Interview: Amotz Plessner creates new music for 'Haters Back Off'

Amotz Plessner is back in action as the composer for the Netflix original series "Haters Back Off" which features artist Colleen Ballinger as her larger than life alter ego Miranda Sings. As the quirky series readies its second season to start this fall, AXS conducted an email interview with Plessner to discuss what it is about the show that caught his interest as a musical artist and his history-making music for a number of established properties. The trailer for his new series is also available by using the media player included with this article.

AXS: How did you become involved with this series? How is it working with people who have an existing familiarity with music?

Amotz Plessner (AP): I originally got the show because the creative team liked my score for "Addams Family Reunion." Colleen wanted the music for the show to be romantic and orchestral. It worked beautifully as a contrast to the outlandish humor, but also to enhance Miranda’s inner world. The Netflix people were also very supportive of the idea and let us use a fifty-piece orchestra to record the music for the show. The fact that Colleen is a genius and knows music also helps!

AXS: What's the biggest difference between composing for an orchestra as compared to creating music electronically?

AP: When I work on an orchestral score, I always start at the piano. When working on a more electronic score, I’ll go directly to the computer. But always, the important thing for me is having good themes.

AXS: Is it true that you almost began your career on the other side of the camera?

AP: The first scoring job I got was a result of a director that saw me performing with my rock band. He wanted to cast me in his movie, playing the part of a musician. I wasn’t interested in acting but I did end up scoring his short film. I immediately knew that’s what I wanted to do. The combination of music, story and analyzing the human condition was very appealing to me.

AXS: Then how did you get from there to where you are now?

AP: Before college, I scored some short films, plays and composed a couple of ballets. After studying at Berklee College of Music and moving to Los Angeles, I composed the music for a small, animated show. That led to co-scoring the hit series "X-Men" for Fox. Scoring X-Men led to a lot of animation work with Marvel, Disney and Nickelodeon. Around that time I was also scoring a few movies including "Addams Family Reunion" for Warner Bros. and "Till Human Voices Wake Us" for Paramount Classics. Both, in their own way, deal with exploring the internal human condition. That sort of exploration is when I’m most engaged.

AXS: Do you think mainstream music fans have become more aware of music created for media?

AP: I think more so with video games than with TV and film. It seems to me that when a users action introduces new music, it probably makes the music more noticeable to the person playing the game. The Internet also makes me more aware of the people that are interested in the score of a show because I get to hear from them. It gives them the access to be more engaged [with the music].

"Haters Back Off" season two will begin streaming on Netflix in October. While it hasn't been released as an album yet, you can listen to selections from the series, as well as past music from Plessner's career, at his official website.

For more on Amotz Plessner, visit his artist page at AXS.