It is this philosophy and desire that allow Kevin to make inroads towards creating a new sound, and a new way of approaching the scoring of music. To understand where Kevin is aiming requires a simple flashback….. Kevin grew up in Minnesota amid the cold winters and sneezy summers. From his early hibernating years on the piano and his trumpet blowing in high school, he quickly realized music was more than a hobby.
Kevin began writing music almost as quickly as he learned his first notes and chords. This led him to auditioning to the University of Minnesota where he was accepted and then graduated four years later with a Bachelor of Music degree in Theory and Composition. Knowing full well that a college degree in music guarantees nothing in life, Kevin headed out to sunny California with his new wife Lori to realize his dream for music. It was there that he completed his last year of school at the University of Southern California – and where the real learning began.
After studying with the likes of Jerry Goldsmith, Kevin left the Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program with his certificate in hand. Other graduates of the program that year, Christophe Beck, Marco Beltrami, and Jon Ehrlich, proved to be more than just friends. Kevin worked with these composers in his early years doing everything music related. This eventually led to Kevin writing additional music for Chris on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other shows, and composing additional music for Marco Beltrami on many films including Scream 2 & 3, The Faculty, Scary Movie 2, and Resident Evil. At the same time as his collaborative relationships with other composers, Kevin began his game writing career working on some of the biggest titles of the time: Panzer General 2, Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption, Sacrifice, Wizardry 8, and other classic games.
In fact, it was his work in video games that brought him to television. Jhonen Vasquez, the creator of Nickelodeon’s cult hit Invader Zim, was a huge fan of games and game music. It was this connection that brought the two together. Kevin was hired and began scoring what was to become 26 episodes of Invader Zim.
Kevin’s work on Invader Zim garnered him his first Annie Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Music for an animated series. Invader Zim also led to Xiaolin Showdown for Warner Brothers Animation as well as Brandy and Mr. Whiskers for Disney. Kevin continues to score both shows.
While not content to just be pigeon-holed in television, Kevin continued his work on games and film working on such game titles as Twisted Metal: Black, Dead to Rights, Kill.Switch, Starcraft:Ghost, and Shrek 2, and Shark Tale. Kevin has also been active working on scores for Independent filmmakers. The most recent score was for the film The 24th Day starring James Marsden and Scott Speedman. It was about the time of Invader Zim that Kevin met the other Kevin: Kevin Riepl.
Kevin Riepl joined forces with Kevin Manthei Music in 2001 and contributed additional music on many a project. It was then that Kevin Manthei Music expanded outside the family unit to a solid company of three. With Lori Manthei, Kevin’s wife, acting as agent and business manager, and Kevin Riepl as additional composer, the projects rolled in. In order to keep up with the ever increasing pace Mike Patti joined forces in 2003 filling in the necessary gaps.
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