We had a chance to sit down with Brandon Keropian Olmos - singer, composer, musician as well as producer and sound mixer for many years working in television, film and theater.
An accomplished musician/composer in many genres of Jazz, Blues, Latin, Pop, Orchestral, and Rock and Roll music makes him so unique. In the world of film, he has spent over twenty years working with Olmos Productions on feature films, award winning documentaries, with an IMAGEN Award in 2000 for co-producing (with Edward James Olmos) the PBS Presents LIVE at the Kennedy Center: The Americanos Concert.
As a member of the Motion Picture Editors Guild, Brandon has edited dialog for TV and mixed the audio for many independent documentaries and short films. He is currently producing a series of music documentaries entitled MUSIC of AMERICA: the
Everyday Music of Our Lives. Let's see what he has to say...
Thank you for taking time to sit down with us and answering a few questions. First, what keeps you going?
Good question. But first, thank you for the gracious invitation! I think what keeps me going is the vision. I love making great music and I still have virtually the same vision that I have had since I was a kid...to keep making the most dynamic, soulful and honest music that I can. Music that touches people and moves them. I love it! For film, what keeps me going is simple...making movie magic! Mixing in all the sounds together makes the cinema come alive! It is an amazing feeling to create magic!
What is your first love?
Hmm...tough question. That is a toss up between soccer and food - but I'll go with food. I love to eat, and love to cook. I have cooked for the family for many years, and as the official cook for the Olmos family, we have had many wonderful moments together at the dinner table.
You seem to be very diversified musically and have done many types of things...
In that aspect, I have been very blessed. I worked my way through college playing in the Harlem blues circuit in New York City, I was also very busy playing Jazz and, of course, Latin Jazz. Living in Manhattan, I was exposed to many types of cultures and rhythms from the Caribbean. We played Merengue and Batchata from the Dominican Republic, Vodou from Haiti, and afro-Cuban/Puerto Rican folklore in ceremonies. It was quite an experience! I then moved back home to Los Angeles and started scoring films and mixing for post-production. Nine years later, I am still having fun.
Edward James Olmos is a respected actor, cultural icon, and champion for human rights. What was it like growing up in the Olmos family?
What made this experience so unique was that he touches so many different facets of society. Whether it is in Hollywood, or the Latino community, politically, or as an advocate for human rights on the world stage, he touches all of these. He has brought us with him to experience this first hand. He has only asked one thing from all the people who are constantly asking of him. He asks for each of us to understand our own lives...that's it. When we can achieve that, we'll be in living our lives to the fullest. I'm very fortunate to be so close with him. He is truly a great man among great men.
So, why haven't you become an actor as well?
(laughs) Oh boy! I have in the past but, it has not been very satisfying. I am much more gratified artistically on stage, or in the studio recording music. It is instantaneous. In a film, you have to wait six months before you can see the finished product. With that said, I am going to do a small part in a short film next week...hahaha!!!
What would be your occupation outside of music and film, and why?
Another good question. I would love to become a doctor and practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine - treat patients, help the body regenerate itself and find a balance in one's own "Chi". That is what I would like to be doing in twenty years from now.
I know that you are involved with the LALIFF. What exactly is your job title?
I don't exactly have a job title. I am honored that I can help Marlene Dermer (the Co-Founder, programmer, and Festival Director) in what ever capacity necessary. She is like a Godmother to me. Sometimes I visit her home and help her with the tasks at hand. In the film festival office, I make a point of washing the dishes in the sink, every time I am there. I think it sets a good example for the young volunteers not only to be mindful and humble servants to the community - but also to wash their own cups.
Tell me more about your film?
Well... I am making a series of documentaries about the everyday music in America. I'm very, very excited! We will be covering Latin music and Worship music as well as Dance music in America. I will be in the film (ala Michael Moore style), as the guide for the audience. This will be a very current and realistic exploration of the everyday music of peoples living here in the United States.
Who is your hero?
Oh, I have so many..,but, I will say my cousin Coridan Danziger. He is always so thoughtful, compassionate, disciplined, and funny. He founded the Original Lefty's clothing line in 2004 as a vehicle to voice his protest against the war in Iraq. He loves to read biographies of great men in history and often gives me life lessons from them. At times, when I seek his advice, he will turn to me and say, " Do you know what President Kennedy did in this situation?"
He is my hero, and boy does he have a great head of hair!! (Laughs)
What have you been doing for the past year?
I have been playing in a Gospel band! There is nothing like Black Gospel music! What an amazing experience I have had! I play in church every Sunday and every Sunday I learn more and more. Gospel music is the root of rock and roll, along with blues. There is something so amazing about participating in this. It comes from a Divine source and touches people far beyond a group of musicians and its audience. Unlike any concert or performance, and I get to do this every Sunday morning at 11:00am. Can I get an Amen?
What music projects are you doing next?
I'm very excited to travel to San Antonio to work once again with Dalila and Diane Mu?oz, two incredibly talented singers and dynamic performers. We are going to write and record a new album and then probably tour to support the CD. I couldn't be more excited. We first met when they (Amor y Passion) were nominated for a Latin Grammy back in 2000. Then we recorded six songs a few years later. And now, we're all getting together again. We are all anxious to get started!
Are you in love?
Is there anything else you would like the readers to know about you?
I love Scuba Diving. Catalina and the Channel Islands are breathtaking underwater marine reserves. Schools of colorful fish, the crystal clear emerald blue water, and the golden amber kelp forests make for a magical day out at sea. I trained for Divemaster and Rescue Diver out of Ocean Adventures Dive Company in Venice Beach,
That's it... thank you.
No, Thank you
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