JS Hopkins

What is music to you? What does it give you?

Music to me is a form of artistic expression and innovation.

What is your music dream?

I'm living it. I'm able to compose independently, and music technology and the internet has allowed me to self publish my music. Some of my music has been heard around the world in three Mount & Blade games, by millions of people, so that's all I could really ever ask for. Anything more is icing on the cake. But if there is one thing I am looking ahead to accomplishing, it is really just improving on what I have done and getting more of my work fully produced and out there.

If you could change the world - what would you start with?

I would like people to learn to live and let live as much as possible. But I will quote Lao Tzu here in saying that if someone wishes to fix the world completely, they're going to be disappointed. There's perfection in imperfection, and those who recognize that can live with the imperfections much more.

Which is the most memorable song from your childhood?

If we're talking songs with lyrics, as a small child, I used to have the record of the soundtrack to The Rescuers, and I was very stirred by "The Journey" (Who Will Rescue Me) by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, sung by Shelby Flint. I used to cry at the end of the song every time I would put it on, to the point that my parents would watch to see my reaction. But mainly I remember all the instrumental soundtracks I collected as a child, starting with Close Encounters and JAWS.

Who are your favorite musical artists or bands?

I grew up as a kid listening to movie soundtrack albums, and particularly John Williams soundtracks, without even knowing who he was. But I always asked for his soundtracks after seeing the movies he composed for. At some point in about 1984 I realized most of my records and tapes had the same composer, back then in very small print. I also really liked Queen's Flash Gordon, and watching MTV in the golden age of music videos definitely influenced me. I am a child of the 80s.

What inspires you to make music?

Anything can inspire me to make music. I have a song I could record that I sing to my cats whenever I feed them called "Hungry Cats." The question is more, what doesn't inspire me to make music. That would be a very hard question.

What is the message you want to send with your music?

I really want people to feel something that can't be spoken easily with words. An emotion. Any emotion. But I want the music itself to sympathize with people in that way - for people to listen to my music and understand that the music is confirming a human experience that can not be spoken easily in words.

How do you feel when you perform in front of an audience?

Whenever an audience involved with the music, I'm usually in the audience. To watch a String Quartet of mine be performed on a stage was an exciting experience where I fully trusted the musicians to bring out the best in my notation. I don't know if I will ever perform myself in front of an audience. Whenever I record myself playing, I'm editing it better than I could sound live.

How do you see the musicians’ reality nowadays? What could be improved?

I think that things in all creative arts could be improved with more split payments for streaming. Routenote allows this, but I think it should be part of all collaborative arts. I also think that the norm should be that composers retain their copyright when composing for film, TV or games. Stylistically, I would like to see more opportunities for symphonic art music in films and games.

What do you think of Drooble?

I love that it allows feedback between colleagues. Throughout history, there were always artists who banded together to critique and support each other, and now they can do that remotely.

What frustrates you most as a musician?

I wish I could play my Trombone at 4am without upsetting anyone. The world needs better soundproofing.

Do you support your local scene as a fan? How?

Yes, I've gone to orchestra concerts in the area, as well as recorded a local violinist.

What qualities should a musician nowadays have in order to get their music heard by a larger audience?

Keep at it and you'll be lucky. Just keep going, you never know what will hit, or why or how.

Share some awesome artists that we’ve never heard of.

Christopher Gordon is a very formidable symphonic Australian film and concert composer. His Moby Dick score for television really perked up my ears, and I have explored his music ever since.