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William Richter of Skanda Music

By Monk Turner
Published: Monday, August 17, 2009, at 03:08PM
William Richter Monk Turner [Flickr]

I hadn't expected to hear any Tuvan throat singing when I sat down to interview composer William Richter. But sure enough, halfway through our interview I found myself enjoying a private Tuvan throat singing concert in Skanda Studios.

William swears he just learned how to do it while sitting in traffic one day. But I think the truth is that he's just pretty uniquely talented, like many of the people I've run into here in Downtown.

The day I dropped in, Skanda partner Dan Lesser wasn't around. I'm guessing he probably giving a sold out piano concert in Carnegie Hall. However I was able to get more information about living and working in Downtown L.A.

MONK TURNER: Skanda is comprised of you and Daniel Lessner. How long have you guys been working together?

WILLIAM RICHTER: Dan and I started working together about four years ago. It was a natural collaboration in the sense that I was doing a lot of work in film stuff and he was playing piano quite a bit on the studio scene. He's a great writer himself too, but the way things are being done today with so much studio recording, having his skills as a performer really made an enormous difference in my own writing. Bringing him in as a writer brought everything forward. It was a friendship and good necessity all at the same time.

MT: What is your focus?

WR: We like to do film work most but we have certainly found a niche for ourselves in several areas; film, TV, and commercial work. Recently we've gotten a lot of work with the sports teams doing the themes and bumper tracks. We've got teams in the NBA and MLB now.

MT: What brought you downtown?

WR: I love downtown. I moved here about seven years ago when it still wasn't the cool thing to do. [laughter] It was still developing and building. I'm originally from Long Island and Dan is a New Yorker so to us this is more of a city feel. I love walking around and particularly down here in Museum Row...

MT: Do you do Art Walk?

WR: Definitely. We actually host before the Art Walk. We have our friend come here for drinks in the evening and then head out from there.

MT: Favorite food spots?

WR: We love The Must. There's always Pete's, Angelique Cafe for breakfast... This is town. It's cool down here.

MT: So working and living here is good?

WR: Absolutely fantastic. We had a studio on the Westside for a while and we were a little bit timid about what would happen with our clients if we went across town. Actually it has been a wonderful blessing. Usually our clients walk in and come in the door and go "cool." [laughter]

More information about Skanda can be found at Daniel Lessner plays regularly around town and was most recently seen on stage with the L.A. Philharmonic performing Rachmaninoff.

If you live downtown or perform here regularly, we want to interview you! Also welcome are producers, songwriters, booking agents, etc. Contact Monk Turner at


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