Krakower Group Composer Spotlight: Joel Douek

Joel Douek

Today we are excited to spotlight award-winning Composer and Instrumentalist Joel Douek, whose upcoming projects include the film ‘Manhattan Night,’ and the TV series ‘David Attenborough’s Rise of The Animals.’ Joel additionally collaborated with Elik Alvarez and Freddy Sheinfeld for ‘Conquest of the Skies’ which airs this month and ‘Micro Monsters’ which will air in May.

What written work would you most like to compose music for?

Hard to say, since most of the novels I’ve read have already made it to the movies, and anyway I generally read non-fiction. I most like to compose for work that has emotional complexity, where moods are less obvious. Perhaps bringing to life the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke or Khalil Gibran would be a fitting musical challenge. However, I am a sci-fi nut and would certainly revel in an opportunity to score any Phillip K. Dick, Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke or Iain Watson!
Where is your favorite place to travel? Have these places ever influenced your work​?

I’m a big traveler, but probably going to South East Asia (Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia…) made the biggest impression on me. Coming from a multilingual family and then finding myself in these countries where I couldn’t understand a word and where the cultures and traditions are so different on every level, gave me a sense that the world is a much bigger place than I knew. It opened things up for me and made me want to discover and learn more. Together with a little African drumming group I was in during high school, I think this is what led me to my love of World Music and for it to become a kind of speciality.

​Best concert or musical appearance you’ve ever seen?

When I was about 16, I went to a Wayne Shorter concert at the Sultan’s Pool, an ancient amphitheater just beyond the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem. At some point during the concert there was a power cut but rather than stop playing, the drummer (Dave Weckl) launched into a momentous 15 minute solo, without any amplification. It was brilliant and mesmerizing. When the power returned, the rest of the band joined in seamlessly and with huge impact, as though the whole thing had been planned that way. Just a wonderful moment in music time.
What’s your composing method? (a) sitting at a piano (b) computer (c) pencil on manuscript paper (d) improvisation with musicians (e) other

For most of my orchestral and hybrid projects, I’ve generally been at the midi keyboard composing directly into the computer. I recently bought a lovely piano, the first time I’ve owned a real one since I was a kid, because I’ve been on the move so much. So for recent work such as for the film Manhattan Night, I wrote pretty much the whole score just sitting at the piano. I think it helped focus the ideas better. Sometimes at the computer one can get lost in choices & the demands of the workstation.