Marvel’s “Morbius” Score Producer, Jason La Rocca, Sheds Light on Often Overlooked Sound & Music in Film
It’s undeniable that the movies Halloween or Jaws don’t have their own classic themes. The people behind these days usually don’t get the recognition they deserve for creating such timeless masterpieces. However, former rockstar and current score producer Jason La Rocca is here to change that. He has stepped into the arena and taken on Hollywood smashes such as Godzilla and the recent Marvel blockbuster, Morbius. His ability to set a scene with just a few notes creates an escape for entertainment lovers everywhere.
Going from singer and guitarist of the punk band The Briggs to a notable producer was a rocky transition for La Rocca. He eventually became the creator he is today, but not without challenge. The film industry was the polar opposite of diving into a raging mosh pit, but he was determined to make a name for himself behind the scenes. It took years of growth in the industry, but now he comfortably creates the music behind classic projects.
There are several times when Jason must drastically go from one project to another, such as when he went from Godzilla to Little Fires Everywhere. He doesn’t mind the change, though, as he is a versatile artist who enjoys exposing all sides of his personality. It speaks volumes to his already respectable character, one that fights for the recognition of himself and his peers. La Rocca’s fellow scoring mixers and music editors are often overlooked when they contribute a large part to a film’s success. His hope is that varying academies will take more consideration into those who audibly set the scenes.
La Rocca’s favorite projects will always be superhero films, as they are his first love. His professional opinion is that the music can be felt in a movie but that video games are becoming quite a close second. He has worked as an engineer on the popular game Fortnite and will be a contributor to the pending God of War. He has found video games have posed a fun challenge for him; one he is winning.
Whether it’s setting the mood in the dynamic Aquaman or the iconic Coming to America 2, Jason La Rocca continues to produce a quality of music that brings each scene to life.
Notable score producer, Jason LaRocca, took time from engineering the best music in film to tell us about himself. What attracted you to scoring? Growing up, I was a huge fan of the music for movies — especially Back to the Future, The Explorers, Blade Runner, Star Wars and Halloween. I love the marriage of music to picture. I think that films lack excitement without music and that music is made so much more impactful when given a visual story.
What was the hardest film you have ever had to work on? Good question. Every project is certainly challenging in different ways. Perhaps a number of films are “difficult” when it comes to the final push to finish it and send it out for distribution. Bad Boys for Life was like this. We were recording and mixing the music for the film at the same time and working across different time zones for approvals, which made if difficult in terms of getting it out the door on time. Often that seems to be the most difficult part, all of the various things in motion when we are trying to get to the finish line. Sometimes, we even get changes to picture for the film the day we start recording the score, which can be fairly difficult to deal with too, especially if it changes the way the music needs to be structured.
What was it like going from the action-packed sounds of Godzilla to the soft drama of Little Fires Everywhere? Is it hard to get in the right mind space after such radical changes in your work? Well, what’s funny is that there were a number of “rock tunes” that we did for Little Fires Everywhere that were used as montages at the end of the episodes. So often I find that I get to apply my “rock” roots more often than not in some way. But certainly when things get more subtle and emotional, I do not mind the shift. Everyone has a soft side, even me.
Do you feel that more of a light needs to be focused on the sounds and music that movies and TV shows have to offer? I think that the various academies can do a better job to include some of us who work on film music behind the scenes. I think that the scoring mixers and music editors can be better recognized in this regard as they are a big part of what makes the “Best Sound” of a film, TV show or video game. I hope that the youth of today know somehow that there are some incredible jobs to be had in this field that are very creative and fun.
Was it a tough transition going from the singer/guitarist of punk band “The Briggs” to a sizable producer? Or was it an easy shift? It was tough at first finding my way in to film music production. These two worlds could not be more different from each other. At a certain point, diving off of PA systems into crazy mosh pits in clubs every night takes its toll on the body. So when I decided to focus more on behind the scenes work, I had to work hard at getting to make a name for myself as a music mixer and producer. It has been a long and challenging process, but I cherish the entire experience that I have had along the way thus far.
You have quite an impressive resume including Aquaman and Coming to America 2! What genre do you love scoring for the most? I really like when the music production is on a very large scale and has a lot of creative demands sonically, so often I really enjoy working on the superhero, sound design and action type film scores. Ambient music really holds a special place in my heart too though. So lucky for me, I often get to bridge across all of these styles.
We know you are doing the soon-to-be released God of War video game and you have even served as an engineer on the world-renowned Fortnight. Do you prefer working on shows or games? Why? Films are my first love for sure when it comes to working on music. I feel that the music for films has the most potential to have a great impact and be truly “heard” by the audience. Lately though, video games and the music for them is really something special in terms of quality and scale. There is a lot of ambition in many of these game franchises and the bar is very high in terms of quality of the visual and sound, so I do love working games and find it very rewarding, especially when it is a challenge.