Welcome to Right on Cue, the podcast where we interview film, TV, and video game composers about their latest works.
Veteran composer Jongnic Bontemps had a curious journey to the world of film music. Despite showing an early passion for scoring (and studying music at Yale), he didn’t immediately enter that world. Instead, he sought a tech career, becoming a software developer and entrepreneur. But music came calling again, and JB found himself studying film scoring and building a career as one of the industry’s top composers.
After years of building his bona fides working under various A-list composers and scoring video games like Redfall and shows like Godfather of Harlem, he’s found himself with his highest-profile work yet: Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Building off his childhood love for the robots in disguise and the groundwork that composer Steve Jablonsky had laid for him in the Michael Bay films before that, JB worked with Rise of the Beasts director (and longtime collaborator) Steven Caple Jr. to assemble a suitably robust, muscular, and era-appropriate score for the ’90s-set throwback blockbusters.
From the percussive, primal opening track introducing the Maximals from the Beast Wars line of toys to the modern film series (“The Maximals”) to the Central American flavors of “Arriving in Peru,” it’s a score that honors the sounds fans love while keeping it centered in its very specific time and place. Not only that, he worked with rapper/actor Tobe Nwigwe on a track exclusive to the film’s hip-hop-infused soundtrack.
Together, JB and I talk about all of this — his winding path to film composing, the value of building a team and working with valued collaborators, and using music to mark Rise of the Beasts‘ distinct globe-trotting adventure and ’90s aesthetics.
You can find Jongnic Bontemps at his official website.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is currently playing in theaters, and you can listen to the score on your preferred platform courtesy of Milan Records.