JEROME KHATTAR: Imagining Visual Scenes
Back in November Paris-based guitarist and songwriter Jerome Khattar launched his debut EP ‘Resurrection,’ and recently we had the title song off of the EP featured on the Progotronics 29 compilation. Jerome answered our questionnaire. Read more below.
Define the mission of your project.
This EP was an experiment I wanted to try to blend film music with progressive rock/metal to target the video game and Japanese anime markets. I want to find a good middle ground between being a performing artist and a visual media composer.
Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut EP “Resurrection.”
During my last semester at Berklee College of Music at the end of 2016, I had an injury in the ulnar nerve of my left arm due to over-playing guitar, which resulted having to stop playing for about 8 months. This was a really difficult time for me, but it inspired me to write the early sketches of “Resurrection”.
Concerning the process itself, my motivation to write comes from an idea, an image, a feeling and not necessarily from music. Then I usually find myself writing a melody, a motif that I will build the song around.
How did you document the music while it was being formulated?
Well, I have written and tabbed all the guitars and bass music which I intend to make available soon. Concerning the orchestral arrangements, I must look through my notes and my Cubase sessions, I usually use the music sheet only when I need to look at certain voicings or such… Right now, I do not see myself releasing the sheet for the full score, but it could be possible if there is interest.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?
I wrote the music whilst imagining a visual scene. I believe the music will have a greater impact when backed by a visual media.
Describe the approach to recording the EP.
I recorded all guitars in my room with my Mesa Boogie Mark V. The drums played by my friend Matthieu Danesin were recorded at The Black Pearl Studio in Toulouse, France.
How long “Resurrection” was in the making?
This EP was made sporadically, I started it during my last semester at Berklee college of music at the end of 2016. I travelled a lot and was focusing on other projects since, and when I moved to Paris in 2019, I decided to have it mixed and mastered.
Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?
I would say bands such as Dream Theater, Haken, or Tool amongst others. Film/TV composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Hans Zimmer, Shunsuke Kikuchi (Dragon Ball Z), lastly, I must emphasize on the classical Arabic music composer such as Baligh Hamdi (Oum Kalthoum).
What is your view on technology in music?
Technology is always evolving and some of the software and plugins out there are really tools that feed your creativity as a composer. I am always on the lookout for new cool plugins, and always learning!
Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?
At this point I just hope that my music will resonate with some people and bring them an emotion whatever it might be. Eventually it would be a dream to collaborate with video game companies such as Ubisoft, Activision-Blizzard or anime companies such as Toei Animation amongst others of course.
What are your plans for the future?
Well as soon as this pandemic is over I would like to book some shows in France and Europe if possible. In the meantime, I am writing some new material probably for a new EP. I will keep everyone posted on my website when the time comes!