Getting to grips with composing music for film with SAE Glasgow student Linus Johnsson

10 Dec 2019

We spoke to SAE Glasgow Audio Production student Linus Johnsson about his composition work, and his long term ambition to create Audio for films. 

What made you decide to study at SAE? 

I have wanted to study at SAE for a long time, but I was stuck working a 9-5 job for way longer than I should have. Eventually I quit to try and develop my music further so I took two courses at Stockholm University in music theory and film music. I had been looking at SAE in Stockholm for a while but when my girlfriend said she wanted to move to Scotland I didn’t think twice and applied.

How has your study at SAE assisted you with your composition so far? 

The first trimester has made my mixing knowledge a bit wider and how to use different recording techniques which I’m very excited about, to be able to record and use real musicians and record my own pianos. I’m sure my knowledge will just continue to broaden as we continue in the next trimester. 

Who are some of your main musical influences? 

That’s a hard one, but I'd have to say that Burial is probably my biggest ever influence and the biggest reason that I got into producing music in the first place. My influences tend to change a lot over the years and lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Ólafur Arnalds, Nils Frahm and I’m currently working on a Cyberpunk/Synthwave inspired concept album so I’m listening to a lot of that kind of music as well right now.

What’s your creative process - how do you come up with the idea for a track, and how do you make it happen? 

I usually picture a scene playing out and try to establish a sort of mood for that, usually by improvising on the piano very mediocrely. Sometimes I just experiment with sound design and work out a song from that and sometimes, but very rarely, I have a clear picture of what I want to make from the beginning.

Where have some of your projects been used? 

My royalty-free music has mostly been used as background music on some YouTube channels, some cinematic time lapse videos and such. The weirdest place I’ve found my music was on a german power tools-unboxing channel. Sadly I don’t always get notified where or how the music is being used.

How would you describe your music in a sentence? 

Cinematic, atmospherical and hopefully emotive.

Are you set on composing for films/games, or is there another area of the music industry you’d like to work in? 

The goal is to make music for films and/or games but my background in production lies within electronic genres like drum and bass, garage and dubstep and I do still produce that occasionally. As for work it would be very interesting to work with any kind of audio in the film industry.

What are your long term career ambitions and do you have any idea how you might realise them? 

To be able to sustain myself financially partly by writing music, hopefully that will be by making music for films and I do believe I am on the right path, being a student at SAE Glasgow will surely help as there is a film class here as well that I’m hoping I can collaborate with on some projects.

Visit Linus’ website to find out more