Geek League Interview – Clinton Shorter, Composer For DISTRICT 9, COLONY, and THE EXPANSE

What made you get into composing as opposed to other aspects of music?
As a guitarist I was never fond of playing covers, which really isn’t the norm. I was writing from quite early on. I was also a studio gear junkie so I was constantly recording, which really allowed me to express myself from the start.

One of your early projects was working on Neil Blomkamp’s breakthrough DISTRICT 9. Did you know when you were composing for it that the movie was something special?

When I saw the first cut, there was probably 10 minutes of footage that hadn’t been shot so it was just black slugs. Even with that I turned to Neill and Julian (editor) and said this was the kind of film my buddies and I would line up for.

You have several irons in the fire these days: COLONY, CODE BLACK, and the second season of THE EXPANSE isn’t far off. How do you go about balancing the musical styles of different projects all at once?

Fortunately, they didn’t all happen at the same time. For the first seasons it wasn’t too tough, but there was some overlap. It was refreshing to be able to shift gears throughout the year.

You have had several projects in both action and sci-fi. Is there something about those genres that you are drawn to?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Sci-fi, but ironically DISTRICT 9 was the first Sci-fi movie I ever scored. Since then I’ve been offered more, so it’s been pretty great.

You have worked in both film and episodic TV, what do you like about composing for each and what are some of the challenges?

I like both equally for different reasons. With Film I get time to get things right and hopefully a budget to use live players. With TV you just have to hammer the music out and move on, quite often I just turn off the click and go, which can be quite liberating at times.

Who are some of your musical influences in film or TV?

Thomas Newman was someone I always looked up to. At one point I knew almost all his scores inside out.

What’s the next thing that you are working on? 

Well I have the second seasons of CODE BLACK, COLONY and THE EXPANSE coming up so I’m just prepping for that at the moment, but I hope to do a film before then.

Any of your social media that you would like to plug? (Website, Facebook etc.)

You can visit my website at

About Author

Adam Moreau

Adam Moreau is a television advertising salesman by day and a geek by night (some would argue he's still a geek during the day). Growing up, he developed his love for film through trips to the movies, his local video store, hours of HBO, and further viewings of horrible copies of those same video store movies. These days, he watches more movies and TV than he has time for. In fact, he's probably watching something right now. He is married, has two kids, and is raising them in the ways of the Force.