05 Sep Meet Romanian Multi-instrumentalist & Composer: Ionut Cosmin Grigore
We caught up with multi-instrumentalist, composer and sound engineer Ionut Cosmin Grigore to talk about his musical influences and career highlights.
Melodie: Hey Ionut! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. What have you been working on lately?
Ionut: One of my most recent projects include scoring & final credits for a movie about the former Romanian dictator Ceausescu which will premiere on national tv towards the end of the year. Another project I am working on includes post production for a TV show called Masked Singer. And of course music for commercials.
That sounds so cool! You’re book and busy, that’s good to hear. How did you first get started in music?
I started studying classic guitar at the age of 10 at the Popular Arts School in my hometown, then went to the Music and Arts Highschool to continue my guitar studies where I also took piano classes. I’ve continued with university and Master studies in Aesthetics and Musical systems in the 20th century. During my school years I’ve been awarded in various competitions both national and international. My professional formation was completed also by the 8 years of guitar masterclasses in Vienna. Alongside my studies I’ve had a band and played guitar and bass. I’ve also had a Jazz trio for about 5 years and we played hits of famous artists such as John McLaughlin, Mike Stern, Chick Corea, Dave Weckl aso.
You play guitar, bass, and even piano. How did you become a multi instrumentalist?
My school years and band experience have helped me learn the way of playing various instruments. To some I’ve dedicated more time and as a result I can also play them, to some like trumpets, horns, strings aso I only know the ambitus and the way of playing so I can reproduce them with virtual instruments.
You studied guitar since you were 10-years-old, what was the first album you bought?
I can’t precisely recall that magic moment, but to my best guess it must have been John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu orchestra.
John McLaughlin is a good choice. You’re currently scoring a movie right now, what is writing music for picture like?
That was about 20 years ago when I moved to Bucharest and started a new job as composer and sound engineer in a very well-known postproduction house. Of course, at first, I was writing music for my band and various local artists but the first time I had to write music for picture (it was commercial) I was asked to give my everything and my best in only 30 seconds.
That was shocking to say the least. In addition to that, this was a pitch where all studios in town were submitting their work. So you can imagine the pressure; I worked hard, submitted my piece and may the best man win. And I won! It was a washing powder ad made by Scala Thompson Agency.
What’s your favourite thing about being a composer and sound engineer?
“do what you like and you will never have to work a single day in your life” I didn’t really target this saying in my early years but that’s exactly where I am today. I love my work and love that I never get bored.
You have over 20 years of experience working in music, you must have some fun stories or interesting pieces you want to share with us.
One the most interesting moments I had was certainly when a Romanian artist, composer & very famous pan flute player based in LA, owner of Grammy award by his name Damian Draghici happened to be in Romania when he was called by Hans Zimmer and asked to record a few pan flute samples for the The Pirates of The Caribbean series. I was actually already in a recording session with him for his personal album when he prompted the question asking for help with these pan flute recordings too. I was very excited to record directly by source connect in Pro Tools with the professionals from LA and the orchestra behind them and with Hans Zimmer live on the phone giving direction to Damian. That’s one of my magic moments at work. Here it s link with a commercial made for “Alka the seeds” which I like it very much.
What is your writing process like?
I won’t get into too many technical details but, I think the most important aspect of the creation process is to have full focus on what the client needs. Even if sometimes, following this rule will not give you the best final result, speaking from a composer’s point of view. When composing for others, not for us, it’s important to understand what they want to have from you and translate their requirements into your composing process so that you can deliver accordingly. It’s not a simple task and requires many years of practice and experience, but when you see them smiling at the end, you know you’ve nailed it.
What DAW do you use? And what are your production values?
When the composition, after mixing and mastering, reaches a level that ticks every single detail you imagined in the original concept.
You have such an interesting and exciting music career, but we want to know what keeps you busy outside of music?
Many things. I told you I don’t get bored at work. I don’t get bored outside work either. I’m an outdoor person, I love mountains, hiking and spending time in nature. I also like motorsports, I took defensive & sport driving courses and also went to a few competitions. I’m also a wine & dolce vita person. I’ve recently visited Sting’s winery in Tuscany and Andrea Bocelli’s summer theatre but I love the Barossa Valley Shiraz too
As musicians, we love music and we have our own favourites. Who are your favourite bands or artists?
Sting is my all times favourite but I also like Imagine Dragon, The Script, Nickelback.