Like many boys, the Swedish composer and producer Ludwig Göransson used to beg his parents for video games for his birthday every year. But when he turned 11, his parents instead gave him a 4-track portable cassette recorder, unwittingly kick-starting his musical career.
Now the 29-year-old L.A. transplant can buy all the video games he wants, but he doesn’t have time to play them between writing the scores for shows like Community and New Girl and producing albums for rapper Childish Gambino (actor Donald Glover’s stage name).
“Something that no one else is doing is tackling both sides of music in terms of film scoring and producing artists,” Göransson says. “I’m spending half of the day by myself writing new film scores and the other half of the day producing music.”
After studying music in Stockholm, Göransson received a graduate certificate from USC for film scoring. Immediately following graduation, his first gig was assisting his mentor, the established film composer Theodore Shapiro, on the movie Tropic Thunder. “My first day at work was basically just to sit and watch Teddy record the score with a 100-piece orchestra while he was getting input from Ben Stiller. It felt a bit surreal,” he says.
His first job under his own name was scoring Community, which opened the doors to other shows like New Girl and Happy Endings. Last year, Göransson branched into film when he composed the music for Fruitvale Station. And in addition to the two albums he produced for Glover, who he met on the set of Community, he’s also produced an EP for Haim.
“[It was] before they had any music out and no one knew who they were,” Göransson says of the band. “As soon as I heard them, I was totally mind-blown, and now they’re touring worldwide and people can’t get enough of them.”
Despite his success, he has no plans to slow down. He’s written music for the pilot of TV drama Red Band Society (produced by Steven Spielberg), and will begin Season 4 of New Girl in September.
“I still haven’t reached all of my dreams and all of my goals, and I hope I never feel like I’ve ‘made’ it,” Göransson explains, going on to say that he finds it rewarding to sit with artists better than him, listen to them and exchange musical knowledge. “That’s the best way for me to learn and grow as a musician.”