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Mark Henry Phillips goes beyond scoring soundtracks on debut album.

Sono Oto, which is the name that Mark Henry Phillips has chosen for himself, means “that sound” in Japanese — which is fitting, considering that Phillips has created sound throughout his life — not always creatively, but also as an accomplished composer and sound designer for films, commercials and podcasts. (He wrote the score for the first season of Serial.) His album, Inheritance, germinated when, while on the job as a reporter and producer at NPR six years ago, he learned his dad had terminal lung cancer. Becoming a full-time musician was something he had just given up (he thought of himself as a journalist who used to be a musician), but after his father’s death, music became his vehicle for emotional expression: How could he avoid inheriting all the baggage from his father, who, in turn, inherited it from his father?

Even as Phillips’ career as a composer and sound designer was going strong, he continued recording songs for Inheritance. Last month, he finally released it — it’s a poppy, complex set that harkens to the Beatles as much as it does the Dirty Projectors

He talks to Myspace about layers of meaning, looking for meaning, and the origins of his sound. Hop to the next page to read the full interview.

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