An Interview with Music Producer and Composer, Ignacio Zas
Ignacio Zas is a music producer and composer based in Los Angeles, California. Originating from Uruguay, he is now an established composer in one of the world’s best cities for music. Here, we chat with him about his work and his position in SOUTH Music and Sound, one of the top music production companies for advertising.
What does a day in the life of a Composer look like?
Well, in my case, it usually starts with getting into the studio and reading the creative briefs for the week. I then map out how I’m going to be dividing the time for each job. Given that I make music for advertising, we have a very limited time frame to write music (usually a couple of days, if that). So, making a plan to split my time efficiently is essential.
Then I generally watch the picture we’re given to work on each spot and get off to work!
Occasionally, we will ‘pre-score”, which means we write the music without the picture. This process gives me a little more flexibility in terms of how far I can take the music, but it can also prove to be the most challenging way to compose.
I then dive into writing and start sketching out my ideas. This is usually the most fun and playful part of the process, as this is where all the main melodies and hooks are created.
I’ll work on giving the piece a certain structure, usually making sure the music perfectly scores and matches the picture and then proceed to really flesh out the instruments and sounds.
Lastly, I’ll mix and master the music. This part is incredibly important and it can also be extremely creative. Clients will sometimes request that a piece sounds like it’s coming out of a radio, or perhaps will want an orchestra to sound like it’s being played on Vinyl. Sometimes, they’ll even request that the music sounds like a high-fidelity pop production. It’s a technical and sometimes hard process, but it is immensely fun to do.
You went from being in bands as a guitar player to working as a musician who composes and records music for pictures, in genres spanning from Hip Hop and electronic music to orchestral. Was this a hard transition?
Honestly, it felt like the natural path to take. There was something about writing music to picture that I found incredibly captivating. Certain boundaries can be pushed a lot more when working with a band, but with picture, there can sometimes be constraints that require the music to follow what the picture is doing, without getting in the way of conveying a feeling or a story.
With time I became more proficient and confident about writing in different genres, to the point where I’m always hoping we will get some crazy brief that involves having to really push the limits of my musicality. I love to get out of my comfort zone. That’s the beauty of music, there’s always more to explore and learn.
How is it being a music producer and composer for such an established company, like SOUTH Music and Sound? Is the pressure ever too much?
It’s a great privilege. I get to work on some of the best spots out there, with some of the most interesting and creative people in the business.
That said, it can definitely be a high-pressure scenario. Expectations are always high, but with time, I’ve learned to enjoy the pressure and not feel overwhelmed by it.
I always try to use pressure as inspiration to get better at what I do and often, I find that by being immersed in such a fast-paced, high-stakes industry, I’m pushed to get better and expand my toolkit. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way.
What does the future hold for you?
Well, we’re currently gearing up for Super Bowl season, which is always a great deal of fun, even though it involves crazy workdays and lots of pressure. As always, I’m looking for ways to collect more instruments and sounds, so I’m looking at getting some exotic instruments in the studio to play with and keep the inspiration flowing. It’s like being a kid in a candy store! Who knows what interesting sounds will be heard on my future work!
Thanks, Ignacio, can’t wait to hear what the future brings!