Bronco Composer

Posted on Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chances are good that you’re familiar with alumnus Ryan Andrews (BM ’09, Jazz Studies), whether you’ve heard his name or not. Whether you frequent the movie theater or enjoy a night in playing video games, you’ve probably heard the music made by this Bronco composer.

Andrews works for Pitch Hammer; a company that pitches audio clips to movie studios for them to use in various projects. Andrews has had work placed in a number of movies, including Insidious: Chapter 2, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Andrews has also composed for the Call of Duty video game series.

Andrews got his start at Western Michigan University where he had the chance to travel the world. Andrews traveled to China on two occasions and to Spain for a study abroad opportunity, as well as traveling the United States to Carnegie Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center. While in Michigan, Andrews played local venues like The Union, Martini’s, and Bell’s Brewery.

There is a long list of professors that stood out for Andrews at WMU, and he says they were an integral part of his education. Although these professors gave him the opportunity to see performers like Stefon Harris, Lyle Mays, and Billy Childs, Andrews says that his classmates were equally important.

“As important to my time at WMU as the professors were my fellow students that I played with and learned from on a daily basis,” Andrews said. “Many of whom are now great teachers and players in their own right.”

Andrews comes from a drumming background, so a lot of his music is heavily percussion driven. Andrews said that sometimes it is a particular sound that grabs him, and he will start with that one sound and built his music around it. If Andrews finds a certain sound that really stands out to him, he says that it will do the same for editors and supervisors. Andrews has had the chance to work with some of the most experienced composers in Los Angeles, including Veigar Margeirsson and Mark Denis.

Another major accomplishment for Andrews was recording some of his musical pieces at Abbey Road Studios in London.

“Talk about a surreal experience!” Andrews said. “I was standing where the Beatles stood when they changed the face of music. It was hallowed ground.”

While Andrews doesn’t get to work directly with big name movie executives, he does get to work with the owners/CEOs of top quality music libraries like Pitch Hammer and Audio Network. Andrews was also able to meet music greats Randy Jackson and Lionel Richie. Jackson even complimented Andrews in his typical, laid-back fashion saying, “You sound good, dog.”

Looking toward the future, Andrews says he wants to start composing for different forms of media. Andrews says video games open the doors to a lot of creative possibilities, and also appeal to him as a ‘tech geek.’ Whether Andrews is composing for the big screen or for the next big video game, he always looks back to Western as his roots.

“There’s really nothing better than making great music with great people, which I’ve been lucky enough to do at WMU and beyond,” Andrews said. “So the more of that in my future, the better!”

Posted by Stan Sulewski