Interview: Score Mixer Shinnosuke Miyazawa on the Multicultural Music of ‘Elemental’

Shinnosuke Miyazawa is a longtime collaborator of acclaimed composer Thomas Newman (interviewed here by Joey), and Pixar’s Elemental marks the latest collaboration between Miyazawa and his mentor. Miyazawa began his career like most others trying to break into the entertainment industry, going on coffee runs and performing any of the odd jobs that were asked of him in his role as assistant music engineer.

Soon enough, opportunity struck and Miyazawa was working as a mixer on Newman’s eclectic scores. In recent years, Miyazawa has worn an additional hat, serving as both score mixer and music editor.

“Usually it’s two different rules, and usually they don’t mix and match because it’s very demanding both physically and mentally,” Miyazawa explains. The music editor’s job is to mediate the creative vision between both director and composer, ensuring no details are lost throughout the composition period. They then edit the music accordingly. The score mixer, on the other hand, is responsible for mixing the recordings so that they are heard clearly in conjunction with all the other audio tracks on the film.

Miyazawa’s musical work with Newman on Elemental incorporates a lot of global influence, taking advantage of the film’s multicultural themes.

“Tom and I worked a lot to find a vocabulary to describe the multicultural elements in the world, without pointing the audience to a particular culture in our world.”

The score may feature Middle Eastern instruments and Caribbean voices, but these elements and many more all swirl together to create a unique sonic experience for viewers of Elemental.

Listen to the full interview below to hear more about Miyazawa’s working relationship with Thomas Newman, and his unique perspective on the world of Elemental.


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Written by Cory Stillman

Cory Stillman is a 25-year-old writer with a BA in Film and Media Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in International Film Business from the University of Exeter. His favorite movies are The Truman Show and Election. He's also obsessed with Planet of the Apes, Survivor, and the Philadelphia Eagles.

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