Today John is joined by Robert Slavinsky of Shootin’ the Sith to talk with Kevin Kiner, composer of Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars The Clone Wars, Jane the Virgin, Titans, Doom Patrol, Superboy and so much more!
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Transcript by a drunk robot.Transcript
Kevin Kiner Interview
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: All right. Welcome back everybody. We are sitting here today with Kevin Kiner composer. Extraordinary. He’s done stuff you might’ve watched or seen out there. You know, he worked on super bowl back in the nineties which I watched that show as a kid with my dad. He worked on Jane the Virgin he worked
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: My gosh, I think that was the eighties but go ahead.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Late eighties I was, I was like seven and my dad watching that one. We’re done. Walker, Texas ranger. You worked on Stargate, you worked on [00:03:00] Titans and do patrol and star Wars cartoons. So much stuff. Kevin, thank you for coming on. How are you doing tonight?
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: I’m doing great. It’s nice to be here. Hello everyone.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah, I’m so glad you could come on. We, we just, we just broke into the world of talking with, musicians and composers. typically on our show in the last three years, you’ve talked to comic book creators and actors and directors. And then recently we talked to Steve de Blonsky and we have a lot of fun with him.
So we’ve expanded out and said, why don’t we talk to more people who make music for the things we love? And that’s why we reached out to you.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah, guys like Steven, myself are lonely people that sit in a room writing music all day, and so we love to talk.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: That’s awesome. Yeah. I, I’m a huge fan of music. I was in, I started playing drums when I was six and guitar when I was 13 and bass at 14 and played in rock bands and recorded and toured around for awhile and had a ton of fun doing music. So for me, every time I listened to watch a show or watch a movie, I always pay attention to the music in the background cause.
You know, it’s, it’s, it adds the, all the atmosphere of, [00:04:00] of what you’re, you know, taking in. So it’s, it’s exciting for me to talk to people who do that. Cause whereas I wrote like punk songs and rock song, this is a total different world of music.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Right? Yeah, it is. Yeah. I often tell people, I’m not in the music business. I’m in the film and television business. Really. I mean, I write music, I’m a composer, but, I, you know, I don’t write songs and I don’t work with Beyonce, so it’s different, you know.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: yet. You might someday. Maybe you’re right. Our next set for her. I don’t know. so for those out there who, haven’t looked you up or know what you’ve done, do you mind, tell me a little bit about how you got started into composing or what got you, what brought you , into this world.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: yeah, sure. So I started myself. I mean, we’re all different, you know. You know, he started with a classical education. He went to Julliard, I believe, and then, became a kind of a great jazz pianist [00:05:00] and was a session piano player in Hollywood. And then one of his big breaks was jaws. So, you know, I mean, he’s probably the greatest film composer ever. He is actually, not probably, it’s just.
What? He’s a film composer in history. I myself am different. I, don’t come from a classical background, although I, changed my course maybe 25 years ago, but I started off as. in garage band, I mean, I started off as a rock and roller. I was doing led Zepplin and then experimental music, like yes, or queen or whatever.
really, that kind of more complex. Rock led Zeppelin is probably my favorite band of all time. and then I started playing in jazz bands, cause I could read music. and then I went to UCLA. my mom told me I couldn’t be a, a musician because it was a dead end career, and she was correct about that.
, [00:06:00] so I was pretty mad. I didn’t take any music classes. And then I just, probably my sophomore year, I started in the summer working, In music, doing some recording sessions, doing some gigs in Vegas just to supplement my income while I was at university. And, I got a gig as a music director with a group that traveled overseas and a music director is kind of like a conductor, and they also will do the arrangements.
And we were, it was a Vegas style show, so we would have a, you know, from a 13 to 25 piece orchestras, Vegas style orchestra. and it was my responsibility to conduct that band wherever we traveled to. I traveled in Asia a lot, like Tokyo, Philippines, Manila, Jakarta, Indonesia, Thailand, everywhere.
and so my job was to write all of the arrangements for them, and that sort of became. An entryway into composing, [00:07:00] because say if you’re doing an arrangement for, I don’t know, some pop song or a, song, and there isn’t really a string part, but yet, like in Tokyo, we’d have a string section so I’d have to make up a string part for all of the tunes that we were doing that night.
And, and that’s kind of, you’re kind of either an arranger, but you were kind of making up something. So you’re a composer. And that’s what started me in composing, cut to, I got married in the Philippines. I’ve been married 37 years. so that was awesome. so I decided once I got married that I didn’t want to be a road musician any longer.
I came back to, to LA and, and I struggled for about, I was really lucky less than a year. road musicians and in town musicians don’t ever. Cross, , and so I had no connections in, LA. and I had to get started again. I got really lucky and I did a theme for a blooper show [00:08:00] with Don Rickles and, Steve Lawrence.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh cool.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: so I got that and, bunch of producers from that show got their own shows and they took me with them. And within two years I was doing four. You know, network television shows, and that led to super boy and stuff like that. So that’s kind of the course of my career,
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: That’s
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: the early career.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: That’s really cool. So super white was your first, like your first TV show you did for a while, right?
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Well now the blooper show was my first TV show. That was like an 83. and super boy was my first dramatic series. There’s a big difference between, say if you’re doing game shows or blooper shows or reality shows or whatever to doing, dramatic shows where you’re doing underscore for drama and, and that’s kind of a delineation that’s hard to break.
I mean, I. I know guys who do reality shows these days and they can’t get arrested in doing any dramas. They just, they can’t [00:09:00] get those gigs. So super boy, and it was with the salt kinds too, and they’d just done the Christopher Reeves, Superman movies. and so I was like the next composer, they had use it as a great honor to be hired by them.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: That’s cool. So what, can you, do you mind like doing a show like super boy? And I said that because it was a childhood show of mine with my dad and I watched him and I was a huge Superman fan, which made me a big Superman fan. Not to go back to your early career too
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: mine as mine? It was a dream for me. Yeah.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Nice. Nice. So my question for that would be, is working on that show like.
What kind of inspiration did you have in making the, the, you know, the undertones for what was going on, on, you know, those episodes that were, in my opinion, amazing.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Well. for two of the display for me, that was John Williams had kind of scent set a benchmark with the Christopher Reeve films, and that was the style that they [00:10:00] wanted the score to be. so I, I really, you know, way back then, even earlier I, I started studying John Williams and, and I studied the guys.
He. Like Stravinsky and Korngold and Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff and all that, you know? So that’s when, I started educating myself kind of in a, it’s funny, I don’t have a traditional, music education yet. I’ve kind of been overcompensating my whole career for that by, I mean, I continually study scores to this day I’ll go to rehearsals of the LA Philharmonic with a score in hand.
Like I’m like, I’m some little student or whatever and I’m still trying to figure out what the hell ServInt ski was doing. Cause he’s amazing, you know? And so, yeah, that’s,
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: that’s cool
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: I think I’ve compensated for my lack of education by now.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Well, I mean, it’s, it’s a, there’s a thing to be said about, always be learning, right? Like anything you do and you want to do well, even though you may [00:11:00] become an expert or whatever, and, and you’re always still learning, even the experts still learn things as you go through.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. , I’ve heard so many successful people talk about. if you watch these, so many of the really, really great musicians from Paul McCartney too, you know, who, whoever, you know, Paul Simon, they can’t read music and they don’t have a musical education. And yet they have, they have changed the course of musical history.
so I’ve always looked at my lack of education as an example, tried to make it a strength. So I don’t know what rules that I’m breaking that I’m not supposed to break, if it sounds good to me, I do it. So screw the rules.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: exactly. There’s, there’s something to be said about just not knowing what you’re breaking, because then you have the freedom to do things that somebody fall following rules might not do, you know, which is great. So let’s talk a little bit about after bowl, cause I don’t want to spend too much time on 30 years ago.
[00:12:00] Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Earliest weirdest shows I’ve ever done, but yeah, let’s move on.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: So let’s, let’s, let’s jump way ahead and let’s talk about star Wars. star Wars is, I mean, some people might’ve heard of, it’s a little show. It’s a little movie series, you know, it’s out there.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: go. Go ahead. If you haven’t, it’s amazing.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: So going into the star Wars shows that you did, what was like, what was your thought process on getting to that and getting in and making those scenes in the end? The undertones for that
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: So I’ll tell you how I got the gig. it was an audition process. So George Lucas was getting Nancy and he wanted to make an animated series.
and he hadn’t sold it to anyone. In fact, at one point, he even said to all of us, maybe this will just be something that my kids watched when he was, when he was doing clone Wars, because I think he just got turned down by, by Fox or something like that.
And, and so [00:13:00] he just liked that, he financed. The first film. I knew, hope, and he financed that himself too. So anyhow, he started doing the animated project and, the word came out there was going to be an audition. I think he liked what I was doing on CSI Miami. I’m not positive, but I, I know he wanted to push that envelope of the music and star Wars a little bit.
And CSI Miami, it was a real electronic kind of modern score. and so I think that’s how I got to be part of the audition. I think five or six of us audition for it and the audition works. they flew us up to Skywalker ranch in, in the Bay area, and each one of us looked at 10 minutes of the first episode of clone Wars and we took that clip home and then we all scored it the way we thought it should go.
there were a couple of really high profile, great composers that were in that audition. And, I can’t say who they were, but I’m [00:14:00] very proud that I got that gig. and they chose mine . It’s the dream come true. To win an audition with George Lucas and star Wars. I mean, that’s okay.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Right.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: so once I, I had the gig, then I started working with Dave Filoni, who’s the executive director and supervising director and really ran clone Wars, and George Lucas and I would fly up to Skywalker ranch every two weeks and get face time with George and just bounce things off the wall.
And, man, it was, it was really, really fun. Those first. Two years were really, really fun with all that, obviously, you talked about your admiration for John Williams. what was it like to kind of follow in his footsteps? what was your mindset with, scoring clone Wars and then eventually, later on you do rebels.
What was your mindset for [00:15:00] that? So I do clinics and Comicon panels all the time. And, one of the things I’ll bring with me is an old dog eared score of the, original star Wars suite that John published in the, Late seventies, I think I put, picked it up in the eighties and if you can open it to Thomas to any page is hundreds of pages long.
and it’s a full orchestra score. And I’ve marked it up like people Mark up their Bible or whatever your, your textbook or something like that with all just what I thought he was doing, and just to remind myself. This trick or that trick. so I’d studied him, you know, since the super bowl days.
I, I just wanted to know how he made that sound, you know, and what he was doing. you have access to somebody, scores you really on the inside of their mind, Maybe my explanation of what he’s doing. Like to me it’s a C minor over a B [00:16:00] base or something like that. Maybe he’s not thinking of it that way, but that’s how I think of it.
when I see it in the score. So I would write those things down and you kind of learn his, what we call the licks, you know, we would learn his, I would learn his little tricks that he did. And so I’ll give you an example as a guitar player. So you want to play the blues. The great thing to do is just find, get a BB King record from muddy waters, BB Kings master, and just note for note You know, like 30 seconds of one of his solos. So you can just play it on your own without him plan. Just you can play exactly every single note that BB King play. Now the point is not to do that live that. The point is to get that under your fingers so that when you go do a blue solo, there’s a little bit of BB King in you because you’ve kind of learned your fingers can move that way and you kind of learn what his mindset is.
And that’s why what I was doing [00:17:00] by studying. John Williams has scores. It was like, I don’t want to imitate him. I just want to have some of him in me. His influence, just the best case scenarios. It becomes part of my vocabulary and I just speak that way musically, but it’s really my ideas that are coming out.
It’s just in his style. I think that’s, that’s perfect. I’ve watched all the clone Wars. I’ve watched the rebels and, and, It’s seamless. It really is what you do and what you’ve done is seamless. I’m a huge star Wars fan and just like John, I’m huge when it comes to music and. All sorts of media.
That’s a big part of it to me. So when I sat down and watch clone Wars and rebels and that music, it’s seamless. And I do hear a different style, but it’s, it fits perfectly because you can tell that it’s not John Williams, but it is inspired by what John Williams had created prior.
So I really do enjoy what you’ve done with all that. [00:18:00] And. Oh, you’re very welcome. getting with that though, what’s the process like or what was the process like? I know right now the final season’s closed Wars is coming, are currently showing, what was the process like for you? did they give you an episode and you have a week or two to score it, or did you score prior?
Like how does that all work. for this one, yeah. We, they give me an episode. I get about two weeks to score each episode. sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. we use live players. so. I have to orchestrate everything. We’re on a budget. we don’t have the, London Philharmonic every week but we go to Prague, we go to Budapest, Hungary, so we have live players all the time.
and, I score to the pretty close to finish picture. th that it’s my change or. There might be an animation that’s not finished, but, all the voice actors are in pretty much, and I’m, I’m [00:19:00] watching the pretty close to a finished picture while I’m composing. what’s it like? you talked a little bit about it with, George Lucas and Dave millennium. I’m a Pittsburgh boy, myself, born and raised in Pittsburgh. So they flew these right from my backyard. And it was a dream of mine as a kid to one day try and work for Lucas and Lucas film and stuff like that.
And he did it from Pittsburgh. What was it like working with him? I know that he’s pretty much taken over the reigns of a lot of that stuff, so. Was there a lot of influence from Lucas in the beginning and then more Filoni later on, or was it, how did that work? Yeah, I would say that’s fairly accurate.
you know, there’s a great coffee table book. it’s got a very young George Lucas and Mark Hamill on the set of the first, of, of a new hope out in the desert. and there’s a lot of, it’s not just a picture book, it’s got a lot of. of the story of the making of star Wars and talks about George, how he, [00:20:00] I mean, the, at one time the script was, I think one third in Japanese with subtitles, you know, and that’s how he, he, because he got all into cortosol or something.
so George was a guy who really. Really wants to push the limit and really always wants to do something differently. He doesn’t want to do the same thing. Oh, you know, that’s been done. He’s always, and when you do that, you’re going to make mistakes. Like I think it would have been a mistake to have a third of star Wars in Japanese.
And so he, he figured that out eventually, and he didn’t make it like that, but he did retain a lot of the samurai influence. You know it in the film. So that’s where his genius is just. Unbelievable. And knowing when to throw things up. Yeah. So knowing what’s should stick and what should be, what’s gone too far.
And he would do that with me, I mean, he would bring in the hip hop tracks [00:21:00] and things that his son was listening to and say, Hey, you know, let’s do this during when it in his Y wing or X wing or whatever he was in, in this battle scene. And I’m like. Yeah. I don’t think hip hop is going to work in this.
right. But, but George told me to do it, so I got to do it. And, I mean I understood what he was going for because I knew that experimental kind of mindset he had. So I would, I would do something that would be really, really super hip hop, but I would also come in with, with something that was a hybrid that’s still had the orchestra in it.
And as well as maybe some beats and hip hops and sounds or whatever, that would kind of allude to that. And I played first the straight hip hop one for him, and he would go, well, what do you think? And like one time, and I hadn’t planned to say this, but it just, it came to a man like, man, I think that kind of makes us like [00:22:00] power Rangers, you know, I just don’t think it’s star Wars.
You know, there was like a gasp in the room. You know, there’s like 20 executives in this room and they’re all like before George came in the room, they’re all like begging me like, don’t do it. We can’t have hip hop in. You know, don’t let them do that. And then, but then when he walked in the room, no, everybody’s shut up cause I’m the one that’s my next on the chopping block.
You know, nobody will say anything. So anyhow, when I said the power Rangers thing, everybody there was like a gasp in the room. And he’s like, Oh yeah, you need nodded. And so then I played him the, the one that had the orchestra, but some, some of those elements still in it. And he listened and he was.
He was hip enough to understand that that was a better choice. And so it’s just so cool working with a guy that’ll give you first, that’ll push you. But then we’ll also take your opinion as valid [00:23:00] and really ask you what you think and let an expert do what an expert is supposed to do.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: That’s really cool. So while you’re working on rebels, and this is a, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you about this show because my wife loves this show, but while you’re working on rebels, you were also working on Jane the Virgin, and you’re also working on making your murderer. Those are three very different types of shows, not only in
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. I had the picture, the right file went to the right people.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh, I’m sure. I guess I imagined sitting in the star Wars file over to Jane the Virgin and having that.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: this film, they’re like, what are all these Congo drums and Bango.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: I mean it would’ve made for a fun episode. All right, so when you’re working on Jane the Virgin, what’s the process for, you know, you said you had like the full episode flights. I start with ones with any, had like two weeks to, you know, get through. That was Jane. The Virgin similarity was, I wasn’t a tighter schedule cause it was a network show and more, super popular to more of the adult [00:24:00] rants.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: would vary. Sometimes. Those were one week turned around also with Jane, the Virgin. That’s a very special circumstance. I mean, I’ve done Oh thousands and thousands of hours of television in my 35 year career. And, I, I’ve never worked on a show where the process was the way it was in Jane the Virgin.
it, it worked out great for Jane. It was just very unusual. So a lot of Jane. Was stuff that I would do during the summer and they would send me scripts and tell me what was going to happen and all these things. And I would prescribe for a lot of that show and give them tracks. And especially when I found out like things were working, like they, they wanted something that would start a certain way and then build and build and build.
And, you know, I. I kind of figured out how the jokes were working and how the scenes were progressing. So a lot of the score for Jane was cut in by either a music editor or the picture [00:25:00] editors. although, you know, they would still have me score specific scenes. It was really kind of a mishmash of those two different techniques using previous tracks that I, I done, really, really unusual.
and then making a murderer that was all scores picture. I, I’m very proud of the fact that I, I do really, really different styles. it’s something I consider my greatest strength is my range and my ability to be a kind of a chameleon. And I work really hard at that too. You know, you have to study different idioms really a lot. Yeah. I, I realize you have quite the array of different types of medium that you’ve. Composed with, video games, and television and animation. what would you say is probably your favorite, well, there’s two different things, easiest and favorite favorites.
So it takes those two questions then. doing an animated show for one thing. [00:26:00] Animation is the hardest thing any composer will ever work in. I’ve been nominated for a number of Annie’s, and, and he says it’s like the Amie sort of Oscars for animation. And. I have never one, but I have a speech prepared.
And part of that speech would be just to congratulate my fellow nominees because if you’re nominated for a nanny, it just means you’re a really good composer, period. Because writing music for animation is really fricking hard. And then taking now star Wars and it’s animation. I mean, the level of difficulty is, is higher than anything I’ve ever, ever worked on in my life.
I, I love, I mean. You know, I don’t think it, anything tops working on star Wars. I, I just don’t think anything can top that. I also, I love working on doom patrol that is just so fun. [00:27:00] Completely different style of music. Really, really electronic, really hip and cutting edge and makes me, you know, keeps me really current.
I really, yeah, it’s a really fun show. Titans is fantastic. similar style musically. Narcos is really, really a great show to work on. the acting and the writing and the stories are unbelievable in, in that show. so those are kind of highlights for me.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: That’s cool. So you were doing a lot of recently, I mean, throughout your whole career, really doing a lot of, you know, comic book related or scifi fantasy related, you know, scores. I assume, and tell me if I’m wrong, but I assume that means you, liked comic books and nerdy stuff.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: yeah, I do. I, I. I went to every midnight showing a star Wars, except for a new hope, because I don’t think there was a midnight showing for a new hope. so I was a geek, way before [00:28:00] I got the gig. like I said, way back in the day, doing super boy. I mean, Superman. I was such a fan of Superman.
I mean, I was, I, when I was a kid, I’d fly over the couch with the towel around my neck and stuff and yeah, it’s just, I wasn’t, I wasn’t quarterback of the football team. I’ll put it that
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: me, me, me either. so outside of star Wars, obviously star Wars is a huge thing for you. What, and Superman to Superman might be your answer. And that’s fine. when it comes to comic books and caring characters, what would you say is you love the most.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: So it’s probably changed now that I’m an adult, but when I was kid, Spiderman was my thing.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh, nice.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah, and I mean, I was watching the old spider man bite, or man, yeah, that was the one I was watching. you know, I really, I was pretty young. I really loved the Batman TV show. I didn’t really, I don’t think I knew they [00:29:00] were a joke.
but they were, I got to work with Adam West. So 20 years ago, and it was so cool. I did a thing, and then just to hang out with him. it’s just so cool for me. I don’t know. I found it ripped that way.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: I think we all would.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. I, I really love the characters in doom patrol right now as an adult. I didn’t know about doing patrol and in my earlier years, It’s just, it’s so cool the way it doesn’t take itself seriously, and yet it kind of does in another way. I mean, there’s, the stories are really intricate and there’s some really, really deep backstories to the characters and their emotions, and it’s really, really a neat property.
I’m so, so happy to be part of that.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: have you read any of the comics is based off of for doom patrol
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: No, I [00:30:00] haven’t.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: now, a lot of people haven’t. If you ever get a chance to and feel like reading some comics, the newest doom patrol series from young animal is, it’s phenomenal. It’s, it’s, it’s just the same vein as the same vein with similar vein as a TV show and it’s done really, really well.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. so when I was growing up, my, my brother does computer animation and he has for like 30 years, he was a huge, much more of a comic book fan than I was. I was more comic TV shows, whatever there were, which it’s probably Spiderman and Batman. There’s all that. It was, I, I remember there was some gigantor, but I don’t know if that ever came, if that came from a comic or not.
It was Japanese. anyhow. My mom thought that comics were like the most evil, you know, just, they would turn your mind to mush kind of things in the world. And so he literally had to hide his [00:31:00] comics under the mattress, like you would a Playboy or something, you know, when we were growing up. And I, I just, I, I was never a huge comic book reader.
I was, I was more just, I would watch, I, I’m, I, I’m much more work with visual medium, I guess. That’s kinda a thing.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. So going back to composing, cause that’s, you know, what you do. is there, a project or a, something out there that you haven’t done or haven’t been able to work on that you would want to work on? That’s like, if I could do this, obviously star Wars, you already said it’s like the dream for you, but outside of star Wars, that if you could get it and work on it, that would be awesome for you.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: man, that’s funny. I am so happy doing what I’m doing right now. I, I mean, so, you know, right now I, and also it should be, I should tell you guys that I work with my sons these days.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh, that’s cool.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: they’re both really good composers. and [00:32:00] for instance, like the bad batch theme, which is. kicks off the first, of season seven of clone Wars that was composed mostly by my oldest son, Sean.
And, and my, my other son, Dean, works a lot on Narcos with me and, and Jane the Virgin and making a murderer. He worked a lot in that. he went to the Berkeley college of music in Boston. my son Sean was like a piano prodigy kind of when he was young. But, Any, anyhow, so they’re really great musicians and it’s kind of taken, it’s allowed me to not really have ghostwriters and still do five shows, because it’s kind of team Kiner now over here, and we have three studios here at my house.
It’s separate rooms, separate buildings, and they all work here. So I’m currently doing Titans, doing patrol. when I just just say clone Wars, and Narcos is [00:33:00] coming up. they had to stop filming in Mexico, but they’ll start up a little bit again and, city on a Hill, which is a Kevin bacon show on Showtime, which is really cool.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: I haven’t watched that one yet, but I’ve heard about it. I’ve heard it’s good.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh, it’s really good. Yeah. And Kevin Bacon’s fabulous in it. that was an audition as well. I mean, those are all really good shows and I mean if I can keep doing this quality of stuff, I’m kind of exactly where I’d always hoped to be really.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: I mean, you’re kind of living the crater dream of like. Whatever medium you work in and then having your kids be interested in it as well. And get into it with you. I mean for me, I have five kids and if my oldest one is 17 my youngest one is six. If any of my kids pick up any of the creative stuff that I, that I am into, I write and I draw and I print music and I do podcasts.
And if any of them pick up my interest, no, that’d be like a dream come true for me. Cause they’re like, yeah, come, come to my nerd world, come to my [00:34:00] creative world. You know? And it just, I love hearing that people have their kids coming in, want to do the same thing cause it’s. Obviously it’s been my dream for years for my kids to take it on.
What I like, what I like.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah, you know, my wife and I, we never pushed our kids into it. We, I made sure, like at about six years old, they all had music lessons. and they all kind of went different paths. and my daughter is a visual artist. She actually quit music fairly and she quit music. I always give her trouble cause I just purchased a fairly expensive Alto flute.
She was a flute player and Alto flutes, a larger flute than a normal seafood. And so she really, you know, she needed to, she had a solo and she needed an Alto flute. So I buy this thing and then two months later she quits my man. And I always give her. I mean, she can draw you. She went to the Academy of art in San Francisco.
Really, really good place. Got her master’s degree. She can draw you like a photograph when just from a [00:35:00] setting.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh, it’s awesome.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: so my kids are all artists and we never pushed them in that direction. we just said, unlike my mother who told me I couldn’t be a musician, I never wanted to do that to my kids.
and I’m not faulting my mom. I mean, that was a generation where I mean, they came up through world war two and if you were making a living, you were lucky, so that was the focus. And not so much following your dream for those, for that generation. But anyhow, I haven’t, I’m just really, I, yeah, I’m really blessed.
I know very few people. I knew Joel Goldsmith, who was Jerry Goldsmith son. and Jerry wrote some of the great soundtracks from the Allman too.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Right,
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: mean, various, one of the great soundtrack writers ever, Joel Goldsmith was one of my best friends and he’s passed away, but he’s one of the few guys who’s really, you know, was.
Was very successful on his own [00:36:00] and being the son, I think some of the Newmans like Thomas Newman is, there’s a whole Newman lineage of the Lionel Newman and, and, Alfred Newman who worked at one of them was the head of Fox music. Wait, where he wrote that today on
He wrote that. And now Tom Newman’s, you know, one of the great film composers who’s alive, and, his cousin, David Newman, is great conductor and composer. yeah. Yeah. So there’s that. But there’s very few, you know, in our business, I’m proud of my kids, really proud of them.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: That’s awesome. Yeah. I kind of did the same thing with my kids. You know, I don’t push them to do anything. Let them find their own track. I mean, you know, I offered them all had some sort of music lessons, whether it was the ones that actually went to class or the ones that just sat with me and cause they didn’t want to go to class and I taught them what I knew.
And then art classes too. Cause my kids love art. And my eldest son, he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about creativity. He wants to steal fishing all the time. All he cares about fishing, [00:37:00] which is so weird because I can’t stand, I’ve never liked fishing. My dad didn’t like fishing. Nobody in my family on my side likes fishing.
But he’s like all he wants to be is out, outdoors and fishing, which I mean I bought him a boat and got him Elvis fishing equipment. He goes fishing on it cause we live close to a Lake which is great for him. But it’s just funny cause he had. I bought him a guitar similar to your daughter with the food.
I bought him this nice guitar and then he played it for like a month and then it’s, it’s been under his bed for three years. So you never tell.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: We all have our own things, you know?
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. Yeah. So you’ve kind of talked about your career, kind of starting at the beginning a little bit, then jumping way ahead there. And we’ve talked about what you’re currently doing here, and we, I asked the question about what you’d like to do, and you’ve, you’ve talked about the shows you’re currently working on.
do you see yourself continuing doing just a Murray, a very wide range of TV shows like consistently, or do you, do. I mean, you said you’re happy doing that, but, or do you want to do film as well? More film as well or [00:38:00] just or as TV show, like your, your happy point
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: you know, it’s, these days is so much the golden age of, of content in television. It’s kind of weird to even call it television. It’s sort of a different thing. I mean, really some of the greatest things I’ve had shows that I’ve ever seen in my life, or like game of Thrones and Westworld and you know, whatever.
I mean, nevermind movie or TV show, you can’t really call it that or can you, you know, it’s, it’s just great, great content. So, I mean, if it happens to be a feature, you know, if it was a star Wars feature, that would be a dream.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: That’d be cool.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: for sure. it’s always nice to have a really big budget and be able to use a big orchestra.
I just want to keep doing really great content. Yeah. Keep getting paid for it.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: that’s very accurate. Very accurate. [00:39:00] Keep getting paid to do what you love to do. Right.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, gosh, I can’t believe I’ve been doing it for this long. I mean, you know, I got, my first show was in 1983 so that’s pretty nuts.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: You’ve got quite the career and, and, and it’s, it’s, it’s impressive to look back through your, your history of what you’ve done. It’s like, wow, all this stuff that I’ve seen in, you know, through my whole life, cause I’m 38 you know, I grew up in the eighties and nineties and a lot of stuff that you’ve done is stuff that I’ve watched and it’s just, it’s, it’s cool.
It’s cool. You know I like it. I’d be remiss as well if I didn’t ask about that. It’s just because I want to, you did the score for the Nick fury movie with, David Hasselhoff.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: yeah, I did.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: What was that like.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Well, you know, at the time it was so cool because I knew about, you know, agents and Sheeler and you know, I knew about Nick fury and, and, so, you know, it was before, that was the first time that came out. So [00:40:00] it was really fun, you know, and. It was, it was what it was. I mean, you know, David Hasselhoff took it fairly seriously, and, and I think he did a good job.
You know, it was a, it was a television film back in the day when, when those budgets weren’t maybe as good as they are now. But, yeah, it was,
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: it’s actually not bad. I actually enjoyed it when I wash it and back in the day I was, I was in high school when it came out. I thought I had fun with it.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. I mean, there’s, there’s a lot of projects I did earlier in my career that, Well, I mean, super bowl is a great example. you know, that I really wish that the production was better than it was in the acting or whatever, but, but there were also, there were episodes of super boy that are really good.
I mean, Joaquin Phoenix, like that was one of his first acting gigs. And, the director was a guy named David Nutter who’s like super a list, a director these days. And, You know, David called me and I remember that scene with walking Phoenix as a little boy. You know, he, [00:41:00] I mean, the only reason we knew him is because he was river Phoenix, his brother.
So there was a scene where a Clark cat’s talking with them, I think it was in a library or something like that. And, and they, the director, David Nutter, he did this circular, he circled the table and a really tricky way where you couldn’t. You never saw the lights and stuff like that. And he was really proud of that.
And he called me about that scene and we discussed that how I should score it and the way he wanted it to sound and stuff. So man, even that show, which, some people might consider a little campy or whatever, it has some really good moments where.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh yeah.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: it was awesome to score that and work with a really visionary director and, you know, and try to, you know, to, to make his project better.
It was invaluable experience and a fun time.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. I mean, can’t be or not. I said, I love that show. I watched it all the time and [00:42:00] I just thought it was really funny because one of the accuracy of played Clark Kent on that show, John Newton, I have no relation to him, but like my, my legal name is just the letter J and my legal middle name is just the letter in.
I only have, I go by John cause it’s easier for people to understand, you know, John then explaining my name was just a letter all over and over again. but if you go back in
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: are your parents take these or what happened
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: So this, this, well, I’m actually, I’m the third in my, my youngest son’s the fourth, so there’s four people with this, letters for names, my, it comes from my parents.
My, my lineage comes from the South and back in the early 19 hundreds late 18 hundreds my grandfather’s great uncle, his name was John Newton, and he was a. He was the first person in the family in the U S to make a name for himself. Right. So they named their son after him, which is what you got, but they just use the initials because he does, when he didn’t, he didn’t go by John Newton.
He doesn’t buy the initials. So that all trickled down to now here I just have initials and so does my son. But I always like when I found out one of one of the, one of the actors was [00:43:00] named. It is a cool story. And then it’s interesting because. It’s, I spent my whole life, I’ve, in my life, I’ve gone by various names.
Cause in high school I was J N cause my initial, I was in college, I was just J cause I was in college. And then I got married to my wife. It’s like, you know, you’re going by John because Jay’s not a real name. for the, for the show, the guy’s name was John Newton. Now I thought that was cool cause my name’s not John Newton, but if you go back far enough, that’s what it meant.
So like I had this weird mental connection to the show of just, just because of that, you know.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: his name was John Hames Newton, I think too. And. You know, it was, it was kind of a shame that he quit. Although Chris, the guy who took over was really good as well. I think that was a really big misunderstanding. I think John May have had bad representation or something, but they kind of came to an impasse negotiating the second season, and I don’t know, it was a shame that, that he didn’t continue on in a way, although, you know, again, Jerry was really good [00:44:00] too.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah, it was unfortunate, but I mean, both the actors did a great job on the show, so it were, I mean, it ultimately, it worked out for the fans, but you know,
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: I thought Stacy Hajduk was great in that show
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh, as, as Lana Lang. Yeah, she was great. I mean, she was the only one who was in all the episodes.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. Is that so? Yeah, there. Wow. There’s a piece of trim.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. She’s the only one who made it through all a hundred episodes. Everybody else could because they changed cast and the main supervise change over the first season. And she was the only constant, which was kind of cool.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: So I’m going to ask the questions you probably can’t answer
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh, I see. I was a constant,
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: yeah.
Oh, well, yeah. Sorry. But you were on the show, you were in the background of the show. so. I am. DB has listed a UN, an untitled star Wars project for you. Can you talk about that at all or is that a no, no. Right now.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: I’m not aware of that listing. Is it a video game? I did
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: It’s a, it’s a video. It’s a video game. [00:45:00] Yeah.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: yeah, that that got shelved and I mean, I worked about two years on that. We recorded about 60 minutes of music with a great orchestra, and that. We’ll never see the light of day as a really sad situation. had nothing to do with the music.
The though the entire project got shelved. And, I don’t know why. I have no idea why, but it was going to be cool. It was the show runner. she did a, what was it? uncharted maybe?
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah. Amy hailing.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Amy had a, she was really fun to work with. I really enjoyed working. She’s very similar to George Lucas.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh yeah.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: yeah.
Just kind of a visionary and even her mannerisms and the way she, I dunno, just the way she was to work for us. Very similar to working with George.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh, that’s unfortunate. There’s not gonna [00:46:00] not going to come out. I hate, I mean.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: It sucks. I mean, can you, I mean, I got paid, but that’s not what it’s about. You know? I mean, I have themes in that thing that are some of the best themes I’ve written. My son has. Both of my sons have really good themes that we can’t use ever. It’s very
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: worst. You have great stuff you love but can’t share it and use it and it’s just, that sucks. Do you think you’ve ever, ever be able to like let fans here that ever at all, or it’s just its shelf the night not able to be used.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Cause it was, you know, it was the two largest video game companies on earth. It was Sony in conjunction with electronic arts, EA and Sony. So I have a feeling like 3000 lawyers would come and like machine gun out since like that or something.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yeah, probably so let’s not do that. Oh, man. Well, Kevin, we’ve been talking for about an hour now. It’s kind of crazy how time flies when you’re having fun. I want to thank you again for coming [00:47:00] on and sharing your insight with all this stuff that you’ve done and, and listening to our silly stories and, and having some fun with us tonight.
I really appreciate that.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Well, it’s great to meet you and I hope everybody gets to see the new season of clone Wars cause it’s the best. And I always tell people it’s, it’s what. We all hoped clone Wars would be when we started 1213 years ago with George.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: That’s awesome. Yeah, we’ll be, I watched clone Wars with my, my, my 14 year old is a huge star Wars fan. Like one of the things he wanted for his birthday, which was last month, was aide. You know, just lightsabers he just wanted lightsabers he, and he’s been asking me for a year now to go to Disneyland and get one of the Galaxy’s edge.
Lightsabers that’s all he wants. But yeah, we’ll be, we’ll be watching that. Cause he, I think he already is watching the ones that are out. I haven’t, I haven’t sat with him yet though, but he’s watched all the star Wars stuff on the Disney plus app multiple times.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: And the soundtracks are available there, on the Disney side. and the, the, the third [00:48:00] installment or fourth, I forget, of the soundtracks, is all the new soundtracks going to come out in a few days, I
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh cool.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: And that’s all with a full orchestra. The city of Prague, a Philharmonic as well as a couple of, we did it.
Couple of hours recording in Budapest, Hungary with their, their orchestra as well.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Oh, that’s awesome. That is awesome. Well, Kevin, again, thank you so much for coming on, and if you ever have anything you want us to push out on our site, on the podcast, you know, by all means, let us know. We’re happy to help promote whatever you have, because that’s what we do, is
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Well, if anybody wants to hear my music, you can hear it on Kevin kiner.com I don’t really have anything for sale, but if you want to just see what I’m doing, that’s where I’m at.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: for every, we’ll include a link to that on the, the show notes. So every, everything has to click on and go right there.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Awesome. Thank you.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yep. Alright. Can you do one more thing? Do you mind doing one more thing for us before you go?
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Sure, sure.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Would you mind doing us a bumper and just say, hi, I’m Kevin Kiner and composer of, you know, whatever you want to say, and then, [00:49:00] and then say, you’re listening to spoil their country.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Spoiler country. Is it thus boiler country or just spoiler country?
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: just spoiler country.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Hi, I’m Kevin Kiner. I’m the composer of star Wars clone Wars. And you’re listening to spoiler country.
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Perfect. Thank you so much. I really appreciate your time tonight.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Yo, it’s great to meet you and may the force be with you,
John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: likewise, stay safe.
Kevin and Robert – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: Okay, bye. Bye.
[00:50:00] John – Kevin Kiner Interview.output: I’m off the phone. I can talk out loud.
Yeah. We just finished. Oh, I had nothing else until one lady who does that, who’s the PR person for a bunch of people. We’re talking to her.
[00:51:00] Yeah. We need the w 40 that door. Okay. He was cool. He was, he’s a composer. He posts, he can, he can post Jane the Virgin. I asked him about it cause he was composed. He was writing the scores for star Wars rebels, Jane the Virgin and making a murderer all at the same time. How do you do that? You talk to me.
He’s like, he’s exactly, it was really fun having three very distinctly different shows and right, right in the music for every episode at the same time is the day the Virgin was weird. As you watch a show, it’s, it’s different. Claus shows, you’ll watch, they’ll send you a copy of, you know, the rough copy of the show to watch and come and score as you watch it, you know, so between the Virgin he, with the script, you’d have to read the script and he would pre compose your pre and post a lot of the scripts.
And then. Sparking post certain stuff. They asked for it when they were done.
That was pretty funny. [00:52:00]
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