Composer Talk: Kevon Cronin on the Music of 'King of Killers'

Published on in Exclusive Interviews

Interview by Jordan von Netzer

Acclaimed composer Kevon Cronin has scored everything from tv shows to feature films. Most recently, Kevon scored the Lionsgate action film, King of Killers starring Kevin Grevioux (Underworld franchise), Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Alain Moussi (Nobody, Kickboxer: Vengeance), Stephen Dorff (Blade, Old Henry) and Marie Avgeropoulos (The 100, 50/50). The film’s synopsis reads: “When offered a $10 million contract to eliminate the world’s greatest assassin, Marcus travels to Tokyo to meet the client (Frank Grillo), but discovers other professional killers have been invited as well. Now Marcus and the others must confront this deadly, mythical assassin…or die trying.” Kevon’s other recent projects include Hunter Hunter, Elevator Game and Polarized.

In the below Q&A, Kevon breaks down the sounds of King of Killers and much more.

PH: What led you to become a film composer?

Kevon Cronin: When I was a teenager, I had the fortune of watching the movie Star Trek: First Contact that was scored by Jerry Goldsmith. After witnessing the power that his music brought to that film, I was hooked and knew what I wanted to do.

PH: How would you say you have changed as a composer from some of your first projects in 2011 until now?

Kevon Cronin: I have tried to push myself a little more outside the box, while trying to give each director and producer what they are looking for. I have also become much more adept at managing working relationships with various creatives in the field.

PH: Your most recent film is Lionsgate’s King of Killers. If you had to point to your favorite musical moment in the film, what would it be?

Kevon Cronin: I’m particularly fond of a song I wrote for an action cue that takes place early on in the film. It allowed me to bring on a singer, Brett Boivin, that I had been trying to work with for a long time. We created a track that pushed me in a different compositional direction.

It was a fight scene that takes place about 20 minutes into the film, when the protagonist, Marcus, comes upon a backroom deal being carried out by some Russians.

PH: Can you break down your composing process for King of Killers?

Kevon Cronin: First it starts out with I watch the film a few times. I brainstorm some thematic and sound design ideas that I might like to use. I have a few discussions with the director and producer about how they would like to approach the film. I then sketch out various ideas that I can use throughout the movie. I then can apply those as required to each scene. I usually work through the movie chronologically and try to score it as I am seeing it for the first time, just as the audience will be.

PH: How was King of Killers different than some of the other films you have worked on?

Kevon Cronin: King of Killers allowed me to stretch my compositional legs by writing music in styles that I hadn’t particularly done before. Not only was I tasked with scoring the film, but I had to write a number of songs, including lyrics that are featured throughout the film. This allowed me to bring on board a wonderful group of musicians from across the country to create something truly unique for King of Killers. One of those musicians who was indispensable for me was my good friend Rusty Robot, who lent his soaring vocals and his rocking guitar base and percussion to a couple of the songs featured in the film.

PH: What tools, plugins, or instruments did you use in the musical production of the film?

Kevon Cronin: Early on I realized that King of Killers needed its own unique sound. To do this I reached out to an instrument maker living in Poland, who goes by the name DaShtick Guitars, to create a custom instrument called a cellotar. I bowed, strung and plucked this instrument to help create the unique sound world that King of Killers lives in.

PH: You have scored films in many different genres. Is there a genre you haven’t worked in yet that you would like to?

Kevon Cronin: I’ve been fortunate to score a project in almost every genre. With that being said, I would love to work further on horror, science fiction and thriller films.

PH: Your other horror film, Elevator Game, was recently released on Shudder. What can you tell us about your score for that film?

Kevon Cronin: The score to that film is much more intimate and electronic than the one featured in King of Killers. It also allowed me to write in the style of synthpop.

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