Wayne: How did you get into composing music for film?
Jasha: Growing up I always had a love for music. Being involved in opera at a young age with Cinnabar Theater, to studying years of piano and playing trombone at school, it was almost inevitable I would pursue a career in music. So while studying both piano performance and composition at Sonoma State University, I realized how drawn I was to film scores. The emotion it captured and the life it brought to the screen was absolutely thrilling to me. By pure luck, I met the lovely Bob and Nicole Daspit while coaching their son at Redwood Empire Gymnastics. Both had worked for the prolific film composer, Hans Zimmer years prior, and were kind enough to put me in contact with his studio in Santa Monica, CA. From there, I decided to take the leap and leave SSU after my sophomore year to move to LA. I started from the ground up. I was an intern, then later hired as a studio assistant, until ultimately given the opportunity to write additional music alongside Hans.
Wayne: How did you get involved with Winter on Fire?
Jasha: My friend Evgeny, who I had met a year prior, called me from Ukraine informing me he was shooting something really important and wanted me to be involved. Knowing very little about the events unfolding in Ukraine I began to do some research. A few months later I sat in a screening room at Netflix to watch the film for the first time and was completely overcome with emotions at what was on the screen.
Wayne: Did you have some creative freedom in working on this project – or did you collaborate with a team?
Jasha: I sat down with Evgeny and John Battsek, one of the producers of the film, and we were all in agreement that the music needed to be raw and emotional; something that would hit you just as the visceral images on the screen did. From there I came up with concept of wanting to create something of an anthem for the people. A simple tune that anyone could hum along to, one that grew to the end of the story, just as the people in Maidan did, and a piece that ultimately represented their courage and sense and sense of unity. When creating a score it is always a collaborative process between working with the director, musicians, and mix engineer. For this score, I had the privilege of recording the incredible Ukrainian-born violinist Edvin Marton who breathed such life to the score.
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