Daniel Damian Kapuscinski is a Film Music Composer, Music Producer and Sound Mixer. He graduated from University of West London as Music Technology Specialist in Surround Sounds and HND in Music Production at City and Islington Collage. He is the founder and owner of a small post-production facility Cinematic Sounds Studio in London. Daniel started his musical adventure in the early 90s in Poland with local band call “Trays” on organ and synth instruments. Soon after, he started writing his own music and pushed his ambition to become a film music composer. Apart from music scoring, Daniel is a well accomplished songwriter and music producer with worldwide success and recognition.
Could you tell us the story of how you arrived at this point in your musical career?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: I started to play music in the early 90s in Poland, in local band, over time I developed a more individual path in sound and music as an artist, composer and producer. In 2005 I discovered film music and have stuck with this since.
Who are the main composers and producers who have most influenced your approach to music and production and why did they have that influence?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: James Newton Howard really opened my eyes on film score and influenced me to write music to pictures. I respect all music makers, but I do not really have any idol in that matter. I focus more on developing my own style. Some people told me that my creations sound like Tchaikovsky or Hoffmann. But I don’t really know. I like the music of Alan Silvestre, Joseph Bashara, Mozart, Chopin, Freddy Mercury, Pavarotti and James Newton Howard. I really admire their achievement in music.
What inspires you and what makes you want to keep making and producing music?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: I like telling a story by music expression, daily life events are my inspiration to write and compose music.
Which are the key elements you always try and put into your music, regardless of style or genre?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: I like nice melody and simplicity; melody is always my first go to, everything else comes second.
What more than anything else, do you think makes you a good songwriter and producer?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: I don’t know, I just focus on writing music. I trust myself and never ask for opinion from other people. If the song sounds good for me, that means I’ve done something right. I think you need to appreciate your work first before you show it to the world. At the same time I know not all my music is the best, and I try to improve my writing and production skills all the time. Learning is a never ending process and I always learn something new about myself and my creations during the process.
What is your process when composing a new song? Where do start, and what usually comes into your head first – the melody or the beat? And how do you then develop that idea into a song?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: Usually I start from the melody, piano is always my first instrument to start writing and producing music with, I always go with feeling, I never got special treatment and guides, music is art and I think it should be treated that way. Overthinking during the production process makes music sound robotic in my experience. Usually when I play the piano part, I can hear the beat in my head, along with the bassline or other instruments in the song arrangement. It come to me easy and is natural. I never spent too much time on production, if something does not come natural to me, I never force to make it work. I just take a break and finish at another time.
What do you wish you had known when you first started making music?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: Knowledge about business and entertainment industry.
When and how did you get started creating film soundtracks?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: The first time I noticed a music score was in 2005 by watching film “The Village” with Adrien Brody. The music was composed by James Netwon Howard, this really started my adventure with film scores. I was thinking to myself, this would be something, writing music to pictures. I took me time to write my first score, but it was worth it. At the beginning of 2012 I wrote my first soundtrack to short film “Care”. This production opened more doors and opportunities for me.
Do you only create and work in a studio environment, or do you also find time to work in a live setting? And if so, which of these two do you ultimately enjoy more?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: At the moment I’m working on film sets in sound departments and at my studio in post-production. I started from a live band and done a number of great shows including TV, Radio and festivals. I would love to get back on stage on some point in the near future, but at the moment my focus is on audio production to pictures. I like the booth, performance and studio work. When you’re working hours in post-production, it’s a lonely world and sometimes makes you feel down. On stage everything is live and you spend time among other people. It’s uplifting and awarding. I think in my situation, balance between the two is the key.
Can you tell us about your own latest music release and the highlights to lookout for?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: I have done a number of projects recently as producer with artists such as Madame Kapuscinska-“Eternal”-Ep which became a finalist in the “World Songwriting Awards’- Best music production, Alexandra Hainsworth’s single “You will be Free” which won “World Songwriting Awards”- best collaboration, also the single “Bood Up” by Madame Kapuscinska which was number one in Chicago, USA and my piano album “Waves of Live” which I’m currently promoting. Also a collaboration with David Boulianne on the rock track “Broken Dreams” which received the WSA Finalist award was a great experience for me. The short documentary soundtrack for “Letitia” and currently I’m working on a soundtrack and score for the documentary “Bipolar of Sound Engineering”.
Do you have a personal favorite track in your catalog that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: Yes, “Funeral Preludium”, I wrote this many years back, in 1997 when my best friend passed away. It’s a dark sound, full of pain and sadness. The music was composed for church organ . I was 17 years old at the time.
Could you tell us about the work, goals and vision of Cinematic Sounds Studio in London?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: At the moment Cinematic Sounds Studio focuses mainly on sound production to pictures and surround mixing. So far we have worked on over 20 productions including films, documentary, tv series and short films in music and sound department. My plan is to expand my current surround set up to Dolby Atmos, and I’m also in the market for new acoustic piano. Apart from that, my vision is to bring the studio back to my homeland Poland, and move to full film production studio including cameras, lights, green room, video editing and sounds. Currently we are in first documentary process under title “Bipolar of Sound Engineering”, fully produced by “Cinematic Sounds Studio” and “Letitia Antoinette Revolutionary One” Production. The film will be on streaming platforms such as Amazon etc. films festivals and Tvs. Cinematic Sounds Studio is mainly working on sound recordings on set, foleys, dialogue editing and ADR recording, sound design and music production, 5.1 surround mixing.
Do you have a favorite piece of hardware/software in the studio right now which you love working with?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: I like working on my SSL console and Nuendo 11 for film score and post-production. Also Izotope RX 9 is my way to go for audio restoration when I working on dialogues in post-production.
What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your career so far?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: As independent music producer, I had to learn business the hard way and the experience on my own skin of how hard this industry is.
On the contrary, what would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your career so far?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: I am proud of my work and achievements so far. I am still developing my career and try do my best to be a successful film composer and producer. I think I am on right path.
How strict are you with genres? Do you only concentrate on specific styles of music?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: Not really, I like working with all music genres. Especially when you’re scoring films, it is hard to stick with one style of music. The film music more often is fusion and requires mixing and many different music genres. The score can start from a simple pop beat and end with a full symphonic orchestra or heavy metal. It’s good to experiment and learn about different music styles. I love working with all music genres. Besides, I think it will be boring for me working in only 1 or 2 music genres.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do? And do you have a specific vision or goal set in your mind that you would like to achieve in the near future?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: When people complement your work it’s rewarding and uplifting. Also any award nominations boost your confidence and adds motivation to your work. Regarding my plans, I would like work more on films scores and sound design. Also I plan on moving the studio to Poland in the near future and a comeback on stage with my piano album “Waves of Live”.
Do you have a favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: When your dreams are high in the sky that means you can touch the stars.
In your opinion, as a producer in the current day, is it more important to have a good musical theory background, or to be extremely tech savvy?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: I am old school, the music background always come first for me, also I am a music technology specialist by trade. It’s good to have both skills and combine them together to make the most of it.
Finally, what’s your favorite pastime or hobby when you aren’t writing / producing / recording music etc.?
Daniel Damian Kapuscinski: Walking is relaxing and refreshing for me. A good thriller or horror on Saturday night with nice food and a glass of red wine or beer is my best way to have time just for myself and chill out.