INTERVIEW: Kipo And The Age Of Wonderbeasts Composer Daniel Rojas

- Advertisement -

Kipo And The Age of Wonderbeasts is an animated series from Dreamworks that premiered on Netflix in January and features the voice acting of Karen Fukuhara (The Boys), Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), and legendary musician Joan Jett to name a few. Creating the soundscape for this fantastical world is composer Daniel Rojas.

Fukuhara is the voice of Kipo Oak, a young girl traversing the world in search of her people. Kipo lives in an underground city, but when she’s forced to flee, the young girl faces a trip across a strange, post-apocalyptic surface ruled by “mutes,” animals that have not only physically been mutated but are also sentient. The show’s creator, Radford Sechrist, compared the series to The Wizard of Oz, “but instead of ruby slippers [Kipo] has Converse on.”

PopAxiom spent some time talking with Daniel about his career as a musician, his diverse tastes in music, and scoring for Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.

Musical Family

Daniel is Costa Rican, and his musical journey began before he was even born. “My parents are both musicians, so I’ve been in the world of music for most of my life. My parents are classical musicians, and I got an early start because of that.”

- Advertisement -

Without hesitation, Daniel says, “I wanted to pursue music in high school. It’s what I wanted to do for life.” Daniel pursued this path with a “… jazz degree in college …”

After the education, the young composer “… moved out to L.A. to pursue film and television scoring.”

City Of Angels

Daniel arrived in L.A. with a degree and a lifetime of musical experience. It was time to put it all to work. “I started off with ads. It’s such a short form, and there are so many of them. There’s rarely any story. It’s hard to develop in 30 seconds or a minute. It’s good practice.”

After a “couple years” of scoring ads, Daniel began doing short films which helped “… to train more on the storytelling aspect. I was also an assistant to several composers, for instance, I worked for Klaus Badelt, and I worked some time at Han Zimmer’s Remote Control.”

Rising through L.A.’s competitive creative market saw Daniel “… bounce around doing all kinds of things. Little tech jobs; orchestration; programming.”

Kipo Came Calling

Daniel’s agent came across a potential new gig for Daniel. “Dreamworks was looking for someone who was not just a traditional composer but also a songwriter and song producer because of the style of music that they had in mind.”

Working his way through L.A. afforded Daniel a wide range of musical elements to work in and around. “During the time I’d been scoring, I also had a double-life doing a lot of song sessions and song production. My agent thought I would be a good fit for the show based on the description of what they were looking for.”

Outside of some basic information, Daniel says making the right demo for Dreamworks involved slight moments of doubt. “When I was putting together the demo for Dreamworks, I didn’t know much about the project. I was thinking to myself, ‘Man, my demos are all over the place.’

The final version included “… a couple beats, a rock tune, some pop songs, a couple more folky sounding things, and some score cues.”

Dream Fit

As it happens, Daniel sent over the demo and “… that was what they were looking for. It was the right fit at the right time.”

Dreamworks was creating a dynamic show with beautiful animation, lovable characters, and a robust soundtrack. “They wanted to have one person to do the songs and score so that it would be cohesive. It was challenging, but we worked to get there.”

Daniel teases, “We want to release the score, but nothing has been set.”

Kipo is a cartoon for all ages. “That was the goal to have a larger appeal and not just kids.”

Scoring for live-action film and television is challenging enough. Doing the same for animation is a whole different [wonder] beast. “When I was working on the songs, I was working with the animatics, which are basically storyboards. The script was still changing, so revisions were being sent to me.”

Wrapping Up

Of his musical tastes, Daniel says, “It’s all over the place.” He continues, “I was classically trained early, so I was a pretty nerdy conservatory kid. But then I got into jazz in high school; Coltrane, Miles, Barker … all the jazz guys. I went to college in North Texas to study jazz.”

Daniel’s music interests don’t stop there. “I’ve always liked all kinds of music. Hip hop, rock, pop music, etc.”

In the age of remakes, what would Daniel love to be a part of? “I’m really excited about Space Jam and … the sequel. But Hans Zimmer is doing it according to IMDB, so I’m out of the picture on that one.” Daniel laughs.

Kipo is out on Netflix with a 10-episode season. So, what’s coming next from Daniel? “At the moment, I’m pitching for another animated show that I can’t really talk about. There’s talk of more Kipo. In the next month or so, I’ll be working on a live-action feature film.”

Did you watch Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts?

Thanks to Daniel Rojas and Impact24 PR for making this interview possible.

Want to read more interviews like this? CLICK HERE.

- Advertisement -


Safety Problems | Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas | Season 2 Episode 2

Wyatt explores the role of facial-recognition software in surveillance, tries to curb car-on-bike crime, and travels to New York to question the idea of school safety. #HBO #ProblemAreas #WyattCenac Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is also available to stream on HBO via HBO Max. Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas follows comedian…

Perry Mason: Official Trailer | HBO

Everyone is guilty of something. The new original series Perry Mason, starring Emmy winner Matthew Rhys, premieres June 21 at 9PM on HBO. Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this drama series follows the origins of American Fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason. When the case of the decade breaks down…

Love Against All Odds | The Walking Dead

From the moment they met until now, watch Rick and Michonne's full love story and their journey together through the seasons of The Walking Dead. Watch from The Walking Dead: Subscribe to The Walking Dead on YouTube: #TWD #TheWalkingDead #RickAndMichonne THE WALKING DEAD: Like The Walking Dead on Facebook: Follow The Walking…

Mrs. America | Ep. 9: Reagan Calls Highlight | FX

Sometimes, the battle follows us home. All episodes of Mrs. America are now streaming, exclusively on FX on Hulu. Subscribe now for more Mrs. America clips: Mrs. America recounts the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the unexpected backlash led by Phyllis Schlafly, aka “the sweetheart of the silent majority.” Through…

‘Burritos’ Ep. 6 Clip | Vida | STARZ

Someone’s got their eye on Eddy. Don’t miss the series finale of Vida, Sunday May 31st, on the STARZ App. #VidaSTARZ Like Vida on Facebook: Follow Vida on Twitter: Follow Vida on Instagram: Like STARZ on Facebook: Follow STARZ on Twitter: Follow STARZ on Instagram: Visit STARZ on YouTube:…

I Know This Much Is True: A Director’s Approach With Derek Cianfrance | HBO

"It's all high drama in small, ordinary events." Director Derek Cianfrance and the cast of #IKnowThisMuchIsTrue discuss his approach to bringing the series to life. #HBO #IKnowThisMuchIsTrueHBO #IKTMIT Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Based on the 1998 bestselling novel by Wally Lamb, adapted and directed by Derek Cianfrance, this limited series follows the parallel…

Bank, Mosquito and Mental Health Problems | Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas | Season 1 Episode 5

Wyatt Cenac talks banking deserts, explores the unintended consequences of combating mosquitoes, and examines the intersection of America's mental health crisis and policing. #HBO #ProblemAreas #WyattCenac Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is also available to stream on HBO via HBO Max. Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas follows comedian and writer Wyatt…

Research, Reef and Punitive Problems | Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas | Season 1 Episode 9

Wyatt Cenac notes the historial exclusion of women in medical research, explores man-made reefs, and examines the process of restorative justice. Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas is also available to stream on HBO and via HBO Max. #HBO #ProblemAreas #WyattCenac Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas is also available to stream on…
Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here