Dan Brown Jr has made his mark in the crime genre of music.
The composer’s CrimeSonics team currently has five Emmy’s for criminal production music. The Knockturnal sat down with composer Dan Brown Jr to discuss the unique genre, creating CrimeSonics and more.
The Knockturnal: How did you get your start in composing music for tv and film?
Dan Brown Jr: Great question! Back in 2009, I was living in Denver, CO playing lead guitar in the local cover band scene where I met a fellow musician who had just finished scoring a low-budget indie film. He was so excited about his project and made me watch the film right away. I remember he had a burned DVD copy (‘cause we did that back then), popped it in and together we watched the film. It was a version where the music was a bit louder than the final release. As the film played, I remember thinking, “Whoa… This is totally something I never thought about doing before… But now I’M IN!”
At that time, Denver had quite the indie film scene, so I starting seeking out local filmmakers, working on several low/no budget projects, and falling in love with the process. It was one night during the Christmas season, I was restringing my guitars while watching Dateline NBC and it dawned on me. I really love true crime shows… I really really love the music in these shows… Umm… And all I watch are these shows… BAM! That’s it! I’ve gotta pack up, move to LA and write the music for crime TV! So, that’s what we did! Within one year, we were living in Los Angeles and so began the journey of figuring out the crazy music for media industry.
The Knockturnal: Do you have an important mentor in your career?
Dan Brown Jr: Actually, no… Not really, but I’d love one! As a forever student, bring on the mentors! No matter how far you get in the game, there’s probably someone who’s still a bit further and I believe you can learn from just about anyone! So mentors, come at me bro!
The Knockturnal: What attracted you specifically to the crime genre?
Dan Brown Jr: As a kid, I got in quite a bit of trouble. I wasn’t a serial killer by no means, but those early experiences with law enforcement/the criminal justice system made quite an indelible mark on my life. I can’t say I’m attracted to the crime genre… Maybe more like, destined for it. It’s the one genre I’ve truly lived… Writing this kind of music comes from real experience, real memories and a real understanding of the word regret. Interestingly, I feel the happiest when writing music that sounds the saddest… Writing anything else seems a bit disingenuous.
The Knockturnal: What challenges did you face in creating CrimeSonics?
Dan Brown Jr: That’s easy! For me, the greatest challenge was overcoming the doubt of others and taking the brave step of pushing pause on those relationships! I don’t doubt myself at all, but I have learned through experience, others may project their insecurities onto you when you’re doing something or achieving something that seems impossible to them. I think it was good ole’ Steve Harvey who said, “Stop telling your BIG DREAMS to small-minded people…”
Back in 2014/2015, I started kicking around the idea of starting a production music library. I remember communicating to my network the plan of launching a crime genre-specific library called CrimeSonics and many folks thought it was a bad idea and/or too specific. This was my crossroads moment. Would I let the doubts of others stop me from pursuing my goals or would I trust the conviction (pun intended), of my heart? The niche production music library is now quite the trend in our industry and with countless shows, films, ads, and brands using the CrimeSonics library, I’m so grateful I followed my criminal instincts!
The Knockturnal: What project are you most proud of?
Dan Brown Jr: Ah! I love this question! It has to be our Emmy Award-Winning Public Service Announcement series called, “Stopping Crime, Starts With Us…” Beginning in 2019, we started producing PSAs for local communities to help shine a light on various crime rates and various “crimey” issues. Our first PSA focused on the rise of violent crime in Bakersfield, CA. This first PSA went on to win 7 Emmys and several other awesome awards as well. We’ve completed our second PSA for San Luis Obispo, CA, and are currently gearing up for PSA number 3! Let’s go!
The Knockturnal: Tell us about your new deal with Warner? What does it entail?
Dan Brown Jr: Well… We can’t get into all the details of the deal of course, but CrimeSonics and WarnerChappellPM have signed a global distribution partnership. That’s right! You heard it here first folks! When you come to CrimeSonics.com and click to search our library, you’ll be re-routed right over to WarnerChappellPM for super fast and easy licensing! No matter where you are in the world, you’ll be able to license all the “crimey” goodness your little criminal heart can desire!
The Knockturnal: What’s next for you / your company?
Dan Brown Jr: Well… Global domination of course! Just like the true-crime shows, we’re never stopping! Each month we release brand new criminal and investigatory Music, SFX, Foley, Police Chatter, and CrimeScapes! But seriously, at this point the sky is the limit so keep an eye on CrimeSonics… This criminal empire is just beginning!