Nikola Jeremić

A film composer, a native of Šabac, created film themes imbued with the melodies of ambient, rock and pop music, with an unusual sound design, attracted the attention of the world film industry as a student, participating in conferences across Europe and America where he was awarded five times for his work in the field of sound and music for visual media by the Audio Engineering Society (AES). Through his first compositions in the films The Killer Mermaid, Amanet and The Rift, he formed a recognizable artistic style and attracted the attention of many fans of film music. His works have been broadcast and performed on many radio and television stations, cinemas and YouTube. At the second short film festival “Revolution Me” in New York in 2015, he was awarded for the best music for the short film Tata. He is currently mostly dedicated to composing music for video games, among which Destiny 2, Warhammer 40K Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2, Pagan Online, Starpoint Gemini and many others stand out. He established cooperation with the Radio-Television of Vojvodina, for which he composes music for the radio drama Kosingas by Aleksandar Tešić. In addition to his artistic work, he is currently an associate lecturer at the Belgrade SAE Institute.



My basic approach to composing music is to first create a musical theme with which I will present the film, to build leitmotifs from that musical theme that I will use during the act. In general, my approach is to do something different on each project, but also, as an artist and as a composer, to present myself to the audience through some of my “brand” of music that I do. What I am currently actively working on, and what I really found myself in, is the radio drama Kosingas for the Program One of Radio Novi Sad, in cooperation with the drama program of Radio Television of Vojvodina. That radio drama, based on the literary trilogy of our writer Aleksandar Tešić called Kosingas, could be described as a kind of Serbian version of Lord of the Rings.

Nikola Jeremic

It is the first radio drama in Serbia of this type that was done in binaural technique. This means that we recorded the sound, narration and scenes around a specially made microphone that simulates a human head and human ears, and depending on where the actor is positioned in relation to that artificial human head, the microphone picks up the signal. The music that was supposed to accompany all this is a great orchestral sound, with elements of our Balkan traditional melody, which includes our ethno instruments, Dodol singing, choral church Orthodox songs….So it’s a very fun project that’s still going on, it’s my child in terms of composition, where I’m really having fun and enjoying composing music.


Music was always present in my home, I grew up with my parents’ tapes and records. Throughout elementary school, I dreamed of making music, and somehow I finally managed to convince my parents to let me start playing the guitar. I started at the age of 16, which was actually only in high school. My love for music was manifested through playing various instruments, so I started playing the piano as well. Those four years of high school for me were, in fact, a very important factor in deciding what it was that I wanted to do in my life and what it was that I wanted to pursue. With a few friends from high school, I formed a band, in which six of us played;it was a pretty big lineup for one band. We had a few gigs and one demo, however, like a lot of things that start in high school, we haven’t been able to stay together to this day. In the end, I decided to start developing some of my musical ideas on my own. I left one guitar for myself, I sold another, I bought a keyboard from the money from that sold guitar and started composing ambient music, for my soul, for fun, because in that period I listened to Vangelis, Enigma, Enya, all those “new age ambient” musicians and, of course, a lot of film music and soundtracks from movies, video games, trailers. And then for the first time, at the age of 17, I heard the composition The Da Vinci Codeby Hans Zimmer, who is still one of my favorite composers to this day, and when I heard that, I said to myself – “Yes, that’s what I want to do for the rest of my life and that’s something I want to pursue.”


I enrolled in the Higher School of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade, where in 2009 I started studying audio and video technologies, as well as music production. The only reason for enrolling in that school was that I wanted to gain the technical knowledge I needed to raise my creativity and, say, my art to a higher, satisfactory degree in terms of the mix, technique, production and everything else. I really wanted to explore music on my own and learn how to play certain instruments, how to compose certain genres of music, so I went on the path of my musical growth through high school and later through my studies, when I started to take it all more seriously. I also understand that from these, let’s say, “childish” ideas, I am creating a far more serious story, to raise them to a much more serious level. From all that, in the end, my professional career as a composer followed.

Nikola Jeremic
Nikola Jeremić and John Krivit


While studying at the Higher School of Electrical Engineering, I joined the World Association of Audio Engineers (AES for short), where as a student member I applied for competitions in sound image and music design for visual media, specifically for movies and video games. In those four years of my studies, I competed five times and each time I managed to get an award and recognition, among other things, I had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, to compete there and get to know the whole world of film music. There I managed to meet many big names, such as my great role model Martin O’Donnell, with whom I accidentally took a photo in the hallway, and posted it on Facebook, which led me to working with his studio, where he unfortunately, does not work anymore.

Nikola Jeremic , Martin O'Donnell
Nikola Jeremić, Martin O’Donnell

However, I still have a collaboration with the studio “Bungie”, on a video game called Destiny, where for the first time in my career I had the opportunity to work with high-budget production, not only in terms of music, but also in terms of designing video games and animated films. The collaboration took place by me composing my music from here in Belgrade, sending scores to the music producers from that studio, who eventually forwarded my scores to the musicians from the “Ocean Way” studio in Nashville (Tennessee), where the soundtrack for the video game Destiny was actually recorded live. I was very sad that I could not attend in person, but I followed everything via Skype and other streaming apps, so from the comfort of my home in Belgrade and at my desk, as can be seen here, I could follow the recording of my music and, so to speak, issue some kind of directive for what I would like to change, perhaps, at the time of the recording itself. So it was a very big and important experience for me and it allowed me to understand how that whole world actually works and how to fit into it.

FIRST PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE – films The Killer Mermaid, Amanet and The Rift

My first professional experience in the waters of film music and composing for visual media are the films The Killer Mermaid, Amanet and The Rift. These are three feature films for which I composed music, as well as for one short film – Data, for which I won the award for best soundtrack at a film festival in New York in 2015. The first three mentioned films were my first steps in that world of feature films, and even building myself as a composer. The Killer Mermaid my first professional project in which I had the opportunity to collaborate with a large team and where as a composer I presented the whole project in a musical sense. There I did not have the opportunity to work live with a symphony orchestra, but I simulated a symphony orchestra on my computer and created different musical themes with several designed instruments that I made for the needs of that film. One of the instruments was a virtual piano, with tuned sonar sounds from a submarine, and since the film takes place at sea, in underwater burials in Montenegro, I wanted to present that sound. On the other hand, in the film The Rift, I wanted to create a dark atmosphere from acoustic instruments by making electronic sounds. Genre-wise, The Killer Mermaid and The Rift are quite similar, except that The Killer Mermaid is somewhere more “fantasy” horror, while this other film is more science fiction horror. Again, when composing the music for the film Amanet, the challenge for me was how to present one dark and difficult story with only a few instruments of the chamber ensemble.

Nikola Jeremic


In the middle of this year, I became an associate lecturer at the SAE Institute in Belgrade, where I teach a course that I designed myself in collaboration with this institution. It is a course of composing music for video games, from the basics of how the production of music for video games works on a computer, through virtual instruments, arranging for a symphony orchestra for various instruments, synthesizers, all the way to how it is recorded, arranged, mixed, produced, edited and how it is all implemented into a video game. So far, I have had two generations of students, about 23 of them, in the basic and advanced course. I think that the soundtrack genre has become an integral part of today’s pop culture, in the sense that a lot of movies, video games, television series have become very popular because of the composer who made them. There are a lot of quality movies that have become even more popular because of their music, such as the TV series Stranger Things from Netflix, which also became famous for its soundtrack. Then we have the video game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, in which I was one of the participants and collaborators, it is also, thanks to its story and music, very popular. There are many examples of different media genres in music – in film, video games, which are still popular today and are sold as music albums that people like to listen to and stream. I think that these soundtracks for movies and video games enabled the continued existence of the symphony orchestra as such and expanded its significance. Today, the symphony orchestra is not only reduced to mere performances and performances of classical music in concert halls, but indeed it is increasingly involved in rock, heavy metal production and many popular music genres. I think that soundtracks will really become more popular and more important in the music industry in the future.

Nikola Jeremic
Nikola Jeremić and Eddie Kramer with his team


Given that the entertainment industry is expanding and that it is the only branch of industry that has flourished in this whole pandemic, because people are massively streaming so much content online – movies, TV series, music, video games … – I think that in the future there will be more and more work for composers. The offer is currently much higher than demand, but there is a rise, so I think that in the future only composing soundtracks for movies, video games, trailers, marketing in the form of music for commercials and any visual medium that requires music will become very a prosperous branch of the music industry. Young people understand all this because if you look at the number of visits to classical music concerts, in most cases there is an older part of the population or art students who do just that, while say whenever a music concert from movies or video games is organized, there are far more young people. Today, young people are connected to some popular franchise, such as, for example, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and even those certain video games.

Nikola Jeremic


Video game music has become quite popular and widespread. That gaming community – a community of game lovers, the whole society and subculture of gaming and playing video games is so widespread around the world that it is practically rare to meet a person who does not play video games in any way. Today’s video game industry greatly exceeds Hollywood; some video games have much higher production budgets compared to some Hollywood blockbusters. Therefore, video games such as The Witcher, Call of Duty and many other games popular among young people require high-budget music production, ultimately the participation of a symphony orchestra. If we compare video games today with video games at a time when they were still in their infancy – in the late 80’s and early 90’s, when Super Mario, Sega and Nintendo were played, we will notice that the music in these video games was very rudimentary, it consisted only of some electronic sounds and various sound effects… Today, the Sony Playstation i Xbox and Xbox really dominate as the two main gaming consoles and with their technical features allow designers, and even us composers, to bring a far more natural, better quality and greater atmosphere to the video game gaming experience.

Nikola Jeremic
Tom Salta and Nikola Jeremić

The big difference between a video game and a movie is that a video game is a non-linear medium compared to a movie. Because when you play a video game, you are the one in charge of the story and what you do in that world will have far-reaching consequences for what happens next during the video game, while in the movie you have one particular action, a scene that you are just watching. So, you are the end user and the viewer in the film while you are a participant in the video game, and therefore the music of the video game must be interactive and accompany your participation in the action. When we compose music for a video game, it has a certain time duration and within that time duration we need to make several different segments in that music that will intertwine in the most different ways possible while playing the video game itself. The main difference between playing music for video games and the rest of music production is that music in traditional music production, listening and all that in the film flows from left to right, while music in video games is played from top to bottom and literally in different ways different music sequences are activated that will follow your experience and your interaction with the world of video games.

Nikola Jeremić


If I look back on my eight years of career and if I compare myself today with myself from 8 years ago, the most I can say is that I have matured in that educational sense as a composer. What I can notice in myself is that I get results much faster, that I compose much more efficiently and that I am able to come up with a usable idea very quickly just by learning a lot about music. What is very important for composers is that they know the instruments they compose for well. So in addition to learning to harmonize a melody, I learned a lot about the specifications and ways in which certain instruments produce their sound, so it helped me a lot when I compose on a computer to be able to program an instrument to sound as close to a live instrument as possible. So for my entire career so far, I have actually learned the most about how important music is for ennobling all spheres of life, not just the media and consuming music as such. As for all of you who want to do this job, all you need to do is actually be brave in all of this and step into that whole world regardless of how you may think you don’t know that much. When I started, there was no one to teach me, for a good 5 years I learned about all this alone, in my study room. Today, everything is available to you on the Internet and there is so much to learn, all you need to do is want it and have the courage to get involved and when you do everything else goes far, far easier – so just be brave and most importantly believe in yourself and then nothing will stand in your way.

Translation: Jelena Čolović