I’ve been a tv/film composer for over 35 years. Current projects include Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Narcos: Mexico, City on a Hill, Titans, Doom Patrol, and Trese. I’m also known for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels, Jane the Virgin, Star Trek: Enterprise, Stargate, Hell On Wheels, Making a Murderer, CSI: Miami, Superboy, Tremors, Freaked, and Leprechaun. Ask me anything!

Proof: https://i.redd.it/s6vgy30d77w61.jpg (center, w/ his sons Sean and Dean who helped him compose Clone Wars/Rebels/etc.)

Comments: 92 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

JasonBall3420 karma

I grew up on Clone Wars so I can't thank you enough for your work on it. Your music is ingrained in my brain and I actually let out a whoop when the familiar recap music appeared at the start of Bad Batch.

I guess my question is: How much input, if any, did George Lucas himself have on the music in The Clone Wars? I often hear about him having story and visual design input on the show but I'm wondering if he ever gave you any directives regarding the music or asked for something to be changed if he didn't like it, or anything like that. Thanks!

kevinkiner23 karma

George had a lot of influence on the score to Clone Wars, especially early on. It was his idea that there be a lot of world influences in the score, and that each planet should have it's own musical ethnicity. Also, George really wanted to push the envelope and try new things. So I would say that he influenced me and Dave Filoni in deciding to score the end of Victory and Death with exclusively electronic instruments. That had never been done before in Star Wars, and it was kind of scary to put that out there. It turned out to be a brilliant call on Dave's part.

CGCJ13 karma

It's been a few years and STILL no soundtracks for Rebels series 3&4... Anything you can say about this? So much great music left unavailable.

Any plans to make more music from The Clone Wars available? There's still so much great music that seem like I'll never be able to listen to.

Huge fan of your scores to The Clone Wars and Rebels! Just want to thank you for your amazing work on the series as it greatly contributes to my enjoyment of both series (as does the work of the other composers, of-course)

Final question; any plans for soundtracks for Titans, like the Doom Patrol ones?

kevinkiner17 karma

Mondo has been talking to us about doing a Rebels album. So keep your requests coming and persistent!

zpol611 karma

Were you surprised to hear Ahsoka's theme in The Mandalorian, or did you get a heads up?

kevinkiner25 karma

I had heard that Ahsoka was going to appear in Mandalorian but didn’t know whether her theme would be used.  When I heard Ludwig’s version it was so gratifying that he had done such a great job with it and respected it musically.   To have something so powerful in the Star Wars canon is mind boggling!

JVC22019 karma

How did you approach creating the music for the Bad Batch in comparison to the Clone Wars? Will there be soundtrack releases in the future?

kevinkiner15 karma

Disney is planning on releasing music in batches as well as singles for each episode. At least, that’s what we prepped and sent to them

kevinkiner12 karma

For Bad Batch we’ve been looking at inspiration from movies like the Dirty Dozen and Guns of Navarone.

alcibiad8 karma

Hi Kevin, thank you for all your wonderful work on Star Wars. What is your favorite non-Star Wars project you have worked on and why? Thanks for doing this AMA and we are all really looking forward to Bad Batch (also add me to the Rebels S3 and S4 soundtrack request list 🤗)

kevinkiner9 karma

Well I have a short memory, but here are some of my favorites (in no particular order): Making a Murderer, Narcos Mexico, City on a Hill, Titans, Doom Patrol, Hell on Wheels!

And we have a new animated series called "Trese" that is based on Filipino mythology, coming out on Netflix. The trailer is coming out May 10th I think?? It's reallly coooool! And Sean and Dean are Filipino Americans!!! (I met my wife in the Philippines 38 years ago)

Arpikarhu7 karma

Keith Richards wrote “satisfaction” in 5 minutes so why does it take 14 years to write Star Wars music?

kevinkiner9 karma

Hahahaha! Keith Richards is just TOO amazing!!

hamiton14 karma

Hi I love the clone wars and the music in the bad batch has been great I’m wondering what’s your favorite Star Wars theme you’ve written and why?

kevinkiner11 karma

here are some of my favorites! Ahsoka. Ahsoka's Victorious Theme (on the original soundtrack titled "General Loathsome/Ahsoka"). Satine's Theme. Hera's Theme. A Galaxy Divided. Thrawn's Theme, Omega's Theme!!!!!!!!! Bad Batch Theme!!!!!

captainyeet994 karma

Hi Kevin, I’m so greatful that you’re doing this. You’re my favorite composer and I often listen to your works, especially for studying or writing.

Out of the three animated Star Wars shows you composed for, which has your favorite soundtrack?

The Motis theme is one of the most interesting motifs I’ve heard in Star Wars, how did you come up with it?

The last track, burying the dead is unusually somber, especially compared to “its over now”, were you directed to write it like that or did you decide to make it quieter?

Thank you so much.

kevinkiner5 karma

Sorry to be trite, but it's like asking me who is my favorite child. I did such a variety of styles for each series, and there is also a progression that my music took from the first episodes of Clone Wars through Rebels and now in Bad Batch. I've used a lot of different techniques to score each series and they have all been really satisfying to explore.

m-henson1443 karma

Hi Kevin! I listen to film and tv scores more often than other types of music, and your work on The Clone Wars and Rebels is among my favorites! One of my favorite pieces that you’ve composed is “Race You to the Surface” from the Siege of Mandalore in TCW. I love how the Force theme flows so organically into Ahsoka’s theme! I’ve wondered, was Ahsoka’s theme always intended to complement the Force theme so well from the beginning? Or was that moment something that just came together while scoring the episode? Also, what was it like getting the chance to take some of the themes from Rebels (Maul’s for example) and being able to bring them back for TCW Season 7?

kevinkiner3 karma

That's a very interesting observation. As a composer I am always trying to smoothly go from one theme or one vibe to the other. So I think it's more of a happy accident. When I composed Ahsoka's theme I was trying to channel her personality as best I could. I wanted it to be strong and noble as well as soft and vulnerable. I'm really proud of that theme! I also feel that the Force theme is one of the best movie themes ever written, so weaving those two together was a delight for me!!

Kerouac_433 karma

First off, I love your work on Rebels and Clone Wars, and cant wait to hear more in the Bad Batch!

What was your favourite score in them to work on? I think my personal favourite of yours would be Sabine's Catharsis.

kevinkiner5 karma

I loved Ahsoka Leaves from I think season 5 of CW. Also, Burying the Dead from the last episode of Clone Wars. Also, I have few favorites coming up in Bad Batch!!

JaminJedi3 karma

Which theme or piece of music written by Sean are you most proud of, and which of Dean’s?

kevinkiner5 karma

we really work as a team these days, and although Sean and Dean have written the majority of several new themes - we all have input to each other. We work very closely!

8va2 karma

Hi Kevin,

I've heard from many people that your orchestrator is extremely good-looking and highly skilled. Can you confirm?

kevinkiner3 karma

I don’t know about that, I just tried to post a picture of him and it crashes Reddit for 45 minutes

Red_Naxela_2 karma

Hi Kevin. If you had a lightsaber, what color would it be?

kevinkiner3 karma

Blue! My favorite color

shockwave11a2 karma

Mr. Kiner I don' t mean to change the subject sir. I am a big fan of your score to 1999 Wing Commander. The soundtrack that was released only had about 38 minutes of music. But you scored a breathtaking 65 +. Would you happen to know if there will be a potential expanded release of this great score you composed please? Thank you.

kevinkiner1 karma

we are trying to find and release the unreleased music from Wing Commander. Check with Buysoundtracks.com .

AtManOnZON1 karma

Hey I very like star wars music! Whats your favorite character from Star wars?

kevinkiner1 karma

So there are many. But I'd have to say a tie between Ahsoka and Darth Vader. (pretty different personalities, huh??). LOL

displayskeg1 karma

I grew up on Clone Wars so I can't thank you enough for your work on it. Your music is ingrained in my brain and I actually let out a whoop when the familiar recap music appeared at the start of Bad Batch.

I guess my question is: How much input, if any, did George Lucas himself have on the music in The Clone Wars? I often hear about him having story and visual design input on the show but I'm wondering if he ever gave you any directives regarding the music or asked for something to be changed if he didn't like it, or anything like that. Thanks!

kevinkiner1 karma

Thanks so much! I'm really grateful that I have a job that inspires people and brings happiness to many in this world. I think I've answered the George Lucas question somewhere in this thread, so have a look

cast_g1 karma

How's your composition process? Do you ever have a difficult time creating/starting a piece?

kevinkiner2 karma

I usually sit and watch a piece of film, something im working on. That's when I hear music. I input using a computer and I have a very large template with all of the instruments of the orchestra, which I start layering. Sometimes I start with a melody, sometimes with a rhythm, sometimes with chord changes, and I'll orchestrate from the basses up in that case.

Yes, sometimes it comes out great, other times not so great. I liken it to baseball: Even Babe Ruth struck out or hit just a single sometimes. But I'm always TRYING to hit a home run. I never really get blocked though.

Multidroideka1 karma

As a semi-professional game and film composer, do you have any tips for getting a place in the film/tv world?

kevinkiner3 karma

Try to find student films that need music. Score anything you can find for free to create relationships and hone your chops. Have a good rig and knowledge of your DAW and quality sound libraries. Be able to deliver a professional sounding finished product. Listen to what is "happening" now in terms of film scores and make sure your demo reel contains good examples of that. Connect with as many of your peers as you can, and hang out with creative people. Your gigs will probably come from your peers, not Spielberg! Best of luck!

MrLeHah1 karma

Kevin! Big fan of your work for years now. I’m especially fond of your score to Madison and Wing Commander. Do you have any memories working on that score with Davis Arnold? Is there any chance of an expanded album? There’s a lot of WC fans out there who would love to hear more of it!

kevinkiner3 karma

there IS a chance of an expanded Wing Commander album. Stay tuned!

SpaceHorseRider1 karma

Hi Kevin, first question, to keep it star Wars related: both in wing commander and with your Star Wars work, you started off with paths tread by others. With WC David Arnold wrote the Overture and with star Wars your obviously had to a degree make your work fit the shoes with at first but John Williams. Similarly your SG1 work played off Arnold's work. What kind of challenges does this present for you as a writer to make those works stand out as your own?

Next question:. With wing commander the final movie was edited down tragically to it's barest bones. When you were brought in to work on the film, were your starting from essentially the theatrical cut or did you come up with motifs and other unused pieces for scenes that were ultimately cut from the movie? In test t footage I I've seen there were what seemed like possibly unused tracks that I couldn't identify as being temp cues, such as a more somber opening song for the main titles.

kevinkiner2 karma

First Answer: Collaborating with other great composers is really one of the things I enjoy most about my career. I've collaborated with so many great guys. As you said David Arnold, also VanDyke Parks, Dennis McCarthy, Gustavo Santaolalla, Clint Mansell. I've been scoring shows for 38 years now, and I'm sure I would have burnt out if I'd only tried one single style. I am a student of film composition, and the best way to learn is from the shoulders of giants. Having access to the inner workings of these great minds has helped me grow, and continues to push me into new directions. It's like hanging out with Mozart!!

kevinkiner1 karma

Second Answer: David and I started from the script!! So there was unfortunately a lot that got cut out. However regarding the opening. One of George Lucas' first drafts of Star Wars was something like: "Starfield, deep space. War drums can be heard in the backgroung". Soooooo, that got changed..... and I think it turned out pretty great! I feel similarly about David's marvelous overture that starts Wing Commander. David is one of the great melody guys living right now!!

kaludiasays1 karma

Hi Mr. Kiner! My love of Star Wars is first and foremost the music, so thank you SO much for all of your work. On rewatching the Clone Wars with friends who have never seen it before, I love to point out to them the little moments where the Imperial March leitmotif is on top, or creeps up when Anakin does a Certified Bad Thing (TM). It's almost a comical thing at this point that my friends have put on their TCW bingo card. As a musician it was one of the first things I noticed when I watched TCW for the first time, and I loved it SO much, I tell any first time watcher to look for it, and now my friends say they can't watch without noticing it.

What was the process for determining what the Vader foreshadowing moments would be? Was this something that just came naturally from your process with each episode, or something you planned to do with Anakin throughout? Thank you for your time doing this AMA!

kevinkiner5 karma

the answer to that if fairly complicated. But I'll share a few insights. First of all George Lucas did not want John Williams' themes to be used very often in CW. It was his vision that the music take on a new path with different ethnic influences as well as new themes. However, he and Dave Filoni both would point out special areas where we should use, say, the Force theme, or the Imperial March. I used to refer to it as bringing out the big guns. This way when those themes would play they really meant something, and really stood out. However, there are also more obscure references to some of John's themes throughout Clone Wars, and they may be what you are hearing. The process for those is that possibly Dave Filoni may tell me to have a bit of an Imperial flavor here, but nothing too overt. Or other times I will start out with the first few notes of the Force Theme and then take the melody in a new direction. I think this sets up a subliminal feeling of Star Wars without over using these iconic wonderful melodies.