Standish913.com has been blessed to do an exclusive interview with...
"Andrew Scott Bell"
Los Angeles based composer Andrew Scott Bell grew up in upstate New York where he found himself taking dance, ballet, and piano lessons.
When his parents bought the two-disc Forrest Gump, Andrew gravitated to the final track, “Forrest Gump Suite,” by composer Alan Silvestri. “I remember hearing the track and lightning sparks going off in my brain,” Bell recalls. So, he listened to it over and over again until he learned how to play it on piano.
Through piano, Bell began writing his own pieces of music. “I would sit at the piano and come up with a movie,” he says. “I’ve just always wanted to be part of storytelling, and music is the way I approach that.”
Life eventually took him to Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, where he studied classical orchestration, music theory, and composition. He began scoring films in 2009. In 2015, he finally moved to Los Angeles where he scored Rocket, a short film that won him a Student Academy Award the following year.
Since then, he has earned credits for NBC’s Home Sweet Home by Ava DuVernay, Deathcember, Lifetime's Psycho Storm Chaser, and Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey. Andrew's compositional style has been described as an amalgamation of Bernard Herrmann and Hans Zimmer: a dynamic fusion of neo-romantic harmonies and the power of modern film scoring techniques. A multi-instrumentalist, Andrew records his own violin, cello, trumpet, and clarinet parts layering them dozens of times to bring a visceral human connection to his music.
Andrew was commissioned to write an opera based on Nobel Peace Prize winning author Elie Wiesel's award winning play, The Trial of God, which premiered in November, 2021.
Let's get into some exclusive questions...
STANDISH: You are composer for "Winnie The Pooh: Blood & Honey", tell us how you landed that job?
ANDREW: Thank you. I remember hearing about the film around town in the LA horror community and thought the prospect of scoring a Winnie-the-Pooh horror movie seemed like a lot of fun. Just as the film was starting to go viral, I looked up Rhys the director on Instagram where he was posting screenshots of comments saying he’s ruining their childhoods. In one of his posts, Rhys responded saying “My goal is to ruin the entire world’s childhood” and I responded to his post by saying “Can I help you with that?” We took the conversation forward from there.
STANDISH: With landing the "Winnie The Pooh: Blood & Honey" role, would you say that it's opened new doors for you?
ANDREW: I think so, yes. People have really responded to my work in that film and it’s been wonderful to meet and connect with so many fans who genuinely seem to appreciate my work. It seems my music in that film has become almost a calling card of sorts. I feel very fortunate.
STANDISH: I saw "Winnie The Pooh: Blood & Honey 2" was being worked on, are you going to compose it?
ANDREW: I’m certainly planning on it. There are still details to iron out before we make any official announcement on that, but I speak with Rhys and Scott about the sequel almost every day. We’re in constant contact.
STANDISH: Tell us a little about your overall mission, Andrew -
ANDREW: Overall, I just want to bring my joy of music to those who listen to my work – especially classical orchestras. I always try to remember that the active verb for music is “to play.” So to me, music and my work in film is about being playful and finding joy in every bit of music I write.
STANDISH: You were composer in NBC's "Home Sweet Home", can you tell us more about this landing
ANDREW: Yes thank you. During the pandemic, a social media app called Clubhouse really took off. It is a voice only app to have group conversations which was a way we could all feel social from within our own homes. The short version of the story is that I met Ava DuVernay on Clubhouse at the right time when she was looking to hire a composer for her NBC show, Home Sweet Home. Something about my work and my attitude toward music must have resonated with her because I was hired the very next week to begin work on the series. It was a joy to work on and I feel eternally grateful she took a chance on me and gave me that opportunity.
STANDISH: You were composer for "Psycho Storm Chaser", can you tell us more about this landing?
ANDREW: I loved working on Lifetime’s Psycho Storm Chaser. I had worked with director Buz Wallick once before and we really had a wonderful time working together. So when it came time to find a composer for his next project, he called me first. It was such a fun movie to work on. I really enjoyed writing the leitmotifs and themes that musically weave throughout the score.
STANDISH: You've got more than 75+ iMDb composer credits, what's been your favorite work?
ANDREW: It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I feel like each new film I work on becomes a favorite project of mine. I’m very excited for people to see the latest film I scored, TENANTS. I’m sure that will be releasing somewhere soon and the soundtrack will have a coordinated release as well.
STANDISH: What can we look forward to in the future from you?
ANDREW: The film I mentioned before, TENANTS, is one I’m particularly excited for. That is an anthology horror film in which each apartment unit has its own horrific story all of which are of course tied together by a mystery wraparound story. I also just finished a feature horror film called Canldewood that I’m excited for audiences to see. I stretched myself musically for that film and explored some really interesting and layered atmospheric textures in the music.
STANDISH: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
ANDREW: That’s such an interesting question. Honestly I hope I’m just still working on films that I find fun to work on with people I enjoy working with. Hopefully that also means my career is growing and progressing forward but honestly, I just hope I’m still finding joy in my work and not taking my career for granted.
STANDISH: Who are some of your mentors?
ANDREW: My musical sensibilities are heavily influenced by the scores of Bernard Herrmann, James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Alan Silvestri, James Newton-Howard, Christopher Young, and so many more. In terms of mentors, I’ve certainly had a few throughout my career. I studied classical composition and orchestration in college and the professors I studied privately with shaped my early steps in composing in ways I’ll never forget.
When I first moved to LA, I took an internship with composer Joseph Trapanese. I learned so much from my short time with Joe. Mostly it was just inspiring to see the fine tuned machine of a working Hollywood composer up close. He taught me that there’s no such thing as writer’s block. You just have to write the next measure of music. And then the next one, and the next one, and so on.
Lastly, I worked as an assistant to composer Alex Wurman. I took so much away from my time with Alex. He really instilled in me the importance of finding my own voice and not settling for the easy solution to a musical problem. He expanded my work ethic and drive, and inspired me to always strive to craft a personalized, signature sound in my music.
STANDISH: During COVID, we all faced struggles, what was one of your main struggles?
ANDREW: I found it really hard to feel motivated and driven, at least at first. The whole experience just seemed frightening here in LA. But as the pandemic progressed, I channeled those feelings into my creative work and wrote an opera during lockdown.
STANDISH: Where can fans find your work?
ANDREW: My soundtracks are on most music streaming apps: Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Pandora etc. Chances are if you’re using a music app, at least some of my soundtracks are on there somewhere.
STANDISH: Anything you'd like to include?
ANDREW: Just a general thank you for the interview. I’ve enjoyed speaking with you. Thank you for the thoughtful and insightful questions.
STANDISH: What are your social links?
Thanks so much for your time!
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