From film composer, to orchestrator, songwriter, producer and violinist, Seattle-based musician Andrew Joslyn has credit on dozens of projects he’s collaborated on throughout his career, but only a single record to call his own.
Joslyn, who has collaborated with more than 100 musicians, is set to perform with The Passenger Ensemble tonight at 8 p.m. at the Kirkland Performance Center (350 Kirkland Ave.).
“The show at the KPC is a combination of all (my work),” he said. “It’s definitely grab bag of different genres, but I really do make sure a show is succinct and put together and flows. It’s definitely an experience and it’s fun.”
Joslyn acts as a music director at these “grab bag” shows and brings together a small orchestra to create a colorful experience for attendees.
Initially, Joslyn’s interaction with music was very “sterile” as he learned violin at a young age under a family of classical musicians. Eventually, he settled into classical composing fused with various genres, from hip-hop to folk rock.
Joslyn has collaborated with numerous artists locally and worldwide, including Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, David Bazan of Pedro the Lion, Kesha, the Seattle Rock Orchestra and the Oregon Symphony. He has also backed several other musicians with his neoclassical group, the Passenger String Quartet.
“Awake at the Bottom of the Ocean,” Joslyn’s debut solo album that released on Feb. 10, 2017, was a big step for the man who’s known as a “chameleon” in the industry.
“I had to dig down into my own personal listening habits and my own personal relationship with music,” he said. “It really pulled me back to my roots…it was a scary task.”
The album combines hip-hop drumming with a classical arrangement and Joslyn plans to feature some of his original work at the KPC show.
Originally, the album was more of a scoring reel, to showcase his work for a potential film scoring job. But his goal shifted after a fire burned down his apartment.
“I went through a very, very massive, emotionally traumatic experience, which completely changed the scope of the record,” he said. “I didn’t go at it with such a technical purpose, it became much more like I (needed) something to help me get through (that).”
Joslyn added that after he completed the album and released it, he felt both empowered and terrified.
“I would come in at 11th hour and write these grandiose string arrangements or violin solos or other stuff,” he said. “(Now), being able to say I’m my own artist and I can actually call the shots and write my own lyrics and do all that finally for myself without having dictation from anyone else…I felt like now I have significant skin in the game.”
Joslyn has evolved to be a diverse artist but started out playing traditional classical violin. His family had a certain pedigree and Joslyn felt that there was a legacy being pressed onto him.
“I (didn’t) know if I could live up to it,” he said. “I had so many things I wanted to be doing other than music at the time…music was just a discipline and a regimented routine. I love classical music but I just saw it as being a human jukebox.”
Joslyn added that he still struggles to not think of traditional symphonies as glorified cover bands. This attitude toward music changed for Joslyn when he joined a rock band in college.
“There were no charts, no writing music. Nothing. It was just a guitarist saying, ‘We’re in A minor? I think there’s an A minor chord,’” he said with a laugh. “All of a sudden my relationship with music became extremely visceral.”
Joslyn described playing for a crowd night after night and how building a relationship with the audience as he improvised with his band mates led to his passion for performing and collaboration.
“That was the first emotion that pushed me into really (wanting) to do music but I (wanted) to do it my way,” he said. “All of a sudden my appetite for music and different style was voracious.”
After this discovery, Joslyn has been moving from project to project. Currently, he’s working on a number of composing projects but wants to collaborate with even more local artists.
“It’s funny because (composing) is one world that I exist in and I’m already feeling the bug again to write another record,” he said.
“There’s a bunch of different Seattle artist and beyond that I would love to showcase but then challenge them with the music that I write for them.”