JM: Josh Mancell
Q: Where did you spend your childhood?
JM: “I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan”
Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
JM: “A superhero (either Batman or Aquaman)”
Q: What were you like as a child? What were you into, were you athletic, musical, artsy?
JM: “I gravitated toward music from an early age. In second grade, I started taking piano lessons and also got my first record LP (The Beatles “Red Album”. I also played baseball (not very well) from age 8 to 14″.
Q: What high school clique did you belong to?
JM: “I was part of a group of mods, punks and goths – representing the three major high schools in my hometown (I was a mod who played drums in a punk band with a goth girlfriend). We bonded on our love of what would later be called “alternative” music”.
Q: Where did you go to college and what did you study?
JM: “I went to Sarah Lawrence College and studied music composition and studio recording – plus other non-musical subjects like Japanese Literature, Philosophy, Child Psychology, Anthropology and Geology (!)”
Q: Do you play any instruments?
JM: “I’m primarily a percussionist but I also get around on piano and guitar and utilize all three when I write music”.
Q Many people have an epiphany in college/early adulthood, a moment of clarity in which they discover what really matters to them, what they’re passionate about and what they want to do/be. Did you have a moment like that and what was it?
JM: “In one of my music classes, the teacher played part of “The Miraculous Mandarin” by Bela Bartok. It was the first time a “classical” piece really knocked me out. My peers and teachers encouraged me to pursue music composition further”.
Q: Tell me about your journey to where you are now.
JM: “I moved to LA in the early 90s and landed a job at Mutato Muzika (a Hollywood studio owned and overseen by Devo lead singer and film/tv composer Mark Mothersbaugh). After a couple years of helping out with recording sessions and creating sound effects, I began composing and contributing music to television shows such as Beakman’s World and Rugrats. In 1996, I was given an opportunity to compose music for the original Crash Bandicoot Playstation games – which have sold 50+ million worldwide over the last 20 years. I also wrote all the music for the PBS series Clifford the Big Red Dog (I even received a pair of Emmy nominations). I’ve been a freelance composer for the last 10 years and have continued to write music for indie films, kids tv and videogames”.
Q: How did you hear about Education Through Music-Los Angeles and what was your first volunteer experience with us?
JM: “Toward the end of 2016, I felt an inner push toward doing some sort of volunteer work. I found ETMLA through a great website called Volunteer Match. My first volunteer experience happened within minutes after my initial interview. I stuffed and stamped a small stack of ETMLA holiday cards. In that short time, I had a great conversation with ETM-LA executive director Victoria Lanier. I had a feeling this was a good situation”.
Q: Is there something about our mission that speaks to you personally?
“I was very lucky to have such a strong and vibrant music experience from elementary school through college. Times have changed and music in schools as part of the regular curriculum is a rarity at best. When I learned that ETM-LA is a full fledged program that schools have an opportunity to integrate into their everyday schedules, that resonated immediately”.
Q: Why do you continue to volunteer with ETM-LA?
JM: “I have been so impressed with every person I’ve worked with at ETM-LA. Not just on a person to person friendly basis, but I’ve witnessed some truly inspiring, thoughtful and talented individuals. I’m especially impressed by the two teachers I’ve been assisting – Erik Garcia and Rachel Hockenberry – they are so good with the kids and their dedication to bringing music education to their students is exemplary”.
Q: What are you passionate about?
JM:”I’m obviously passionate about writing music and listening to it but also being able to share what I’ve learned so far in my musical life. I’m also thrilled to be a parent to my 14 year old daughter. We consistently listen to music together in the car and at home. I get to introduce her to David Bowie and she makes sure I know about Bruno Mars”.
Q: Anything you’d like to share about yourself?
JM: “I’m very happy to be involved with ETMLA. It’s a great collection of talented, energetic people and I witness how effective the program is on a weekly basis”.