Today we’d like to introduce you to Robert Panico.
Robert, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a household surrounded by music of every kind. From Mozart to Loreena McKennitt, to David Bowie, my parents would find me staring intently at the stereo, thumb in mouth, fascinated with every note and chord. By the time I was learning to speak, I could identify genres as I could letters of the alphabet, which I would later conclude as the beginnings of my synesthesia.
With my father as a pianist and my mother a writer and collector of all music, I learned the piano at age 7 and began writing my own melodies around the same time. The more I learned from the classical writings of old, the more I applied to my own musical self-expression.
However, I found myself pursuing filmmaking and editing in an obsessive way, leading me to numerous film schools and on-set adventures. But never once did music writing slow or stop during all of this work. In fact, music plays a crucial role in my editing, allowing me to find a lyrical flow in how scenes play out, both in fast-paced action and dialogue scenes (especially for the latter).
Now, I find myself producer/editor by day and composer/musician by night.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve always had access to a keyboard somewhere and that I do have an audience who is genuinely interested in my work. Most of the struggles I have been through have been from the self.
The more you know, the more you study, then the more you see where your progress stands in the history of whatever craft you’re in… and that can be overwhelming! I have all-too-often encountered self-resistance in my own work where I will not finish a piece of music simply because I couldn’t find the right transition or arrangement. Most times, I have to switch off the critical part of my mind and just write from the inner voice. The voice singing the melodies in my mind is *still* coming from all that I have studied, but the crucial/academic side can overshadow it.
This is also exacerbated by dealing with anxiety most of my life. It can come in small or big waves, rationally or irrationally. But music has always been my solace, my sanctuary. Even during the harshest panic attack, performing or composing music soothes the soul unlike anything else in our world.
In this way, music is the best form of self-discovery, self-care, and communication. We tell stories with it, no matter how bumpy the road is in telling that story.
Please tell us about ScorpiusMusic – what should we know?
Besides occasionally scoring for webseries, short films, and independent features, I mostly write instrumental music freeform. In a way, I’m writing the film score to life – mine and others. I’ve found that the music I write tends to catch people off guard with its earnestness and they begin to attach their own stories and emotion to the music I’m writing. I’ve long suffered from anxiety and found that channeling that energy into music, I can heal myself. It’s incredibly therapeutic and my goal with music is to connect to people and also heal them of any emotional wounds they may be mending.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I believe there is no such thing as luck, only opportunity and how we reach for it.
But the best part about music is that is really is a reach into the infinite. There is an endless amount of voices to sing, stories to tell, and worlds to build through music. Every culture feels the need to express themselves musically and I find that bond breaks all time and barriers.
Chris Pate, Brent Coble