Half Brothers is a comedy-drama starring Luis Gerardo Méndez (Murder Mystery) and Connor Del Rio (Unfriended: Dark Web) as two unlikely brothers forced together on a long road trip. Composer Jordan Seigel created a score to balance the laughs and tears.
Luis Gerardo Méndez plays Renato Murguía, a wealthy Mexican businessman working in the aviation industry. Renato grew up loving planes thanks, in part, to his father. However, during an economic downturn, Renato’s father heads to America to find work and never returns. Renato grows up a shrewd man, always wondering what happened to his dad. The truth reveals itself when Renato gets word that his father is dying. The trip to say goodbye introduces Renato to his half-brother Asher played by Connor Del Rio, and together they set off on a journey to unravel their father’s past.
PopAxiom and Jordan discussed making music, playing piano for Peanuts, and balancing the score of Half Brothers.
Jordan is a Los Angeles native. “I’ve been playing piano since I was about five years old. My dad played piano and had a great ear. There was always a piano around the house, and it was a fun thing to do.”
“I was mainly doing classical music growing up,” he says, “but I didn’t excel at it. That didn’t happen until I found jazz.”
By high school, Jordan was “doing jazz, and it wasn’t until the end of high school that I said ‘I want to work in music.’”
At that point, the would-be composer “didn’t even know being a film composer was a dream yet.”
Jordan studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. “While I was there,” he says, “I loved playing piano, and I loved composing, and I searched for a good career path. Someone suggested film scoring. Growing up in LA, I knew about it, but I hadn’t thought about it. I loved films and the music from like Jurassic Park and Star Wars.”
Once Jordan started thinking about film scoring, he “started watching music with that ear and fell in love with it. I ended up majoring in film scoring.”
Jordan’s list of IMDB credits is rapidly growing, but he keeps a “balance composing music and still playing the piano.”
About Half Brothers
Half Brothers centers on two men who didn’t even know the other existed. It was Jordan’s real-life (and close) brother who helped bring the composer to the project. “Luke Greenfield, he’s friends with my oldest brother. I knew him as my brother’s friend. He contacted me and said he was looking for composers for a new film. He sent me a list asking what I thought of the people on there. I said, ‘Hey, let me demo.’”
“I kept demoing over serval months,” he says, “I wrote for the montage and the ending. I read the script. I was only sent specific scenes during that time. I scored it as a drama.
Luke was on board, but the final decision rested on the shoulders of execs. “Luke fought for me on the project, because for a studio, I was a relatively unknown composer.”
The work on the demo was part of a long, evolving process for the Half Brothers score. “I don’t think there’s anything that I demoed that ended up in the final film. But the vibe of the movie and the music evolved to find this middle ground between comedy and drama.”
“It’s a long process,” says of making movies and the scores that accompany them. “I came on the project in December and finished the score by June. Things were being recorded, the VFX were being completed, and there was some uncertainty about the timing, but that’s how the process goes, and everything worked out.”
The evolution of the Half Brothers score involved the usual tough choices of what to take out. “The montage scenes were much longer, and it was making things too sad and taking away from the momentum.”
“We wanted to go full out Shawshank Redemption serious score,” Jordan says. “But We can’t do this. We have to find a middle ground within the context of each scene. Once we understood that the score fell into place.”
Thomas Newman and Randy Newman are significant influences for Jordan. “Bernard Hermann was a huge influence,” adds to his list, “to see what he did and how he approached scoring in terms of using restrictions to make a score interesting. He’d say, ‘I’m only going to use woodwinds or string quartet, interesting ensembles to create a unique score.”
“Ravel and Stravinsky are incredible,” Jordan says of classical influences. “Stevie Wonder is probably the greatest American songwriter. No one can write a song like Stevie. The Beatles. Duke Ellington in terms of jazz.”
Jordan shares what a dream project to him might look like. “Anything where I can write a really strong melody that can transport an audience. You get a melody in your head that moved you. The Pixar movies do that so well.”
Half Brothers is available on YouTube and Vudu. The score is available on Spotify, YouTube Music, and other services. So, what’s next for Jordan? “I get to play piano on AppleTV’s The Snoopy Show which comes out on February 5th!
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Thanks to Jordan Seigel and Rhapsody PR
for making this interview possible.
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