Our Sonic Stories Return with Felix Manzi!

Published October 2, 2023

The insight and inspiration don’t stop as we are back with another Sonic Story! We had the pleasure of catching up with the very talented, Felix Manzi. So sit back, grab a paper and pencil (or the notes app from your iPhone), and get ready to feel inspired.

Sonic Stories with Felix Manzi

What is your creative process like?

If I’m working on a custom/specific project, I usually start by reviewing the brief, highlighting and making note of any keywords, moods, moments, styles, etc. Then, the real fun begins! Typically, I start with some kind of chord progression or rhythmic pattern to build on top of. If I have more time, I’ll even start with a full piano sketch, and orchestrate it. Once the composition is done, I finish up with any more mixing, master it, and send it off!

What would you consider to be your specialty?

I’d like to think that my specialty is that I’m a jack of all trades. I really love to study and immerse myself in all different styles of music to really get into the intricacies of what makes each genre special and unique. 

Are there any new trends or techniques that you are loving right now?

I’ve been hearing a lot of unique sounds in trailers these days. For instance, there are ear-pleasing, clicky, percussive, vocal, ASMR types of sounds. I really love that because it allows for more inventiveness, and the ability to really think outside the box.

What is your favorite piece of gear in your studio and what is your latest gear purchase?

Favorite: Would probably be my 1960s Gretsch Round Badge drumset. They just sound so beautiful!

Latest Purchase: I recently purchased a portable recorder. I’ve been having a blast recording different sounds, and working on more unique sound designs.

How did you discover SAS?

I’m pretty sure I discovered SAS through a Google search. I got a sense that they really cared about the composer and not just the music. I was right!

What are your top three spots/placements that you did for Score a Score that you are most proud of?

  1. Google Cloud - They wanted a very drumset-centric score, so as a drummer, I loved recording live drums for this one!

  2. Hocus Pocus 2 - As a '90s kid growing up with the first movie, this was really special to be a part of.

  3. Gone In The Night - My very first real, official trailer placement

Your work with Score a Score covers both music for ads and music for trailers. How does your approach differ when composing music for advertisements as opposed to trailers?

I would say that because of the nature of trailers, I approach trailer music in a more structured way. I often start with the biggest part, the final act, and sort of work backward (or at least have an idea for the final act). When it comes to advertisements, it’s much more of a toss-up with how I tackle the track. 

What have you learned about yourself as a composer since creating ad and trailer music with Score a Score?

I’ve learned that I’m capable of more than I think. I’ve had some pretty specific, and odd musical directions for projects, where I thought, “There’s no way I’m gonna be able to make this work!” But I always have. If there’s a will, there’s a way!

What are some of your favorite TV jingles?

I love the classics:

  • Folgers “The best part of waking up…”
  • Mentos “The Freshmaker”
  • Bounty “The quilted quicker picker-upper”
  • Toys R Us “I don’t wanna grow up…”
  • ABC bumpers “After these messages…”

And I don’t know if this counts, but I looooove classic sitcom themes, especially from the '70s through the '90s.

What's the first piece of music you ever composed, and how do you feel about it now?

The first real thing I composed, and finished, was a mockup trailer piece for my music tech class, during my freshman year of college. It was over a trailer of The Incredible Hulk, and listening back, it’s so outdated! I like to keep it as a reminder of where I started vs. where I am now.

What lesson took you the longest to learn in your career?

Patience...in everything!! Career aspirations, skill and production growth, the creative process, and even the business stuff. It took a while for me to stop obsessing over achieving everything fast, and to just enjoy the journey/process as it happens. This business really is a marathon, not a sprint.

If you could talk to your younger self when you first started composing, what would you say?

I would definitely tell myself to just jump in, and get my music out there! I waited for the “perfect” time to start putting my music out there, but there really is no perfect time.

When was the last time you surprised yourself both personally and professionally?

Personally: In 2020, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and had to go through chemotherapy. I went into it with a calm, almost zen-like, “accept what you cannot change” mindset, and I think that helped, tremendously. I was surprised I was able to keep that mindset throughout.

Professionally: I recently did a trailer album focused on bespoke sound design. I’m somewhat new to creating my own custom sounds, so I was surprised that I pulled it off, and how much I enjoyed working on it.

If your life were a movie, what genre would it be and who would compose its soundtrack?

Definitely a comedy composed by Randy Newman.

That's a Wrap!

As the curtain falls on our inspiring chat with Felix, remember that every finale is just the prelude to another masterpiece. Stay tuned and keep an ear out on our Instagram, because our line-up of empowering interviews with our SAS composers is far from over!