We made an interview with Danny Cocke on the occasion of releasing his second trailer music album, Verge of Total Chaos, released by Position Music. It’s going to be available for purchase on July 3rd.
Trailer Music News: As an introduction, can you tell me how, why and when did you become a composer?
Danny Cocke: I’ve been writing music and multitrack recording myself playing guitar, bass, and drums since I was 12 years old (though not very well the first year or two hah!). I’ve been obsessed with music since I first started playing. I would come home from school and play/write everyday. My path evolved from playing in bands, signed and unsigned, always very seriously, into producing/recording other bands, all the while continuing my own writing. My love for film scores grew into an obsession over the last five years, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I’ve been focused like a laserbeam on it ever since!
TMN: How did you get into the trailer music business?
DC: I started working with my manager about 4-5 years ago, he was connected to a few trailer houses in LA. I started doing these over-night spec cues for one of the trailer houses pretty regularly. I would get the call at 7pm and they wouldneed the cue by 10am the next morning. It was an adrenaline rush for sure. I only came close to landing one trailer, but otherwise nothing ended up coming from it. It was really great training in writing fast and still having to compete against these really amazing cues/composers. It gave me a collection of cues that I was able to develop and turn into a complete album From The Blue which was released with RipTide Music last year.
TMN: Where do you find inspiration for your music?
DC: I’ve been inspired by film music and artists alike. All the usual suspects; Hans Zimmer, Steve Jablonsky, Paul Haslinger, Clint Mansell, James Newton Howard, Cliff Martinez, etc. Bands/artists like NIN, Bjork, Radiohead, MuteMath, Danny Lohner, Josh Eustis (Telefone Tel Aviv), and plenty more. My inspiration has come less from music these days and more with my interests in the state of the world, the paranormal, space, quantum theories, etc. I think the biggest inspiration I’ve had was my battle with cancer though. I had stage IV testicular cancer that put my life on hold for a year of treatment. It was through that experience and volunteering in the hospital afterward to talk with other cancer patients that I grew so much spiritually and formed an emotional view on life that I’ve put into my music everyday since. Its easy to say this now, eight years later, but if I was offered the choice to go back I would go through the whole cancer experience again just to be who I am today.
TMN: Any favorite trailer/ composer/ trailer music library?
DC: Oh wow, there are so many! I’m always hearing something cool when I’m watchingtrailers. The newest Dark Knight Rises trailers have been really amazing. Obviously the Tron and Inception trailers were pretty game changing. I had been writing in that style a couple years before those trailers had come out, so when I first heard them something clicked for me and it felt very reminiscent of what I was already doing.
TMN: Can you describe the creating process of your new album Verge Of Total Chaos?
DC: This album was a little different of a process for me. I knew that I wanted to expand on my own sound. I shied away from rock and distorted guitar and leaned more towards orchestral or sound design heavy on some cues. I totally tuned out other music and just focused on my own natural instincts, whatever ideas/inspiration would find me. My inspiration really all came from real life events/topics like the state of our world, the future of humanity, quantum physics, the paranormal, the unexplained, the ancient, space, trans-humanism, new science discoveries, conspiracies, you name it. I would constantly have Coast To Coast AM interviews from youtube playing in the background while I was working. Each song title on the new album came from some topic that inspired me while I was writing. It was strange too, by putting myself in my own bubble, it seemed like my antenna was amplified. I would wake up from these huge melodies playing in my dreams and I would run to the piano and that would become thepiece I would start on. It was almost like it wasn’t me doing the writing.
TMN: Which parts of the album are you most proud of?
DC: I’m proud of the whole album but especially proud of little moments that give me chills, even after hearing it so many times. The parts that were me yelling out to space to some distant civilization the plight of our world and asking for help almost, through the emotion in the music. I do think the album was a little bit of a risk though, so it will be interesting to see how it does there out in the world with placements.
TMN: How was the working process with Position Music?
DC: It was really great! The process was very smooth and they were very supportive of what I was doing.
TMN: What are your plans for the future?
DC: I’m scoring my first studio feature film this summer called The Devil’s In The Details with Ray Liotta, Emilio Rivera, and Noel Gulgieme. I’m really excited about it! I’ve been scoring short films along side writing trailer music, knowing that scoring films/video games has always been the end goal. So this is a really cool opportunity! I will start on my third trailer album right after that, and after that… who knows… if we even make it past 2012 😉
TMN: What do you think will be the next big trend of trailer music?
DC: That’s very hard to say! I imagine what’s happening now will continue to evolve. It’s interesting that just in this last year, things have shifted to be much more sound design focused and less musical. I do hope that it won’t drift too far from the orchestral/melodic realm. I love sound design stuff. I love hearing these wicked new sounds, and I love writing those type of cues too, but there’s nothing like a great melody to really move you. The trick is keeping the orchestral sound fresh and new with blending those modern elements. We’ll see though!
TMN: What would you do if zombie apocalypse really happens?
DC: Honestly I’m ready for it! Haha. All of my years of martial arts will finally pay off! But I’m putting my money on the alien thing before the zombie apocalypse (unless our drinking water is filled with “bath salts”). I’ve had so many dreams about UFOs and the alien stuff, I feel it in my bones that something is going to happen with it in my lifetime. Whatever happens, I’m ready for it!
TMN: Thank you!
Verge Of Total Chaos is available to the public for purchase in digital format through iTunes, Amazon and FiXT Store, and as physical CD through FiXT Store. For licensing information, contact Position Music.