The work of a Langley City composer has garnered industry accolades, and could propel Daniel Ross’ career forward even further – but the multi-talented musician is not sure he can handle much more work.
Ross was recognized with a 2017 Leo Award earlier this month, it’s an awards program for the B.C. film and television industry.
Ross created the music for Srorrim, a 16-minute documentary that he says examines the complicated relationship between fantasy and reality.
Three Downtown East Side residents have the chance to lose and perhaps rediscover themselves in their most intimate fantasies.
“The film is definitely not Saturday afternoon popcorn fun – it deals with some very bleak human experience – and it reflects a reality that is all around us in our communities, though we often choose to look away,” Ross described.
The film won three Leos in total, including best sound design, best cinematography, and Ross’ best musical score for a short drama.
It took Ross about six weeks to create the score back in the fall of 2015.
As with any film it was a “deeply collaborative process,” he said, working closely with director Wayne Wapeemukwa to find the right tone and approach for the score, and with sound designer Matt Drake to build a “sonic landscape that hopefully transports the viewer.”
Ross has been nominated for a Leo twice before, but this was his first win.
“I was surprised to actually win, as I had been nominated before, and it’s nice enough just to be nominated,” he said, noting his initial reaction when reading online that he’d won was to share the news with his family, a few friends, “and of course exchanged congrats with some of my collaborators.”
Inspiration for the piece came from the personalities in the film who portrayed themselves (Eric Buurman, Angel Gates, and Mark McKay).
He described them as “compelling,” and said their struggles to “find themselves, balanced on the edge of meaninglessness and despair was more than enough to draw on.”
Honoured by award
He’s going to opt to keep the Leo certificate, rather than the statuette, because he has no room in his studio, which is already overcrowded with guitars and keyboards.
“Any time something like this happens, it sheds a little more light on your work, and hopefully yes, it might open a door or two or create new connections,” said Ross, who scored close to 200 TV episodes and a number of feature films thus far in his career.
“It’s always an honour to have your work acknowledged, and it’s great to help promote the film itself,” Ross told the Langley Advance.
“But, to be perfectly honest, I can’t attached too much significance to the winning, as I’m keenly aware that for every win, there are an amazing batch of equally deserving pieces of work” that went unrecognized.
Among his past credits, Ross was involved with TV shows such as Madison, Alice, I Think, Walk the Dog, Carver Kings, Glutton for Punishment, The 100 Mile Challenge, and Robson Arms.
He’s recently completed music for season four of HGTV’s Timber Kings, the score for a feature length documentary called Luk’ Luk’ I (also by Wapeemukwa), and a new record he produced for the artists Fear of Houses and singer/songwriter Jordan Carrier.
He is also involved in a range of other musical endeavours – not just film and television scores, including record production, artist development, and live performance.
He’s currently working on music for a Marlene Rodgers and Franco Pante film called Dreams of The Dead, and as a singer and songwriter, he hopes to cross the finish line soon on his own new album this summer.
“I’ve been so busy on other projects, it’s hard to find time to get to my own,” Ross explained.
His primary instrument is guitar, although – like many composers – he’s a “multi-instrumentalist” who spends a lot of time steeped in the technical side of his studio and what he describes as “the increasingly complex software environment that entails.
“These days, music production has become extremely complex, with so many options it can sometimes overwhelm, so I try to blend the best of traditional approaches with new innovations. I find that the combination of opposites more often than not creates compelling results,” he elaborated.
Ross had a previous commitment, and was unable to be on hand to receive the award at the beginning of June during the 19th annual Leo Awards celebrations at Vancouver’s Hyatt Regency.