Two heads are better than one. That’s the mandate of the composing team Asher & Skratt (Asher Lenz and Stephen Skratt), and it’s served them well. “With the pressure we’re under, deadlines-wise and creatively, having two sets of shoulders to carry that load is important,” says Lenz. Skratt concurs, explaining, “ultimately the music will be better, with two heads working on it.”
Asher & Skratt have been enjoying great success in writing music for diverse clients in the film, television and advertising world. They’ve worked together for 15 years, first at Lenz Entertainment and, for the past four years, as Asher & Skratt. Their positive personal and creative chemistry has remained intact, Skratt affirms: “We spend so much time in a room together, yet amazingly we’ve never really had a flare-up where someone storms out.” Lenz explains. “There’s a synergy between our two sensibilities, with our backgrounds complementing each other.”
“There’s a synergy between our two sensibilities, with our backgrounds complementing each other.” – Asher Lenz
Asher is the son of Jack Lenz – a multiple SOCAN Award-winning, veteran film and TV composer, and a writer/producer of songs for many high-profile artists. A song he and Asher wrote, “Go Where Loves Go,” was recorded by Andrea Bocelli, for example.
After studying music composition and piano performance at the Interlochen academy and jazz composition in New York City, Asher began his career at his father’s company, working his way up the ranks. Skratt studied drums at Humber College, then joined Lenz Entertainment, working on shows like Due South. Lenz notes that “as a team, early on, we cut our teeth on the grind of scoring a one-hour dramatic series, Sue Thomas FBEye, every week.”
The duo set up their own company four years ago to, says Skratt, “take some ownership of our futures.” High-profile work has come their way ever since. One recent career challenge was re-writing the opening theme of Inspector Gadget. Skratt notes, “the original, by Shuki Levy, is the greatest cartoon theme ever written.” The team is now scoring Ever After High, Mattel’s animated, web-based series (and impending feature film).
“We’re very lucky to be able to work in so many genres,” says Skratt. “They all make you a better composer. Why wouldn’t you want to do some crazy cartoon thing, then switch to Hyena Road, the new Paul Gross film, which we can write some serious and beautiful music for.”
They enjoy working together physically, too. “For many years, we worked with just one computer and one set of gear,” says Lenz. “We got so busy we had to get a second system, so now we run two shifts in parallel. We edit each other’s work, so it’s still a real collaboration.”
Success demands a varied set of skills, Skratt explains. “You can’t be precious about your work,” he says, “as you’re at the whim of the director and client. You have to help tell and sell jokes, especially in animation. You have to know your software and update it regularly. You also need to intelligently discuss films with guys like Paul Gross and Larry Weinstein of Rhombus. Many different tools are required.”
Selected Credits: Escape from Tehran (film), Hyena Road (film), Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town (TV movie: their score won a 2013 Canadian Screen Award), Sue Thomas, FBEye (TV), Doc (TV) Ever After High (web series) Detentionaire (TV), Inspector Gadget (TV)
SOCAN Members since 2002 (Asher), 2000 (Skratt)