Ari Picker, the singer and principal writer for Lost in the Trees was older than most students when he got started in the film scoring program at Berklee College. Now he’s 30, a recent graduate with a bachelor’s in music, and probably one of the only members of his class who has a record deal with a label like ANTI – the current home of Tom Waits, Yann Tiersen and Kate Bush.
“It was tough. There were some embarrassing moments and growing pains,” Picker told me of his experience on-campus. “I’d thrive in the theory classes and the composition classes and just get my ass kicked everywhere else.” He had little formal training before he enrolled, but hearing the sophisticated arrangements on his group’s new album, A Church That Fits Our Needs, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would have guessed.
Picker’s music is definitely informed by the godfathers of film scoring – composers like Bartok, Shostikovich, Debussy and Stravinsky. There’s even a section smack-dab in the middle of his band’s latest single, “Red”, that sounds suspiciously like a quote of Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo theme. But despite his influences, Picker’s work has a voice of its own.