Rolling Out

Composer Matthew Head shows younger generation there’s a different way in music

Composer Matthew Head shows younger generation there's a different way in music
Film composer and music producer Matthew Head. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Alexander)

Music means more to Matthew Head.

The film composer and music producer has had great success in his career, with two of his latest scores landing on Starz’s “P-Valley” and CW’s “Tom Swift,” but he remains humble and reaches back to help the next generation. Recently, Head sat with rolling out to discuss the origins of that attitude, and his experience in the music industry.

Why is it important to go back to your hometown and speak to the kids? You also have a teaching background, why is that so important to you?

You know in Marietta, [Georgia], the community we grew up in, the slogan of the high school was “Be Somebody.” I played football and our football coach James “Friday” Richards really instilled in us to be somebody. To use our talents and our gifts to do more, and always bring it back to the community.

Music was a gift for me, it’s a talent that I have. … I wanted to share with students I work with or mentor you can be whatever you want to if you trust your gifts and talents. Going back and speaking to these kids on a regular basis is so important, it is a simple reminder to let them know I was in their shoes, walked those halls, listened to those speeches and had most of it go in one ear and out the other. There are certain things that resonated, which allowed me to do more things. Speaking to the kids is a must, especially as African American males in America, we got to show success comes in all forms and not just on the screen, with me being behind the screen and being in the background.

What was your mindset while setting the mood of “P-Valley” and “Tom Swift” these past seasons?

[For] “P-Valley,” I was the composer on the first season, so this season was like an extension of what we did last season. Our showrunner Katori Hall is extremely creative and hands on with the show. The music she wanted was more trap sound than last year. Last year was more a trap, warm with a jazzy feel, but this year, she was like,” let’s go dark, let’s go horror, let’s go left.” As you watch this series, you’ll definitely know why we’re going left. It was very unique. I did some research and listened to a lot of Three 6 Mafia, a lot of old-school trap songs from Dungeon Family to T.I. to UGK.

As far as “Tom Swift,” it was completely the opposite. That was more of a cool 007, science-fiction, hip-hop, new war kind of thing. We walked in with that cool, refreshing sound and that was really dope as well. I had to go do some research and listen to some newer music and listen to what’s on the radio.

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