Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Zach Seman/Roger Kleinman

Photo courtesy of Greenwich Entertainment.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

Alongside other names such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michael Basquiat, Kenny Scharf rose to prominence as one of the original Pop art icons, which has been covered in the recent biographical documentary “Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide” that premiered at SXSW and was nominated for a Grand Jury Award.

The documentary was a collaboration on the part of Zach Seman and Roger Kleinman, composers and music producers, whose past work include production on Zayn Malik’s hit single “Connexion,” Claud’s debut album “Super Monster,” as well as on tracks with Fabolous, 2Chainz and ASAP Rocky and films like the documentary “So Late So Soon” and Louis C.K.’s controversial “I Love You, Daddy.”

The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Seman/Kleinman about their work on “Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide” and more.

Music Bugle – How would you describe your overall experience as a part of the “Kenny Scharf: When Worlds Collide” documentary? 

Zach Seman – Working on the Kenny Scharf doc was a blast! If we’re being honest, we didn’t know who Kenny was before we started on the movie. We recognized his art, obviously, but getting to learn about him via the film and his daughter Malia – who directed it – and her partner Max was really fun and interesting. 

Roger Kleinman – The music itself was a lot of fun too. The score spans quite a few different genres of music, from orchestral to almost industrial techno. Max and Malia were great collaborators and we had a lot of fun working with them.

Music Bugle – What do you think people will learn the most from, regarding this documentary? 

Zach Seman – Maybe that Kenny Scharf is even still alive? We think Kenny often gets overlooked when talking about the art scene in the 80’s and certainly amongst his peers. Andy Warhol and Keith Harring – one of Kenny’s best friends – and Basquiat. We think people watching this documentary will be reminded about Kenny Scharf’s stature in the art world and almost as importantly, his continued success. 

Roger Kleinman – They might learn that we’re pretty good at scoring movies too!

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Roger Kleinman – At first, we thought we might never work in person again, but begrudgingly started using Zoom. We were actually able to do some pretty great work with some people all over the world we wouldn’t have been able to connect with otherwise.

Zach Seman – We actually started working on the score for the movie just as Covid was ramping up. We were able to do a lot of it separately in different studios and then come together to finish everything. 

Music Bugle – What’s something that you wish happened less in today’s music industry?

Zach Seman – In a perfect world? More protection for songwriters and producers. It’s far too easy to be taken advantage of and a less male-dominated industry, perhaps. Plus, health care would be nice!

Music Bugle – Do you think social media helps or hurts musicians? 

Roger Kleinman – We think it can definitely help. We tend to avoid it like the plague. We think in a way it hurts us, but also there’s a way that being too into social media and a little too “try hard” can hurt?  But on that note, follow us on Instagram! I’m @rajchrome.

Zach Seman – I’m @officialmisterzachary. Also, follow our brand new joint Twitter account -@zachroger2.

Music Bugle – What has been your biggest challenge lately? 

Roger Kleinman – We sort of got swept up in the world of professional music production/composing pretty quickly and at a fairly young age. We were stuck in a stifling deal that gave us the opportunity to hone our skills, but left us without much in the way of guidance and structure. We’re free agents now and are slowly learning how to build a team of collaborators and mentors that can push our abilities to new levels. 

Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break? 

Zach Seman – The beach in Martha’s Vineyard.

Roger Kleinman – I flee the city to go hiking in New Hampshire!

Music Bugle – What do you hope for by the end of 2021? 

Zach Seman – Just more good music with good people and we want to work with Little Simz.

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about what you do? 

Roger Kleinman – We dip our feet in a lot of different types of media. Everyday is a new day to write a song, record an upright piano, compose some string parts that we can use in a multitude of ways – in a traditional song writing session, for a commercial, to be manipulated and stretched and distorted until it’s barely recognizable any more for a movie score.

Zach Seman – We have a huge messy Dropbox account full of random ideas and songs. Every day is a new day to make something weird. 

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise? 

Zach Seman – We’re listening to Franz Liszt, Porches, Westside Gunn. Also, Spill Tab and Mereba. ‘Donda’ too, but not all 26 songs of ‘Donda,’ although we did like the song that sampled Lauryn Hill!

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