Interview With Vivek Maddala


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On today’s show, Jason Drury interviews composer Vivek Maddala.

Vivek is a two-time Emmy-winning composer for his music in the Cartoon Network series The Tom and Jerry Show. His most recent project is the thought-provoking PBS documentary series Asian Americans, which casts a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played. Each of the five episodes contains wall-to-wall music, and Vivek created different themes which evolve alongside the storytelling throughout the series. Asian Americans premiered on PBS on May 11th 2020.

For the score, he intentionally threaded recurring themes into the story to help the audience connect the dots and see the parallels between these oppressive situations that Asian Americans have endured throughout history in the U.S.

One of the themes Vivek created is called “resigned acceptance,” which he explains is the decision of the oppressed to not rebel, but to unite and better their own situation as best as possible.

Overall, the composer set out to create a cohesive sound to represent the commonality among the oppressed, who ultimately overcame their injustices and triumphed. The score is stylistically diverse—featuring jarring percussion, brooding electronica, 19th-century European orchestral music, modern rock, and bebop.

In May 2020, for the Cinematic Sound Radio Network, Jason talked to Vivek, via Skype, at his recording studio in Los Angeles.

During the interview, we talked extensively on how he scored the documentary series Asian Americans, his work on The Tom and Jerry Show and how he became a film and TV music composer.

Also during the show, Jason will feature music by Vivek Maddala including from the documentary Asian Americans, a score he crafted to help tell the story of this culturally oppressed group throughout American history.


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