Composer Spotlight: Michael Yezerski

Michael Yezerski

Today, we spotlight the work of composer Michael Yezerski whose current projects include this week’s premiere of HBO Documentary Films’ ‘Only the Dead See The End Of War.’

Biggest non-musical influences that have impacted your work

I am always looking for inspiration in the non-musical world. The visual arts are probably the leading contender here – specifically painting. There are several Australian painters who I have grown up admiring like William Robinson and John Coburn. These are artists who have painted something local and beautiful which has caught the attention of the world. They have a unique way of looking at things and I think that I do in many ways as well. But then I also love Pollock, Rothko, Lichtenstein, Murakami. I tend to gravitate to contemporary painting.

I find inspiration in those who have broken the moulds be it in architecture, film, art or even food. I’m inspired by groundbreaking work.
What is the most extreme thing you have ever wanted to do, musically speaking?

As someone who spends a lot of time in film land, I guess taking time out to write without picture seems pretty extreme. I’ve been meaning to do it for a long time but then again, I’ve been saying that for years! I feel like I actually have done some pretty extreme things (musically speaking). I’ve often thrown myself in to new and unfamiliar places (both geographical and musical) in pursuit of a sound or a score. I guess nothing compares though to that original choice to actually be a composer and follow this calling. What could be more extreme than that in this day and age?
If you could travel to any period based on the music, when in history would you visit?

That’s so hard to say because there are so many points in history that I’d like to see for myself. Paris at the time of the Debussy and Ravel / New York in the sixties / Australia in the late Sixties and early Seventies. I guess that these are all relatively recent in terms of human history but that should give you an indication of the music that has influenced me the most.

Where is your favorite place to travel? Have these places you’ve traveled ever influenced your work?

Well I live here now but the US was always top of my list. I have always loved the vastness and energy of this place. We took a road trip a few years back across half the country. The way the landscapes changed from one state to another was amazing. I’ve no doubt (now that I’ve moved here) that this place will have an impact on my work.

I do want to spend more time in South East Asia. I went to India for a film a few years back and it was extraordinary. I worked with local folk musicians there (we set up a makeshift recording studio in our hotel!) and we crafted a score together using their own instruments. I’d love to have the opportunity to do something like that again.