in, year out, it almost becomes second nature. Whether it’s jazz, pop or classical, I’m able to be very versatile and adapt to the specific requirements of the project very easily.
Can you tell us which are your favorite movie soundtracks or scores?
The one that completely rocked my boat was 1995’s Batman soundtrack, by Elliot Goldenthal. I was in graduate school when I first heard that. At the time, like many other composers back then, I was playing music in a band. We were supposed to go on the road for two years, but my first daughter had just been born, and I didn’t really want to be away from my family for that long. I also saw the monetary benefits of working as a composer rather than a musician in a band. But the most important benefit was that composer work allowed me to stay home and be with my family.
What’s your favorite musical instrument?
My favorite instruments are piano first, guitar second. I really love classical piano, and we even have a grand piano here at home. I do also like playing bass, so those are my top three favorite instruments.
What’s one movie, TV show, or musical project that you would have loved to be a part of?
I would have loved to work on Netflix’s Dark series. The soundtrack by Ben Frost is amazing, they’ve done such a good job. The strings were recorded in Krakow, and a lot of the other production took place in Belgium, I believe. It’s a beautiful soundtrack and I would have loved to have been a part of it.
Interested in working with Mark and Cutting Room Music? Reach out to us and tell us about your musical project.