Award winning composer from the Netherlands. At this moment Vidjay is composing the music for the upcoming animation feature: The Little Vampire 3D which will be released in theaters worldwide during Halloween.
Why did you move to Hollywood?
Ever since I was very young I wanted to move to Hollywood. My very first idea was to become an actor. I never went that route but chose music instead. After I graduated from the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) in Holland, I started to work on films and TV shows right away. My dream of moving to Los Angeles faded to the background. In 2009 I decided to visit Los Angeles, take a look around and find out if it was a place I could see myself living in.
I didn’t know anyone so I contacted every Dutch person I could think of who was living in LA. That’s how I got in contact with composer Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL). We became friends and I had the pleasure to work with him on several projects. In my experience it really is all about relationships if you want to build a career. Building those relationships can take a long time though.
I decided to study film scoring at the University of Southern California (USC) for one year and go back to Holland after that. It’s seven years later now and I’m still in Los Angeles.
You were already working in Holland. What was the reason you came here to study?
I had a lot of work in Holland but I knew I could learn more abroad and also strengthen my musical abilities. The quality of work in Holland can be quite different than in LA, one of the reasons is that music budgets are smaller in Holland. It is rare to record with a live orchestra when you actually need one. Computer samples are used instead. And samples do not sound as good as live musicians.
I started making music in the musical theatre world when I was young and I love to work with people. The film world is different for a composer. You are working alone and most of the time there isn’t enough budget to hire a team or musicians. Therefore you have to do everything yourself. Composing can be a very lonely job. I came to LA to learn the specific film orchestra skills. USC has the most prestigious film scoring program in the world, not many people get in. I was very honored to get accepted and study there with the best teachers. After USC I continued to study at the ASCAP film scoring workshop. For that I was very honored to receive an ASCAP award. Now, a few years after the program I get asked to do the biggest projects in Europe with sometimes live orchestra so I get to work with people again. This way the quality of the music is not limited anymore. I always noticed that the bigger, more expensive Dutch movies are not scored by composers in Holland.
You have your own company, do you have any employees?
I work alone most of the time, when it gets really busy I hire people to help me. I have build a fantastic team around the globe. The good thing is when I hire people in Europe or in other places in the world, we benefit from the time difference and we can work around the clock.
What is your favorite genre to compose for?
Animation is one of my biggest loves; it’s a very specific genre and requires specific skills. Mostly it is orchestral music and not easy to do which is a good challenge. The music in animated films is very important because you don’t see a live action performance of an actor on the screen. Music plays a bigger role to evoke emotions or to tell the story. Ratatouille is one of my favorite animated movies; it’s so funny and clever. My other love is dark drama, which is the exact opposite of animation: bright, funny, uplifting music against, dark, electronic, sad music. I love to do both.
What’s the next step?
My next step would be to get hired by a big studio here in Los Angeles. I worked for big studios but always for other composers and companies or through video games.
What is your ‘Hollywood Highlight’?
I’m super lucky that a few months ago one of the biggest music agencies approached me and offered me to help my career.