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Life & Work with Jack Oberkirsch

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jack Oberkirsch. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started? 

My musical journey began for me when I started learning the drums at age 12. From there, I started playing in different rock and metal bands and eventually picked up the guitar as well. At this point in my life, my greatest aspiration was to be a rock star and play huge sold-out festivals all over the world when I grew up. 

Once I turned 16 several years later, I started my first serious band with my friend Gordy called, ‘The Rotten Blue Menace’. This was the first band that I was a part of that was able to play sold-out theater shows here in Denver as well as tour the country and perform in many different cities. When this band eventually parted ways, I was invited to join another local band called, ‘Screwtape’. When I joined, Screwtape was definitely on a similar trajectory as The Rotten Blue Menace and I was able to hop right back into the routine of performing and touring. It seemed that playing in bands and pursuing this lifestyle would be the direction that I would continue to go musically, that is until the COVID 19 pandemic hit. 

In 2020 when the COVID pandemic started, playing in bands was completely de-railed for myself and everyone else in the community. Not only was there no chance of playing shows, but because of the lockdown, musicians could not even get together to rehearse, write, or record. This made playing in bands essentially non-existent and I knew I would have to find a new avenue for making music. 

As I was searching for a new means of making music, I started to realize how important the music that I had heard over the years in my favorite films was for me and decided to learn more about it and figure out if it is something that I might like to pursue. A few months into the lockdown, I had started honing my skills and collecting educational materials/gear. As I learned more and more about it and started practicing writing my own music of many different styles, film composition became a huge part of my life. 

Some of the things that I love about composing music for film are how limitless it can be compared to playing in rock bands as well as how it can give you the opportunity to contribute to someone else’s vision; to someone else’s story. 

Even now, as concerts are finally happening and I have started to play in my bands again, composing music for film will remain a primary focus of mine. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Aside from the daily struggles of being a musician, the main obstacle that I have had to face in my musical journey has been the COVID-19 pandemic and having to essentially re-invent my musical identity. Because playing in bands was hardly possible during the lockdown, I transitioned from being a drummer/guitarist into being a composer/producer. 

This transition has come with many challenges as well as new skills that I have had to learn. Instead of just playing drums or guitar in a band, I am now writing, recording, and producing large pieces of music which can be quite fulfilling, but a little bit intimidating also. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I specialize in writing music for film and media projects of all types. I love using different instruments and influences to compose unique music that has a distinct sound. Something I try to do with my writing is combine musical elements that don’t typically go together such as acoustic world instruments and synthesizer sounds. I view music composition as a limitless art form; therefore, I try not to be restricted by rules or standard ways of doing things. 

When I take on a scoring project, I always keep the director’s vision in mind with everything that I do. If the music I write isn’t working for them, it’s not working at all. One of my favorite aspects of working on a film project is getting a chance to collaborate with different directors and share their vision. I consider myself to be a very adaptable composer and I love trying to write music of all genres, even ones that I am not experienced in. 

With composing, I sometimes use my experience playing in rock and metal bands to incorporate guitar and heavy percussion into my music. This can help to add an aggressive edge to my compositions when necessary. 

I currently have several projects that I’m working on such as writing the music for The Pandemic In Pollyville which is an online miniseries, writing music for my own EP that will be coming out in 2022, and starting to work on the score for a full-length feature film that will be going into production this Spring. 

I look forward to getting a chance to work on these projects and many more to come! 

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
One thing that a lot of people don’t know about me is that aside from composing music for film and playing in bands, I also do recording and production for local artists and bands. 

Working with other musicians to help them get the most out of their music is another thing that I am very passionate about. Recording and producing gives me a chance to collaborate with other local artists while also taking some time to get away from my own music. This is always a very welcome change of pace! 

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Image Credits
Connor Campbell

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