After working in a biology lab to being the long-term drummer for the Grammy-nominated indie rockers the Dirty Projectors, as well as drumming for Björk and St Vincent, Brian McOmber is now settled in his new life as a film composer. He speaks to Headliner about his work on the Phoebe Dynevor-starring Fair Play, which has been picked up for release by Netflix after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.
McOmber has something of a previous life as a rockstar, as a session drummer for Björk, David Byrne, Solange, The Roots and St. Vincent. Although his transition from full-time drummer to film composer is probably less strange than going from studying and working in evolutionary morphology to becoming a professional musician.
“I had a job at a university working as a lab technician in a biology lab,” McOmber says from home in Los Angeles, where he’s based his music career for several years, and is just getting over a bout of Covid.
“I would do that to make money and then go on tour with the band (Dirty Projectors) to lose money, as most people do. But somewhere along the way, the band started to get some traction, I quit the job in the science lab and just started doing the band full time.”
It’s always a tough moment for any musician: weighing up whether to leave a day job for music, and picking the right moment to do so. But usually, that job would be something like a minimum wage bartending job; presumably leaving the science field was a tougher decision? Not necessarily.