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Interview with Female Composer Makenna Bach

We are currently working on our next project in support of body positivity for women. We are creating a short documentary focusing on one women's perspective and story with finding self love. For this project we reached out to female composer Makenna Bach to write the music for us. Today, I got to interview her and ask about her work in the entertainment industry!

Q: How did you get into composing?

Makenna: I used to write little songs as a kid, usually about my pets at the time. I started piano in first grade and cello in fourth, and I always enjoyed coming up with tunes in between practicing my assigned pieces. My favorite kind of music to listen to was film scores – I had dozens of playlists of my favorite scores and composers, and I was always running out of space on my iPod. The first film score I remember falling in love with was from the Pirates of the Caribbean, especially because it featured so much cello! I put music and stories together; when I listen to music, I often picture a scene that matches what’s happening in the music. At the University of Oregon, I finally started taking composition classes and eventually switched my major from cello performance to composition, as that was where I knew I should be.

Q: What school do/did you attend?

Makenna: I received my Bachelor of Music in composition from the University of Oregon and my Master of Music in film composition from the Seattle Film Institute.

Q: What projects have you worked on?

Makenna: I’ve had a lot of fun working on a variety of projects, many of which were jobs I never thought I’d have a chance to do. I wrote the theme music for a podcast called Odd Tonic, which was very fun and spooky. Most recently I worked on a local Portland film The Prismagic Radio Hour, which was my first time writing music for dancers. Most of my recent work has been either short films or video games via local "game jams.”

Q: What was your favorite project you worked on?

Makenna: Not including this project, I would say The Prismagic Radio Hour for the variety of music I got to write for one film.

Q: How was your experience working with an up-and-coming, all-female organization?

Makenna: It’s been wonderful. Everyone has been so kind and passionate about this project. This is exactly what I set out to do: work with female filmmakers in the industry and tell stories that are too often kept quiet.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to work with an all-female organization like FFI?

Makenna: Our stories need to be told. It’s already an uphill battle to get representation in this (and many other) industries, so we need to support each other through these kinds of collaborations as frequently as possible.

Q: Why do you feel body positivity is an important topic for females today?

Makenna: Negative feelings about body image can be a widespread issue. It can seep into your thoughts everywhere, every day, in different ways. It will really sneak up on you if you haven’t prepared yourself with tools to build up positivity. Those tools need to be shared and discussed, which is what this film does.

Q: What was it like working on a project revolving around a sensitive topic such as body positivity?

Makenna: It was a topic I’m all too familiar with, and I’m sure most women are at a certain point in their lives. It can be hard to address, but I’m hopeful because we’re seeing projects like this one, and that it’s becoming more common and easier to discuss. It’s easy to feel isolated when dealing with these issues, so it’s an amazing thing when people decide to share their stories and help others feel less alone.

Q: What is your favorite movie/show based on the score?

Makenna: I have to mention the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lord of the Rings scores, as those were my first loves in film music, but recently I’ve also been liking anything by Hildur Guðnadóttir, especially the HBO show Chernobyl.

Q: What is your ultimate dream job (goal) in this field/dream to compose for?

Makenna: More projects like this one! Projects by and for women.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?

Makenna: I absolutely love Agnes Obel. Her writing is incredibly gorgeous, and she creates her own world with her music.

Q: What advice do you have for women pursuing a career in composing?

Makenna: Absolutely go for it. Don’t sell yourself short and stop yourself from pursuing opportunities; talk yourself into them instead. Know your talents and be proud of them — they should be shared!

Makenna is an incredible and talented women, we are looking forward to the release of our project so you can hear her work! We were honored to have the opportunity to work with Makenna and can't wait to see what she achieves in the future!

Check out Makenna's work here:

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