Composer Spotlight: Mark Rivers

Mark Rivers Spotlight Questions

Favorite Composers

One of my current favorite composers is Carter Burwell. He’s of course done a lot of fairly big films of course, but I was recently watching that little-watched Laura Dern and Mike White show, Enlightened. Carter did a wonderful job of capturing and reinforcing the tone of that world in a way that’s never overbearing. There are some really beautiful cues in that show.

I’ve always liked Jon Brion and Michael Penn as well, probably because, like me, they come from more of a pop rock songwriter background and that comes through in their scores. In my more immediate world I like Eban Schletter, whom I’ve known since the Mr. Show days. He’s a truly gifted guy and an amazing person. In the comedy songwriting world, I really like Mike Phirman. His stuff is hilarious and ridiculous.

Least Favorite Instrument

Plucky strings! Okay, to be clear, I don’t mind pizzicato strings. I used them all the time. But when they’re used in sitcoms to indicate there’s “mischief afoot”… Aaargh! It’s so trite and annoying. I don’t watch many of the major network sitcoms these days, but I know that for a long time plucky strings were a staple. They always send me lunging for the channel changer.

What Makes My Sound Unique

What makes me somewhat unique (more so than my sound, actually) is the fact that I write comedy song lyrics in addition to writing and producing the music. Usually a composer will have lyrics dictated to him by the show’s or the film’s writers, but coming from a comedy writing background, I’ve made a niche for myself as a pretty decent lyricist as well. I suppose most people assume I only write the music, and I guess that’s my little cross to bear.

Posted on September 6, 2018