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James L. Venable Interview

Jimmy here is the musical composer for "The Powerpuff Girls." He has also done music for "Samurai Jack," "Clerks," and "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back!"

PPGWorld: How did you get the job on The Powerpuff Girls? Did you do the 2 pilots as well?

Jim: Basically, I met Craig and Genndy through a couple of composers that I had been doing some work for. When Craig and Genndy went on a search for a composer for the series they decided to give an early PpG scene to a number of composers to see how they would handle it from a musical standpoint. Fortunately for me, the demo I did was the one that they chose to do the series. I did not score the 2 pilots.


PPGWorld: Craig McCracken mentioned that someone else did the music tracks in the later season 4. Who was that?

Jim: I believe it was the first 6 episodes of season 4. This is too long a story for me to get into here but I was really happy that Craig found a way to get me back on the show!


PPGWorld: What kind of equipment do you have access to in the studio?

Jim: My studio is made up of samplers and synthesizers. The samplers are set up to do the "organic instruments." These would include orchestral strings, brass, woodwinds, ethnic instruments, drums, perc, etc. The synthesizers are the source of the techno/electronica sounds. I also have recording equipment that I use to record live musicians such as guitar, vocals etc. (for more info and studio set-up see Venablemusic.com)


PPGWorld: Are you composing the music for the movie as well? If so, will there be orchestral or any kind of non-electronic music?

Jim: Craig and I have only talked in general terms about the music for the movie. I have always viewed the music of the show as a combination of orchestral and electronic music even though the orchestra has been recreated by samplers. It is my hope the movie will allow me to have live musicians for the orchestral portions of the score. There is nothing like a huge room full of live players blasting away to get ones point across.


PPGWorld: Do you know of any bands booked for the movie?

Jim: I have no idea, generally the composer on a film is in charge of the original score and has little to do with placement of bands and songs.


PPGWorld: When did you and Kevin Smith get so chummy?

Jim: My good friend Susan Egan introduced me to Bambi Moe, who was the VP for music at Disney. She really got behind me and my music and had been trying to involve me in some of their new projects at the time. From what I understand, she sent Kevin and his producer Scott Mosier my reel as a possible composer for their new cartoon "Clerks." It turned out that Kevin was a big fan of the "puffs"! He and Scott said they loved the music in the Powerpuff Girls and basically hired me on the spot.


PPGWorld: A fifth season of The Powerpuff Girls was ordered by Cartoon Network. Looking forward to it?

Jim: Absolutely, I have found working the Powerpuff Girls to be a blast.


PPGWorld: How does one get started in this business?

Jim: I think it is important to learn as much about music and the craft of writing music for film as they possibly can. Read books, go to seminars, take classes and private lessons. Then, spend time writing music to picture. The way I started was by doing lots of student films, smaller industrials, and pretty much scoring anything I could get my hands on. I do recommend embracing the technology because there are not many entry level jobs that can afford an orchestra. Find composing groups in your area and be involved in them they can lead to fellow composers who may have more work then they can handle. Most of all I recommend determination, just keep on going don't let set backs get you down. Just keep working towards your goal.


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