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The extraordinary composer/sound designer Peter Zongting Li tells us more about his world-class piece of work, Roller Coaster

We were lucky enough to speak with the award-winning and world-renowned music composer/sound designer Peter Zongting Li. He kindly lets us in on the particularly impressive visionary process behind his success with Roller Coaster, life in Hollywood, what it’s like to win such sought-after accomplishments and his future vision.

Llewelyn: Firstly, many congrats on winning Best Soundtrack and Best Sound Design at New York International Film Awards and Oniros Film Awards for your scoring efforts for Roller Coaster. What’s it like to win something so prestigious?

Peter: Thank you very much! I am truly honored to receive these awards. It is one of the best experiences in my professional career that both my music and sound from one film won awards in their respective categories in different film festivals. This is the best recognition for me and makes my three months of hard work worthwhile. I will continue composing more good music and doing more detailed sound design for more films with this encouragement.

Llewelyn: Please tell us more about the David Geffen Theater, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on May 3, 2023. This was a special moment. It must feel good right and surely push you to even greater heights?

Peter: Yes. I was so honored to have my film selected by the 2023 Producers’ Show and premiered in this prestigious theater. David Geffen Theater, Academy Museum is one of the most prestigious Dolby Atmos theaters in Los Angeles. This theater was built with 966 seats as a grand presentation space for major films screened. Watching the film with my music and sound in this Dolby Atmos surround sound system was also a very enjoyable experience.

Llewelyn: How do you both: a music composer and a sound designer? You must have some sort of superpowers right?

Peter: Thank you for saying that! To be honest with you, switching hats between a music composer and a sound designer is not easy. But I have been enjoying doing this since 2018. Especially for an animation like Roller Coaster, it required both music and sound to be very accurate and precise on the spot and hit certain moments. I had to make many decisions as both a music composer and sound designer.

For the storytelling purpose, I constantly switched my concentration when I felt like certain moments should be carried either by music or by sound, or both. But as we all know, when both music and sound hit something together, it also can be very busy for our ears. Then I had to dive deeper to see if I can have both at the same time but using different frequencies to separate them (Vertically), or if I can hit one thing slightly different in time (Horizontally). For example, at the moment when Katen (the girl who had magic power) pulled Mill (the main character) to run to the terrace of the train station, I stopped the last tonic note of music right before the railing hit sound so that they were not getting in the way of each other. Overall, it is all about finding the correct rhythm for the story.

Llewelyn: We might have some readers who are super keen to be a composer. What is the workflow like?

Peter: The workflow can be very different based on the directors and the type of project. This film Roller Coaster is the fourth film that my director Sapphira Chen hired me as her composer and sound designer. We have established our standard workflow during the 5 years of our collaboration since 2018.

To be specific about workflow, I got a rough animatic for the whole film in which the first half picture had been down with all the details. So I first worked on the sound design to give all the hard effects, foley, and ambiance. During the time I worked on the first half of the sound, Sapphira was doing the second half of the picture which is where the roller coaster was transformed into a dragon. Then when the second half pictures were done and I finished all the sounds for the first half, Sapphira began to review them and gave me notes for revision.

The next step was Sapphira adding the detailed frames between all the keyframes and colored everything while I was composing the music for the second half as well as doing sound design. Because the roller coaster as the title name is the main theme of this story. So I decided to compose music for it as my priority.
There were many back and force, revisions, and conforming. But in the end, we got all the sound and music that we are both satisfied with.

Llewelyn: What do you feel comes easy to you and which skills are rather difficult to master?

Peter: I feel easy when my director trusts me. Trust is everything. Surely the director can make all the decisions. But the trust from a director like Sapphira who has been working with me for 5 years together, is the most priceless thing ever. She would let me make many decisions by myself because she trusted my instinct.

For the difficult part, I would say the “sleep on” issues. A lot of music ideas and sound designs can be created in a short time. But if we put too much time eyeballing them frame by frame, sometimes our brain can sleep on them and they don’t seem to make sense anymore. For example, if there are 5 different takes of ADR for the effort sound such as a sigh and it’s your 6th hour of the day working on this thing, I doubt whether or not you can still distinguish the best sign sound you should use. In this case, I will leave it alone and come back to check it the next day or the next couple of days if it is a musical idea. You will be surprised that many times our first instinct is better than the revisions. Sometimes after we revised till the 4th or 5th version, there still be cases where we went back to the original version in the end. But it is part of the process in post-production where we tested many things out. I always believe these revisions are worthwhile.

Llewelyn: Also, how do you get into this field? It must be massively competitive.

Peter: Yes, film scoring is a very competitive field. Especially living in Los Angeles, where the most talented composers and sound designers from all over the world gather in the film/TV industry, is very challenging. I still keep grinding my skills daily to match the growth of new technologies in this industry.

I got into this field because I always love using music to tell a story. I studied music since young. I was also mentored by many great composers and music editors in the industry such as Peter Golub, Kubilay Uner, and Shie Rozow. During my years in LA, I also established my connections with many producers/directors who always come back to me with their next projects.
It is all about getting connections and being responsible to your clients.

Llewelyn: Last, what is the vision for the future and where do you see your career headed? Any big plans to reveal or should we keep glued to your socials for more news?

Peter: I see myself heading to music and sound lead roles for films and animations. I am a huge fan of making animations because my favorite activity when I was a kid was watching cartoons after school. My future goal is to join a big studio team such as Pixar or Dreamworks to work on more top-tier projects and use my skills to help more projects have the best music and sound outcome.

See the award-winning piece of work here.

Find out more and follow his remarkable career here.

Follow his socials on IG.

Interview: Connecticut-based post-pop artist Ellery Twining opens up about the storytelling treat of a new album, Results

Defining his own path with a rather incredible 9-track release, Ellery Twining sat down with us a few days ago and let us know more about Results, the creative process, the best place to watch music in his local area, and the depth of the lyrical intent of this self-trained innovative artist who has made something rather special here.

Llewelyn: Thanks so much for taking time out from your busy day of making such inspiring music to chat with us Ellery. Firstly, who are you inspired by each day and what makes you happy in life?

Ellery: My goal in this life was not to make the same mistakes my father had made. To not repeat the same patterns. And to break a bloodline. As a musician, I simply wanted to give back the moments that had shaped me, a reciprocal reality. I had an argument with my mother about ten years ago, during the Obama years, and she chastised me for being ignorant of the immigration issue in America, having lived in “lily white Mystic” my whole life. As a method of protection, I changed the subject. I then realized I had been paid to play music in 23 of the 50 States.

Llewelyn: Secondly, please tell us all about your new 9-track release, RESULTS. This is something rather unique and powerful. Lyrical awareness of the world seems to be your strength. What does this new project mean to you and what is the vision behind it?

Ellery: I created specific parameters for my debut REVENGE, because I simply wanted to be able to finish it! As I began working on songs after I released that record, I found myself writing ideas that seemed to be a sequel to REVENGE, and an electric guitar-based record I referred to as “Prism Point”, a working title. However, a few months into the process I became bored with the new acoustic songs, and I said to myself, “Why do you want to make REVENGE again?” I then began to find a common thread between the two records, acoustic songs that worked alongside certain electric tunes. That is the composition of RESULTS.

Llewelyn: I went to Connecticut years ago during a trip as a camp counsellor. It’s so beautiful there with so many trees and much calmness. Is this where you grew up and have lived your whole life? What makes it special for you?

Ellery: I have lived in Mystic, CT for my entire life. There is a psychic vortex that runs beneath the river. And I can prove its existence. For real.

Llewelyn: With no traditional singing training, do you feel like it actually helped you naturally or hindered you at all? Also, your sound has such a unique construction, how has this developed over time?

Ellery: Having been a member of many rock ensembles as a drummer, one soon learns the limitations placed on your creativity. As a result of this insight, I began writing and publishing poetry during the summer of 1988. In Mystic, during the 1990s, there was a robust poetry / spoken word element to the culture in town at the time. Hozomeen Press was the quintessential indie publishing house of that era, printing quarterly magazines as well as a full roster of poets from the Mystic scene. In addition, there was an incredibly competitive weekly poetry reading in the basement bar of a Mystic restaurant that dated to 1789. The atmosphere was electric, and that is where I honed my skills as a spoken word performer. When I began to apply that experience to the songs I was writing, as a drummer it was fairly easy to create a rhythm inside the melody, within the syntax of the words.

Llewelyn: If you could be the President of the USA for 4 years, what would you hope to accomplish and stand for? We seem to live in a rather odd world. Do you think humanity can get back to a more relaxed state with fewer wars and conflicts?

Ellery: There seems to be an interesting timeline between the immediate effects of climate change, (as well as a myriad of other problems) and the possibility of answering our most pressing energy and economic issues with the realization of fusion technology.

Llewelyn: Has there been anyone in your life who’s helped you get to where you are now? Also, have you had any interactions with a fan, friend or family member where you’ve realized…this is who I make music for.

Ellery: My wife Michelle is the only reason I am able to be Ellery Twining. During the pandemic, I approached the members of my very first band 17 Relics about releasing our last record which never saw the light of day. None of us were happy with the recording, which is why it had remained unreleased for 28 years. I even suggested that we re-record the songs as a caveat, to no avail. The same disagreements that brought the band to a halt still existed. I sent a text to the Relics bass player David Bentley, who also plays all of the bass on the Ellery Twining recordings, that I had a realization. As good as the songs were, as competent musicians navigating a difficult business, the only reason we had any success was because my parents let us use their basement as a practice space for free. And that David’s parents gave us full access to the equipment of their engineering firm-~ professional copiers we made our press kits on with no charge, and the company van to get to our earliest out-of-town gigs. I have always been committed to making music to give back to the community that liberated me as a teenager. I see it as a responsibility.

Llewelyn: Lastly, where do you see yourself creatively in the next 5 years and is there anywhere you’d love to tour in the world?

Ellery: One lesson I learned (amongst many) during the pandemic was:

How long is an hour?

How long is a day?

How long is a year?

How much can you accomplish in an hour?

A day.

A year….

I was at the Coney Island NY Daft Punk show in 2007, and as such, I do not yearn for places I have never been.

Listen up further on his Spotify.

See more via the IG page.

Interviewed by Llewelyn Screen

I see your faces in the Sand: Edgar Everyone drops outstanding visuals for Who’s the Dreamer

With the much-anticipated five-track EP Who’s The Dreamer on the way soon in Springtime, Edgar Everyone brings an MGMT-like liveliness which is psychedelically stimulating to the core and shall open the eyes of many who needed a boost for the betterment of their soul with Who’s the Dreamer.

Edgar Everyone aka Jules de Gasperis is an off-and-on member of Low Hum and Kunzite who performs the kind of music which will put chills on even the most robust spines.

After being massively reinvigorated by a stint in the Amazon jungle for an ayahuasca retreat, Edgar Everyone has come back in a new space and shall start up all engines. Fueling our emotions with a beat to hug all night, this is a delightfully compelling release which deserves so much love.

Who’s the Dreamer from the hugely exhilarating and mega-creative Kosmic pop artist Edgar Everyone is the type of single which will pinch unconscious souls back from the freezer and into the light. This is a real eye-opener which will surely make many smile and beam in ecstasy. We find an inspired soul in seriously electric form for the betterment of our lives.

If you want to be happy again, place this video on repeat.

See this fine video to change all moods via YouTube.

Find out more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Fine Wine: Darius Marquis sees that good life on Angels by the Ocean

Wondering when their next stimulating meeting shall be, Darius Marquis glances deep within the hearts of so many with the find-the-purpose soundtrack to put on by a warm fire called Angels by the Ocean.

Darius Marquis is a Houston, Texas-born indie RnB/soul artist who is an established multi-instrumentalist that fuses various elements of gospel, rock, pop and hip-hop.

At the age of 7, he played drums for his uncle’s church. A keyboard was given to him at the age of 8 and he taught himself how to play the piano by ear. After finishing Middle School band, he continued to refine his skills by studying music theory.” ~ Darius Marquis

He seems ready for it all. Darius Marquis showcases his supreme skill with an extraordinary song to soothe all tired hearts with a dynamic soundtrack for the ages. Gosh, this is a quality experience which might tickle ears and ease worries into the sky.

Angels by the Ocean by the soulfully charged creative rising great Darius Marquis is a rather wonderfully electric track which has been made to mesmerize even the weariest humans. Soaring with a heightened intellect and featuring some of the best solos imaginable, this is a must-listen if there ever was one.

With raw elements that can be refined, this is surely the kind of song which should give many goosebumps packed with intrigue.

See this new music video on YouTube.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

dark passenger_ powers in with the compelling electronica track Together (we’re Alone)

Pulsating all of our senses with a rather thrilling sound which might take many back in time, dark passenger_ has dropped a forcefully exuberant soundtrack to thrill all moods back to the better on Together (we’re Alone).

dark passenger_ is a new Lewis Mander-powered indie industrial electronica artist and music producer who has recently started on a new creative journey.

New to this genre, Lewis has spent the majority of his music career playing guitar, with one album and one ep to date. However, with an ever-present passion for djing lurking in the shadows, over the past three years an almost uncontrollable urge has prompted Lewis to turn his hand at producing electronic music. Whilst there is no question that this is new territory for Lewis, a life-long passion for electronic music has culminated in what we now know as dark passenger_.” ~ dark passenger_

Edgy throughout and delighting many listeners on the way to evolving through these misty days, dark passenger_ has taken us all into a massively reflective planet. This is action-packed stuff that The Rock would probably enjoy and seems to inspirit each sinew of our imagination.

Together (we’re Alone) from Manchester, UK-based indie industrial electronica artist and music producer dark passenger_ is a rather explosive performance from a massively talented creative who has decided to flow onto a new path. Showing his supreme aptitude and fondness for taking his music into a new universe, this is a powerful performance for those who love dark beats with meaning.

Listen up to this intense song on SoundCloud.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Up in Flames Again: Supah Sayin doesn’t see the future on 01:12 AM in Tejas

After disregarding the disbelievers and making it rain on Double Dutch, Supah Sayin sees the world going crazy and packed with vicious wildfires ousting the hope of so many on the explosive new single, 01:12 AM in Tejas.

Supah Sayin is a 25-year-old Dallas/Fort Worth-based indie psychedelic hip-hop artist who is one of those creative wizards who drops elevating tracks and flips moods with his conscious message.

Influenced greatly by the psychedelic age of rock and his idol Jim Morrison, Supah Sayin created a unique, first-of-its-kind genre: psychedelic rap.” ~ Supah Sayin

Taken off the excellent Neo-Lizard King and hoping for sense and order to be restored and solutions to be found, Supah Sayin has torched the souls of so many with an enlightening song to open the lost eyes amongst the suffocating winds of modern times. There are sublime laser-sharp lyrics about the financial crisis and the immense upheaval of the planet, caused by the so-called leaders who have drenched pollution over innocent humans.

01:12 AM in Tejas from Dallas/Fort Worth-based indie psychedelic hip-hop artist Supah Sayin is a fighter-for-the-people single we all needed to hear. Avoiding the fake game and slicing the truth so calmly that millions can consume it without an upset stomach.

Keeping things in perspective and never holding back, we are treated to a look behind the masses, with a superbly honest single which deserves so much love and respect.

Listen up closer on Spotify.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

You’re The One To Blame: Areeyedee grows tired of the complaining on You Can SMC

With new music out every two weeks while his prodigious mind sparks new possibilities, Areeyedee is in no mood to have his time squandered by someone who just doesn’t get it on You Can SMC.

Areeyedee is a multi-genre artist who was born in Kansas, raised in Texas and is now residing in Darmstadt, Germany while making mesmerizing tracks not many humans thought possible before.

In his younger years, Areeyedee was the lead singer in a rock band in the 90’s. Hip Hop came into his life several years ago as he was offered the role of a hip-hop artist in a feature film. As he dove deep into this character he fell in love with the history behind hip-hop music.” ~ Areeyedee

You Can SMC from Darmstadt, Germany-based indie hip-hop, rock, pop, country and EDM-fused creative Areeyedee is a fiery statement track which will fuel many fires within.

Performed with a terrific edge and never letting go for even a second, we find ourselves swept into a wind-filled tunnel of honesty. There are raw elements to unpack with gleeful abandon here, with a rather ear-tingling beat to turn up rather loud too.

Listen up on Spotify.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Can’t Leave That Behind: Yvngerror sees those hazy nights misbehaving on Gold Roses

With his bright hair and bags of energy to spare, Yvngerror looks deeply into the fun friendships in his local town of Camden on the super song to soar highly with called Gold Roses.

Yvngerror is a London/Surrey, UK-based indie alternative solo artist who makes a tremendously definitive blend of music to spark all imaginations alive again.

Taken off the upcoming debut album Definitely tea, London’s Yvngerror drops a rather special look into an electric expedition which lights up our inventiveness through the night’s luminous glimmer. This is proper raw British music at its best. Underground fused and ready to be loved, this is a rather exuberant speaker-buster designed for all weather patterns.

Gold Roses from London, UK-based indie alternative creative Yvngerror is a rather eloquent look into the future with a mesmerizing soundtrack of anthem-sounding proportions. We are invited on a magnificent mission to turn up loud with mates who appreciate a bit of grit with the music of edgy substance you can down a shot with.

Listen up on Spotify. See more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Excellent Irish electronic artist Coex drops a modern-day classic on Hold Me

Transcending through the tempers and finding a happier place, Coex shows us the hype is real on the superb new track to play rather loud on Hold Me.

Fused fantastically by Cormac Crehan and Feargal, Coex is an Ireland-born, West London-raised indie electronic artist and visionary creative with a particular skill set which is only getting better.

”’When writing this track it just seemed to flow as if I was making a DJ set’ explains Cormac, ‘then the rest was just getting the sound design to emulate what I was hearing in my head’. There’s a whole raft of new Coex material in the pipeline, but please don’t expect any consistency in the musical direction, he operates in almost polar opposition to those ideals: “I tend to make music that just encapsulates what I am feeling in that moment as best I can. Being quite an intensely temperamental person, this tends to change quite dramatically from song to song.” ~ Cormac Crehan

Floating into our minds with so much foot-tapping happiness, Hold Me from Coex is one of the best singles of 2023 without doubt.

Righly lauded on the underground and flowing to the top, this is the kind of song which causes drinks to be spilt. Maximum vibration and packed with much might, moving eyes from all current fights and into a much more welcome light.

Hold Me from West London-raised indie electronic artist Coex is one of the more mood-boosting experiences anyone is likely to hear. There is a mass abundance of quality here on offer to heal the heart and get those feet tapping joyously again. Each second is rather riveting and will excite many who crave new heroes to look up to.

Listen up on SoundCloud. See more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Forgot How To Breathe: Kayla Friend longs for that sweet kiss again on valentine’s day

Witnessing that torn page and reminiscing for a tender touch to change the day, Kayla Friend propels us through the lonesome nights and sings with such an affectionate beauty on valentine’s day.

Experienced in both the desert and the big city life, Kayla Friend is a Hemet, California-born indie singer-songwriter who appears to have the resourceful tendencies needed to succeed.

In some strange culmination of recent events, Kayla Friend’s valentine’s day is an accurate representation of our current world. There is so much love to give. Some would say endless. Somehow however something is off like a cruel game is being played on those who crave a genuine touch. In a sometimes meaningless and plastic time for humanity, this is the sad reality when the heart gets broken too many times.

valentine’s day from the San Antonio-based creative Kayla Friend is such a sweetly-toned track to rid all worries away into the closet. Helping us heal with a true story, this is a hold-me-tight-single for anyone feeling rather let down. Reminding us to go back into the moment and appreciate the love, no matter how short the kiss was.

Love can be harsh sometimes after all.

Hear this fine song on Spotify. See more on the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen