Jose Chipi Estrada is an LA based Guatemalan-born composer and sound designer. Send Jose a message.
Latest News: The latest release I have is the soundtrack of a short-film called “Jaloguin” which includes a theme song, which I wrote in collaboration with Argentinian singer-songwriter Juan Abella specifically for the final scene and credits of the film. The credits song is “She Stays Strong” and it went out to win best song in the soundtrack category for the Intercontinental Music Awards. You can listen to it in Spotify and all popular platforms.
Jose, thank you for joining us today at VQS. Take us back in time to how you first fell in love with music. I can trace it back to my older brother listening Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses cassettes when I was about 4-5 years old, I remember particularly New Jersey and Crossroads from Bon Jovi and Appetite for Destruction from the Guns… Somehow I also got a hold of the Thriller cassette copy which I think my dad owned. Later on, I guess my love for film merged with music while watching a Top Gun TV-recorded VHS with a tennis racket as my guitar while Danger Zone and Mighty Wings were playing. I didn’t really notice then but when I was around 10 I used to play Age of Empires: Rise of Rome with the CD of Yanni Live at The Acropolis roaring in the background, so I guess that was already me trying to put some epic music in some visual media. Later on, I kind of tried having a couple of bands but still music was just a hobby, it was not until I got in college that I started producing videos, and then I discovered that my favorite part was obviously choosing the right music to go with it, and later I realized that I should be doing that music. Finally about 6 years ago a friend asked me to compose some original music for his animation class project and that’s when it all started, I had no clue on how to do it but I did it, and kept doing it until I decided to go to Hollywood and study Film Scoring because why not? So I got to MI (Musicians Institute), did two years of the bachelor and then switched to the IAP (Independent Artist Project) because I couldn’t afford to finish the bachelor, so i got my OPT to work as an international student for one year and I’m currently waiting for the approval of my O1 artist visa so I can finish some pending projects back in Hollywood.
What 3 core values do you believe are necessary for success? Patience, Resiliency and Passion.
Who have been some of your favorite people/projects to work with? One of the very fist projects I scored was a high school’s friend animation Thesis, a short film called “Metaphora”. The director Anibal Gramajo gave me complete creative freedom, he did had some notes and had me do a couple of modifications but he completely trusted me with the music. I had a lot of fun making it and I’m still very proud of the final result. One of the best projects I’ve worked with I didn’t get to write the music unfortunately, but I did do the sound editing and final mixing. The film was “Our Way Home” directed by Allexandra Hsu. The project was one of my very first Hollywood projects, turned out to be an amazing short film, had a lot of recognition and got a lot of recognition at many film festivals. Not only Alle was a great director but she trusted me so much and we got to work so well that she recommended me to all her peers, and that opened up many opportunities for me. She even introduced me to the director for Jaloguin and many others and they have been also great to me so I’ve had the fortune to work with wonderful people and wonderful films too.
What future opportunities would you like to be involved with? I just want to keep scoring whatever comes my way. Of course A-list movies or A-list games are the dream. I think my next step is to score a full length feature film yet, and I hope to do it by next year. I was actually on the way to start a project to create ambient music for fancy restaurants that offer a complete sensory experience, but the original idea was to go out and sample soundscapes and many native sounds of my country to make the music with, but the week I got my portable recorder on the mail we got quarantined so… guess that’ll have to wait.