Monday, October 31, 2011

Hamad Arty: Addicted to Music

Hamad Arty is a very artistic composer that simply cannot get enough music. It surrounds him all day and continues on even when he sleeps. Aside from music, he also excels in many other areas that are artistic in nature. Hamad's music is typically experimental and electronic, but he has also recently gotten into the world of remixing songs from popular video games. His Dark Mass composition is the latest original Arty has done. It reminds me of something you would here in a heist movie or some other type of film where a group of perhaps shady people have a plan. This song would play during the montage of seeing the characters begin to put the plan in action (maybe before being caught). All of them must have on sunglasses or a mustache to help protect their identities!

1)Tell us about yourself:

I'm Hamad Arty (Yes, that's my actual last name; not a nickname). 23 year old artist from Kuwait (for anyone who does not know where that is, it's kind of close to Dubai). I'm a business college student and I enjoy writing and composing music as well as drawing, fashion design and amateur photography.

2) What does music mean to you?

To me and to so many people, it is an addiction. I can't go through a day without listening to music. I've felt that addiction ever since childhood. All the other kids didn't care as much about music, but my dad used to feed me with music all the time. Plus in video games, 90% of the excitement was always for the soundtrack and the rest was for the game.

3) What inspires you to create a new song?

Aside from video games, my music is sometimes inspired by my own dreams. In fact, I often dream of pretty weird but catchy tunes. My music is also inspired by surreal art. There's a lot of surreal imagery going on in my head usually and I get quite lost in my own world playing my acoustic guitar; which is my favorite instrument.

4) Who are your musical role models?

Michael Jackson, Wes Borland, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Teddy Riley, Thom Yorke, Sam Endicott.

5) Random thoughts:

Thanks for featuring me on your site, Nate. You're a pretty talented composer yourself and I wish you all the best with your music.

My thoughts on the interview:

Dubai sounds like a good place for that movie scene to take place. Perhaps the characters would have a guy in Dubai, a lady in Miami, two dudes in Brazil, another man in Mexico, and the rest of the team in L.A.

You're into some pretty fun and cool hobbies. I love drawing, fashion design, photography, and more; however, like you, music is the main focus. It is very addicting. I try not to let it consume me and take time to do other things so I don't get frustrated and end up hating music or losing the fun, happy part of it. Video games have some of the best music in the world. It can be so much more intricate than typical album music that is sung by famous people!

Thank you for being interviewed Hamad! For more of his music, visit his YouTube channel here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alice: Composer with Distinction

Alice is a young, UK pianist that composes a variety of great musical pieces that go far beyond simple piano music. She, along with many of us out there, has discovered what computers can do to your make your ideas become a reality, since it is not too common to have hundreds of professional musicians at your disposal exactly when you need them. Her Take Two composition is a jazzy creation that was inspired by the soundtrack to the movie Monsters, Inc. (that, Emperor's New Groove, and perhaps the Incredibles, if I'm not mistaken, have amazing musical themes). I could definitely hear a song like this in Disney/Pixar's next feature film, or even one of their funny "shorts" they play before each movie. Yes, this would fit nicely to a wordless short because then the music can correspond with the actions of the characters. I recently interviewed Alice, and here is what she had to say:

1) Tell us about yourself:

My name is Alice, and I am a teenager from England, UK. As well as composing, my musical hobbies include playing the piano and teaching myself the ukulele.

2) What equipment do you use to record your music?

To compose I use the notation software Sibelius, currently Sibelius Student 6. The actual sounds also come from Sibelius, as I am not able to own my own orchestra... yet!

As for the process of creating a piece of music, firstly I find a melody or a collection of chords I like from the piano. Then, I write down any ideas in a low-tech (but extremely useful) manuscript notebook. After that, I copy the tune down onto Sibelius and just go with the flow.

3) What inspires you and evokes your passion as a musician?
What doesn't? I'm easily inspired, which is a good thing for musicians. I could be listening to an advert on TV, a song on the radio, a YouTube video, even background music at a theme park! (Yes, that is true.) I hear the elements and structure of any piece of music, and think how I could use something similar in my own work.

Because of this, I don't tend to focus on one genre of music. One day I might find a perfect melody for a jazz ensemble, and then after that discover brilliant chords for a piano tune. Sometimes it's electronic, sometimes it's classical... I learn best that way.

Compared to others, I have just started my journey in composition, so I am constantly on the lookout for extra knowledge and advice. Being on YouTube has helped this tremendously. Simply hearing the work of others and receiving feedback about my own pieces gives me the boost to go on.

But I think the biggest motivation for any composer is the self-satisfaction you get when you can sit back and listen to your own music, knowing the time and effort you spent with it.

4) What are your musical goals?

Just for as many people as possible to enjoy my music. One day I would like to get my music heard outside the realms of the internet, played by a real ensemble. I also want to be in a position where I can spend as long as I need composing a song, because now I sometimes feel like I rush things.

Oh, and to achieve grade 8 piano! :)

5) If there was one place you could go to write a song, where would it be?
As boring as it sounds, I like my current setup. I don't think having a huge studio with expensive equipment will necessarily make you a better composer. Fundamentally, it is your original music that will determine it.

But if I could choose, it would be a place where no-one could disturb me, because that is when I generate my best ideas.

6) Random thoughts:

Don't try the door Handel. I've made a Liszt and gone Chopin. I'll be Bach soon.

My thoughts on the interview:

I've never gotten the chance to use Sibelius, but am very curious to see exactly how it works, since it is so different from other programs. I hope you do get to own your own orchestra! And I want to meet you when that day comes so I can say that I know somebody who owns an entire group of people that play music for her at her command :) Maybe I should look into getting one of these for myself!

Learning as many styles as you can is just plain fun. It also tends to impress your friends, especially when you know styles of music that they have never even heard of. Also, being easily inspired is a great thing, even if it means you are going to compose the world's silliest or strangest piece that no one but yourself will like.

I too want my scores, songs, and other compositions to be played in concerts or shows. How exciting that would be. Also, I would hope by that point to have music as my full-time occupation, which would then give me time to create pretty much whenever. As far as grade 8 piano goes, I doubt I'll ever have that much free time or specific piano focus to get anywhere close... but if you keep working at it, I think you'll easily achieve it. Did you catch my reference in the title? Passing with distinction I believe is the highest honor you can get on the exam!

Location cannot make you a better musician, true, but it sure can inspire different tunes! For example, if I went to a forest to write, the song could be very mystical and fantasy-oriented, but if I composed on a beach, it might be more upbeat or fun. What I tend to do when writing is remember a specific place or experience to help me feel what I want to portray, since I can't necessarily just go anywhere at any moment, especially back in time!

I'd like to see somebody try to include Mozart in your final phrase... Possible? Ok, then try Beethoven :)
For more grooves, scores, and original compositions by Alice, visit her YouTube page here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Emine SARI: Singer, Songwriter, Survivor

Emine Sari is a Turkish musician that has a very colorful and beautiful life story. She begin to teach herself the piano and study foreign languages as a young child because she loved music from different cultures  and regions of the world. Emine was diagnosed with blood cancer, also known as leukemia, about 10 years ago and was told she only had a few short months to live. However, she has overcome this cancer and now lives a life freed from the complications and fears of sickness.

During her struggle with cancer, Emine relocated to Japan. This is where her singing career had its birth. She participated and succeeded in various musical competitions and eventually went on tour with Matsumoto Band. Sari has already released one CD, and is currently in the UK working on her newest album.

I was honored to have miss Sari contact me and send her exclusive interview done with KOviedo, and after conversing with her a bit, I was excited to help her cause. Although I did not do my own, typical interview with her, I found out that Emine won a best singer award in Japan and is currently nominated in the UK for more awards, that she adores her fans, loves what family means to her in her life, and used music to make her stronger, even in the most difficult of times. Also, she enjoys smashing together different types of music into her own, unique style, just like me!

Emine Sari sent me her new music video as well as a link to one of her pages, where you can hear the rest of her music. Although I usually post music from YouTube pages, today, I'm going to put the remix of Emine song featured in her music video. Her video is a beautiful ballad that gradually transitions to an 80s-type rock ballad.

The remix of this song has one of the introduces one of the most common beats in the world, and though it can be used for many styles of music, it always reminds me of zouk, soca, and calypso, and playing music with my family and friends when I'm back in the Caribbean. This is fun, and I love fun music, especially from outside of the realm of what I often hear when I'm in the States.

For more of Emine Sari, check out her video, webpage, or music page!

To all composers and original musicians out there: keep on going, and let the stories and success of others inspire you! I once read an article that revealed that the number one cause of failure as a musician is not from lack of talent, but from giving up. Emine Sari still is not quite where she would like to be, but she has already begun to live out her dreams and taste the satisfaction hard work brings by sticking with it even when things felt like they were going nowhere or when it meant spending 10 hours in a studio. Follow your dreams and give it all you've got!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fernando Guadarrama: ¡El Sabor Original!

Fernando Guadarrama is a young musician from Mexico that is new to composing and very excited for what his future holds. He really knows how to listen and take inspiration away from any song he hears, transforming that influence into something that is uniquely his own. I decided to share his Videogames 8 Bit composition because it is well put together, I haven't featured an 8-bit song yet, and it could easily go into any throwback video game! I interviewed Fernando in Spanish, and I'm leaving the questions that way, but there shouldn't be much difficulty knowing what they are, even if you don't read Spanish. All the answers are in English anyway, so here they are:

1) Habla un poco de tu mismo:
Hi my name is Fernando Guadarrama.. I'm from Cancun, Mexico, am 17 years old, and am currently in high school.
I started to compose music about a year ago. I am still new to music composing.
Compared to other composers, I'm a baby starting to walk :p
All in all, I would like to get very far with my music.
I love many types of music .. especially lively and dynamic music
I love music with many cuts, changes of harmony, rhythms in 7/8 and similar features.
I love to find composers on youtube .. music composers who create unique and different styles from what you hear every day.

2) Cuales programas y equipo te usas para realizar tus composiciones?

Unfortunately I have no good music programs. I compose with the guitar pro,
but soon will compose with other software better than that :D

3) Cuales objetivos quieres lograr con tu musica?

I wish to create a different environment and get wrapped up in another world.
I want my music heard in video games or similar types of media.
I also want to create complex and difficult songs that are musically satisfying to people, even the "doubtfuls."

4) Quien te inspira para crear musica de este tipo?

All the artists I listen to. They all give me ideas and I think up the music from there.
Artists like: Gutrie govan, Koji Kondo, Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Guillaume de Machaut, Hanz Simmer, John Williams, Jesper Kyd, Danny Elfman, Yellowjackets, Pat Metheny, David Aguilar, and Many Many others :D

5) Random thoughts:

I mean I love music. I love the satisfaction of being able to listen to good music
and give the best you have!
Everyone has talent .. only thing is to practice and learn and study to refine these virtues.
Greetings and a hug to ALL the composers.

My thoughts on the interview:

Messing with different timings is always fun! And compared to some other composers, you are no child, but a father! Many people love your stuff (I've talked to some of them) and you have a pretty decent following on YouTube. For having such limited equipment, you let your creativity shine through and overcome that problem without a doubt. You definitely have great, unique music. It was hard for me to choose a song to feature because you have solid music of many styles.

As always, for people who record MIDI, I have to recommend Reason, but Cubase is by far the most popular program among everyone I know and have met. I really need to check it out :)

You have a lot of cool and diverse inspirations. I love people that can compose outside of a specific style or box. It's not a bad thing to only do one main thing, but it can be fun to try something new!

Indeed. Everyone does have talent. Combine it with passion and desire to accomplish something, a lot of hard work and patience, and of course, help from people that just know more, and you end up a great musician with no regrets.

For more of Fernando's musical flavor, check out his YouTube channel here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wynn Smith: Composer Kuandohan

Wynn Smith is a well-seasoned composer, who also happens to be the twin brother of Hill Smith, from the previous interview. His inspiration comes from many places and his style has developed deeply in only four years of composing. Wynn's latest release on YouTube, called "Sweating the Desert," is a song that very much reminds me of the style of music I have enjoyed and maybe even been addicted to lately - with an upbeat twist! Basically, I call this stuff desert travel or town music in video games. It reminds me a lot of White Knight Chronicles and Baten Kaitos. I even made a town theme, "Springtide," that has the slower feel to this style of music. But, because "Sweating the Desert" is more upbeat, I would have to say that it would fit better as travel music. When I interviewed Wynn, this is what he had to say:

1) Tell us about yourself:

My name is Wynn Smith, I'm 17, I live in Jacksonville, Florida, USA, but was born in Beaumont, Texas.
We are currently homeschooled, and are working to get into college!
My username was something I made up a long time ago, probably when I was around 11, because my previous username was not a very good choice. I liked Tae-Kwan-Do when I was younger, or just the idea of it, I saw a Tae-Kwan-Do training facility, and thought "Kuando" and I put "han" at the end, I got confused with the honorific "San", and thought they said "Han" in Japan, but I kept it anyway.
I love composing any type of music, in any genre, I'll even experiment, collaborate, work on any project, no matter what it is, big budget to little budget, ask and you will recieve our work! Depending on what it is, for a fee of course.
I'm also working on becoming an Actor/Voice Actor, I'm very outgoing, and can speak in front of a crowd, so I thought it would be sensible to at least try and work in that profession.
Among other things, being a composer is mainly where my heart is set.
I also play any instrument you can find, but a piano would be the main generic choice.
2) About how many songs have you and your brother composed? Do you usually work together on projects, or do you do solo compositions as well?

My brother and I have composed countless pieces, could be around 1,000 as of the beginning, around 4 years ago.
Definitelly over 24 Hours of pure music if you were to listen to all of it.
My brother and I are actually becoming more and more prolific by the month, the more work we do, the faster you get.
My brother and I are also collaborating more frequently than before.
We used to just do pieces alone, and then we would each listen to the tracks. Now we are working together, mainly when it's on a project, like a film, game, TV, anime, ect.
The thing I like about us is that my brother and I, in my opinion, both have completely different styles of composing, so when we collaborate, it becomes something very different. But we compose so much work, it takes too long to collaborate on every piece, but when we can, we do it!
You'll see the results soon enough, over 90% of our work has not gone past the ears of my brother and I.
3) Why did you start the Extemporaneous Project?
Mainly, because we believe no idea should ever get thrown away, we've heard, and seen people write down ideas, didn't like them at the time, and threw them away, erased them. That just bugs me so much that people do that, especially when I've written a piece I didn't like very much at the time, but after a couple days, I relistened to it, and I liked it!
Don't feel down about what you write or anything like that, just write, and what comes out, comes out, it's what was meant to be!
If the director tells you to take something out of a piece your composing for a project, even if it's a small riff, keep it and make a piece based off of it, even if it's ambient, or just a small 1:00 composition, it can still be something amazing to someone. :D
This project was also created for ideas most people would think would be too experimental for "Normal" albums, per-se.
It's also based on the idea of creating music, at basically lightning speed, composing 3 minute compositions in 30 minutes is possible, just write and don't worry about what it is.
4) Who do you admire as a musician and composer?

My brother, that's a start.
Anyone who can actually finish a project, I admire a lot, it shows that they have enough self confidence to complete something of their own work, even if it's not very good, it's still something completed, and sellable. So many people just give up on their work, even if it's something amazing. It's kind of sickening the self confidence of most people. I know it's how they're raised, and the people around them, but doing something you love is something that makes you feel better, it doesn't matter what crap anyone says out their mouth about it, do what you love. It's not about the fame, or the money, but it surely does help. :D Like money, obviously you need it to live and get better products, and fame, well, most people look at it the wrong way. You can use that to send a great message to people, and be a role model if you like. Be the inspiration for everyone else looking to do what they love as well, and I'm not just talking about composing. Tell them they can do anything they set their mind to. Even if you have no money and are being held down by some abusive force, something can happen, things are very unexpeceted in this world, and you never know who you can bump into, that's a good thing.
Now as to composers I love, that would be Yoko Kanno, for her ability to compose great BGM, and memorable Songs, not many people can do that the way she does.
Motoi Sakuraba, he's very redundant, but I love his style, and the sheer amount of work he does is inspirational in itself. Just look at his VGMDB profile, you'll be amazed, and that doesn't include his handheld games. My favorite soundtrack of his is Infinite Undiscovery, truly one of the most beautiful works I have listened to, along with Star Ocean: The Last Hope. I have many other recommendations of his, but those two are great starting points.
I enjoy listening to music in general, but I'm amazed at the amount of Japanese composers and songwriters I enjoy listening to.
I used to be very closed off to what I listened to back then (You don't really want to know.), but now I'm much more open minded. I used to not like listening to american songs, mainly because of their composition style, and depressing lyric nature. So after I ventured into the nostalgic realm of anime, and games, I really do like listening to bands like The Pillows, Suneohair, Avant-Garde Eyes, among others, so I thought, maybe I'm breaking that mold of not liking songs, maybe I was just naive.
But then I listened to the music I used to dislike, and guess what? I still don't like it.
I don't get it, its like Japan has this addictive aura that I can't get away from, the composers, the songwriters, the anime, the games, the artwork, the scenery, I love it all from Japan (That doesn't include its politics, this is strictly media).
Maybe it's because a lot of the things I enjoyed when I was younger were from Japan, I used to play games like Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, Mario Party, ect. I used to watch anime like Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, Inuyasha, FLCL, ect.. I guess all of the nostalgia has rubbed off on every medium from japan, and I just can't shake it. But hey, if you love it, then go for it! I have no complaints about it, it's just strange to me.
Other random inspirations are:
Kenji Kawi
Kohei Tanaka
Kow Otani
Tsuneo Imahori
Nobuo Uematsu
Yasunori Mitsuda
Yoko Shimomura
Jun Maeda and the crew from Key
and many, many others.
There are a lot of great composers out there, a lot more than you may think, the key to becoming more famous is, the more people you know, the more contacts you get, and kindness goes a long way, make sure you do great work all of the time, whether you're getting paid or not, when the directors you work with use you again and again, that's when the beauty comes.
Look at John Williams, Steven Spielberg uses him over and over again, that really helped John from being under the radar, to pretty much king.
Same thing with Nobuo, he was used by Hironobu Sakaguchi, over and over again.
Being friends really helps, get your work done fast, and don't be such a push over, and do what they tell you to, they will use you again when they like your work.
5) How do you believe passion is related to music?
It depends on how you think about passion.
Passion to me, is something you're compelled to do, like if you see someone in trouble, you're compelled to help them, however you can.
That's just one passion.
You can't make passion appear, it mainly comes when you realize how beautiful something really is, with no filters, no make-up, no fake persona, nothing, just true beauty.
Something where, it doesn't matter what people say, I have to do this, It's something I love, to the day I die, this is something I will always think about.
Very much like love.
This goes for any profession you feel this way over too, if any of you out there feel this way about anything, designing, fashion, becoming a doctor, lawyer, architect, artists, anything at all, forget whatever cereer you've been pursuing, and do your best to work with that one instead, go to school, get your degree, and if you need money to do that line of work, then get the other job, and support your dreams.
But this can get in the way of family, never lose sight of your family while doing this, never hurt someone to gain something, that's just wrong.
Do it to the best of your ability, never give up, always look on the positive side, and see it through, even when things look downhill, just keep looking ahead, and stay positive, sometimes, something unexpected happens, that's why you should never work alone, even if your working with someone who causes the problems, just let them go, forgive them, and move on.
And, like I said, always remember, never lose sight of the ones you love.
6) What inspires you in the music-making process?

Depends on if you mean during the composing process, or before.
Before composing, anything can inspire me.
But during the composition process, it's more like composing and just continuing the composition. I never know how long, or even how a piece is going to turn out. I can have an idea, but never truly know, especially if I leave and come back to it later.
Sometimes I do things I usually enjoy doing in pieces, that's why if you hear music by me, you can hear similarities, I also can get lazy and copy and paste sections. Especially when I want to end certain pieces.
7) Random thoughts:

When composing, it's better to do everything you need to do in your day, finish your work, hang with the family, listen to a couple soundtracks, view beautiful scenery, build some inspiration.
I'm all for being prolific, but it really is better to just sit down, feel comfortable, and write when you feel inspired, which will happen easily when you don't have to worry about anything. Feeling inspired can be anything, even if you're inspired by a prolific composer for just being prolific, work with that! Anything can inspire you!
Write in the morning, after you dream, or in the evening or night, after you've completed your work in the day.
You can't make beauty come, it just happens.

My thoughts on the interview:

You sound a lot like me. I make up names all the time, as I mentioned in your brother's interview. In fact, my wife and I name about half of our video game characters after possible made-up names for our kids. I also love to play any instrument I get my hands on, and help out with countless projects, for free even. Finally, I really wanted to be a kid actor when I was growing up, but decided somewhere along the way to change all interest to voice acting. However, I just moved away from Orlando upon finishing college and now, I haven't really had time to look into it in the Ft. Myers area.

That's really great to have a team setup to help each other determine what makes your songs sound the absolute best. In addition, your project sounds amazing, and I have talked to people that it has helped to gain more confidence in their work. I also hate it when music is thrown away, and, sadly, I had to throw away a few of my most unique pieces because I simply did not have enough memory to keep all of the file data... luckily, I still have those songs spread out somewhere in computers and flash drives :)

You should learn Japanese, especially if some of your favorite composers are from Japan. In the past few weeks, I have met people, both in my hometown and on YouTube, that know some very famous individuals who are at the top of the musical world. Keep searching and keep pursuing your dreams. You'll make it eventually, haha, and once I searched for composing and other jobs at Japan-based companies in America. They were hiring... if you know English and Japanese! Knowledge of your field of interest is good, but contacts definitely are the key. Why does this site exist? So people can gain friendships and contacts with others who have been all over the musical (and physical) world.

You also have some pretty good insight on how to have a joyful life. It doesn't mean sucky things won't happen. An example, my wife and I both lost our main jobs a week ago, but we are still happier than normal because we don't know what is in store for the future and didn't settle for doing doctor or lawyer or business majors in school just because people wanted them for us. We want to help people and make lots of music, and will just have to settle for a hard day's work right now until we can get better equipment or meet that person that offers us the "big job."

Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes I will literally say, "Today, I will be inspired to create a Waltz," and then I will sit down and play a song that starts writing itself in my head until it is memorized. Other times, I will hear a noise that triggers a random song. When I'm actually writing, I try to keep my songs unique and avoid excessive similarity (because I'm prone to it), but looping is a great way to end a song without having to think :)

For more of Wynn's music, visit his YouTube channel here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hill Smith: The Composer Syterious

Hill Smith is a composer of many experimental songs that have a wide variety of styles. He also happens to be a twin and has done countless solo compositions and combined projects with his brother, Wynn. One such project, the Extemporaneous Project, is used to help other composers gain confidence in their work. I love musicians that help each other out! Hill's recent upload, "The Stories at Eve" happen to fall into one of my favorite categories - orchestral music! It is also very creative and unique, always taking you in a new, unpredictable direction. I would definitely place this in the video game category, and could see this easily being used for a new series. Here is what Hill had to say:

1) Tell us about yourself:

My name is Alexander "Hillard" Sims David Smith (Full name), but you can call me Hill.
I'm seventeen years old (turning eighteen in November).
I live in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
I am, currently, Home schooled, and we're being taught by our Mother, Debra, who has given us life, basically. She gave us an abundance of love and care, and she is the best mother that we could have ever been rased by. We're planning to go to a musical collage in the near future.
My username is ComposerSyterious. The name "Syterious" sounds like Serious with a TY put in it, but it was just a name that I thought of when I was younger, before I even started composing music.
Hill is used like my real name. I've had it ever since I was a baby, and have been called Hill ever since. Plus, I like Hill.
My brother and I are identical twins, and I'm sure we're gonna be together for the rest of our lives. We have a mighty brotherly bond, so you'll often see us together in projects, and such. Family, and teamwork, is important.
2) What equipment do you use?
Eastwest/QuantumLeap: Complete Composers Collection (Orchestra Gold, Symphonic Choirs, Pianos Gold, GOLIATH, Ra, Silk, & Stormdrums II)
Cubase 5
Use Audacity (freeware) to convert our pieces.
Microphone from Laptop (on occasion)
This is a current list, and this is what we've been using to compose with, but it's always a subject to change. We'll have other VSTs and software that we will be using in the future.
Back then, we use to use just GarageBand (3, '08). We have made SOOO much music with this system, but we're having difficulty trying to export everything. Here's the deal.
First, in the beginning, we found out how to use GarageBand (excellect), then we've composed on it for a year and some months in our spare time (estimated), and then the computer broke (It's a MacBook Pro, it literally fell apart, and I'm very upset with this model, but thank goodness we backed up all of the files, but not the MP3s... Oops).
Anyway, we had to compose on another computer with a lesser GarageBand with no ability to update it to '08 or higher (this Mac was old) so we couldn't open our previous files from the '08 version, but it had better instruments then the other one, which was weird. Anyway. We composed a lot of great music on there for a year and some months (more estimations). Now that computer is starting to lose it's mobility.
During all of that time, we've been researching for other softwares that have been trusted and highly respected, so we had that going for us once the time was right, and it came sooner than we thought. We had a bunch of deals available that made a new computer, new music software, and new sound come to fruition!
We got a nice ACER computer with 1 TB and 6 RAM (which isn't a lot, but it works well with us), and the EWQL CCC. All for under $2,000 (Which I think is a bargain, for it will provide years of benifit)! We have to thank our family for that, it helped so much! Our friend, Nicholas Potter (WowSoundtrackProject, I recommend you visit hin, he is dang good), helped us get Cubase 5 for us to use EWQL. He was very helpful! At the time, we didn't know it was just a sound library, and it had no software with a piano roll/sheet music to work with.
OK, was that long enough for you guys? I didn't even go into very much detail (I'm pretty detailed).
I also have to mention, after using Cubase as a base for composing, it makes GarageBand rather difficult to compose on. That's my experience.
3) How long have you been composing?

We started composing music on June 2007, four and a half years ago as of September 2011 (my brother and I started composing at the same time together, we both had the idea to compose something).
Our lives were an inevidable manifest to music. We've had music with us throughout our lives (that wouldn't be big news for most people, but I'm mentioning it anyway). We also had some piano lessions when we were six, but were prematurely stopped for unknown family reasons (I think our Dad didn't like it too much). But it surely enhanced our interest in music for the coming years.
Even though we where heavily listening to music from (mainly mainstream) Country, Classic Rock, Hip-Hop/Rap, Rock/Alternative, Metal, Various hardcore music (grindcore, dethcore), etc. when we were pretty young, we were still improving to become musicians/composers. Not only that, music was emotional to us, and we had feeling towards it, good and bad feelings.
When we started, we were thirteen, and (literally) one day we foundout about GarageBand and wanted to start making music on it. During that time, there was a Ninja Warrior Marathon on G4 that served as inspiration (I'm not kidding, but it's funny). In three days, we learned more about GarageBand, and made a thirty-seven minute album called "Turbo Current," and it's comprised of, technically, avant-garde free jazz. It was interesting, and it has SUCH a positive output on us. It's a hilarious album.
That's how it started though, and we contimued to make more albums, improving by each one.
4) What does the Extemporaneous Project mean to you?

Oh boy, do I have a lot to say about this one! I'm gonna be as brief as I can be about it (but don't count on that),
When we started this project, we were inspired to compose music (or just play), rather hastely, oddly, or impromptu (hence the word extemporaneous. Fancy, no?). Mainly because, in a project, you have to compose promising music, fast (to fit a certain emotion, etc.). So this can serve as an exercise, but the oddities are just any unique-like ideas. I encourage others to do this. Compose your unique ideas. Not only for yourself and others, but for me, because I'm VERY INTERESTED in music that is unconventional (structure, sound, etc.). :P
But it was not only for that, there are philosophies behind this project. We realised that there are a lot of people (I think) that have these self-esteems on their music, and somewhat feel pessimistic towards it. Maybe they don't like what they compose; if they're dissatisfied, or they compare too much to their interests and say that their own is inadequate, or they think that if they compose an idea like "this" that people wouldn't like it because it's "not right" to music.
That's not right, they should never scrap an idea, or think bad towards it. I think most people don't think about creations as judiciously as I do (aside from the quote by Einstein that I love "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."). When you create something, it has a part of you in it (even a remix or arrangement does), and that's good. There's something in that creation that has never been done before, and you created it (don't have an ego about it though, but it should make you happy).
Don't limit yourself, only as a challenge, not permanemtly.
There's even more to this project, the philosophies just keep coming! I'm gonna give it a rest for now, though.
Now, I KNOW, that this philosophy wouldn't apply to certain projects, but when it's purely personal, and you're showing it to the world, don't be afraid to let out all you have, and be open minded; be out of the box.
Although, I hope I won't get in trouble at a musical university for these believes. :P
5) How do you believe passion is related to music?

There's a lot that can go to music, but don't think too much about it, or else you'll hurt yourself. If you do, it might be a good idea to write a book about it. Share your passion.
With passion in music, I believe you do have to have feeling/emotion in your music and towards it. Plus, it shows in the finished product, and that gives good results. Among that, there's also determination. No matter what, have fun composing, even when it can be stressful, turn it into a challenge and that you can make it to the end.
Now, I do consider this as the standard passion, and that nothing in life is easy. If it was, we'd all be really bored around here. Find your passion, and do what makes you happy. If it's composing/playing music, being a doctor, philanthropy, being a chef, stock broking, noodling for catfish, learning languages, or anything. Like Bill Cunningham, the happiest you've ever been, that's how life should be lived.
6) What are your musical goals?

In the beginning, I also started composing because I wanted to hear something that I would like. That was the first goal (definitely accomplished :D).

My main goals are to be prolific and eclectic (I have reached that for myself, but I have so many ideas to write down). A good person to look up to, and be inspired by, is Yoko Kanno (She is eclectic and prolific, and not only that, she produces great music as well). Mainly, I just love to compose music, and I also love to play music.
I would love to make my music a money making business also, so composing for projects is a good start. I still have a lot to learn on the business side of music, though.
To inspire (music, philosophies, etc.), and encourage that inspiration is good. I think it's good to be around the spectrum, from sounding alike to completely different, tonal to atonal, structured to discombobulated, subtle to noisy, etc.
Well, there's a lot more. :P Of course, there will be more.
7) Random thoughts:

History doesn't change, but opinions do. Only take the opinions as current advise, for I'm only seventeen, and I'm gonna see a lot more in my life that will give me different results on even the same topic. That's why you take multiple interviews and updates. :D
Although I'm inspired by virtually everything, my recent inspirations are this: I've been VERY inspired by music from Asia (mainly Japan). Also, I've been watching a lot of anime recently, and have been getting into the music in that. I recommend listening to Yoko Kanno (Especially Y. Kanno), Kou Ootani, Kouhei Tanaka, Kenji Kawai, SPITZ, Suneohair, The Pillows, Masa Sumide, Oshio Kotaro, etc. That's just a few, and I'm not even counting the video game composers that inspire me! I'll just say for now that one of my favorite VG soundtracks is Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door. It had such an impact on me, and I love everything about it! If you gave me a Best Of list to do, there would be thousands of soundtracks and it's in no particular order, all are equally deserving and educational, musically.
Keep pursuing your dreams! - Hill

My thoughts on the interview:

Hill sure can talk, haha, as can I. I like your composer name and the fact that you made it up. It's funny, because I love to make up names for stuff as well (my dog, Gunslash, based on Lightning's shooting sword for FFXIII... and my poor future kids, what will they experience!). Perhaps you should turn it into an adjective like, "Hill is a Syterious composer." Just playing around.

I only hear about EW products and Cubase, both of which I have yet to experience. Can't wait! And, sadly, I am composing on a miniature Acer with only two processors, so it makes using VST's a pain.

Four years is a good amount of experience to have when going into a university. I just graduated from a non-musical university in December, but I was lucky enough to be able to learn and practice on the side, getting advice from musical people! Even if you do get in trouble for your musical beliefs, don't change them. First, look at things from other angles or "eyes," then your perception may grow. If necessary, once you have these other insights, you can then make the decision... change yourself or change the world :)

It is a HARD journey indeed. But the more fun you have with it, the less big of a deal opposition and challenges seem. I remember in the beginning, trying to learn a new program or machine was so frustrating, I wanted to throw it out the window, but I just sat there for days until I forced it to cooperate and work. Silly me, way too much thinking was involved. Laugh at yourself, the world will be a brighter place.

To me, making money for your music just means that you get to be around it more often WOOOOO!!! because then you don't have to spend time working elsewhere. I'm dying for that to happen. I used to only know people that knew people that knew the people I needed to know (tongue twister), but now I know people that directly know and have worked for and with these people... getting closer!

Paper Mario not only has great music in the entire series, it also has unique, fun gameplay as well. And yes, I've been planning second-round interviews to keep up with people. They probably won't be for a few months though.

Thanks Hill! For more of his music, visit his YouTube channel here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Big Door About to Open?

Thanks to everyone who has supported the site so far by either interviewing to be a featured artist, viewing the posts, and searching for ways to connect with other musicians! We are starting to increase more rapidly in our view count, and have made the first page of Google searches when people look for a place filled with original music by unique composers.

Aside from all of this, my personal week has been both exciting and tragic - a true adventure. I received loads of bad news, some of which includes my wife and I both losing our main jobs, and some of which I cannot even share. But after the mess of events that occurred during the first part of the week, an extremely happy sequel has been set to take place. It's still in the works, so I can't share all of the details of it yet, due to the chance that it may not amount to as much as we are hoping. Plus, there are things that I do not even know, such as how long it will take. A few weeks, a few months? That's a pretty big difference; but all in all, the news is extremely exciting, and if it goes well for me, perhaps I will be able to help it go well for some of you!! Until then, we can only hope, pray, and work as hard as possible to make all of our dreams a reality. Will your "Big Door" open today?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dorian Pinto: Pianist and Composer

Dorian Pinto, a well-seasoned pianist, has recently begun to share his musical compositions with the world. He includes a deep passion in his music and is always actively engaging in the musical community. Using his computer programs and mixing skills, as many of us do, he is able to create much more than piano compositions. For example, his new score, "Sunset of Water" has a few different sections that, although they are piano-based, include several other orchestral instruments. The beginning section I personally could see in a video game or film, while the other sections I found to be suited more for a video game. However, the whole composition could still fit in many types of movies. Here is what Dorian had to say during his interview:

1) Tell us about yourself:

I'm Dorian Pinto, 20, from France. I worked into the audiovisual industry for 2 years as a sound engineer and now I'm studying at a professional music school in Paris. I've been playing piano for 11 years now, and I also love to discover new instruments to enlarge and diversify my music activities and horizons.

2) You got a bunch of new equipment. Congratulations. What equipment and software are you now using to make your music?

I've recently bought a Fatar Studiologic VMK-188 Plus, a great midi controller I've been using for several weeks now. I also use Cubase 5 to record my compositions and various libraries like Komplete 7 from Native Instruments, Best Service Galaxy II, Spectrasonics Trilogy and Drums of War Vol 1 & 2. I'm really proud of that configuration as it sounds really great.

3) How long have you been composing?

Well, I've been composing for 5 years, since 2006. I really enjoy composing different stuff like alarming/mysterious themes but also beautiful, relaxing and aerial themes. To make this clear, I really like to explore different moods in my compositions, I want people to feel what I feel when I write. I really want them to imagine a scene where the music could match perfectly and make them feel authentic, deep, heart-rooted sensations. That's what I'm trying to do.

4) What are your goals as a musician?

My ultimate goal as a composer would be to work for famous composers like Nathan Barr (composer for HBO's True Blood), or Daniel Licht (composer for Showtime's Dexter). I really love their way to compose music and to make people feel and believe what's on screen. There is such sensitivity and originality in those soundtracks; it influenced me directly to compose and create my own tracks. Finally, my goal would be to be recognized as a professional composer, and create original soundtracks for movies, TV shows or TV advertising spots.

5) What advice do you have for other musicians?

If music is your passion like it is mine, never give up on the way you chose. Life is short, so you have to think about a path and do everything to make it real. Follow your dreams and try to put them into your reality. Never give up. I think that's the point there, especially in that domain.

6) Random thoughts:

Feel free to check my channel and listen to the rest of my music. I recommend "Under the Bed" and "River Theme" if you like relaxing film music and "A Stranger in the House", "Kruger Street" or "Fear in Sunday Clothes" if you like anguish/mysterious kind of film music.

- Well, just know that several compositions will be available soon, I'll try to keep my Youtube Channel updated really often, even if I'm also working, but I'll definitely find time to compose more original soundtracks, so please follow me, check out my channel, and thanks for support ! Oh.. last thing. If you wish to make some collaborative songs (if you are a singer for example), don't hesitate to contact me on my channel or on my mailbox : doriansoundmusic@hotmail.fr

My thoughts on the interview:

That is great that you were able to work in the industry and get some active experience as an engineer working with others. Not many people have that opportunity. Discovering new instruments is a great way to make songs you never thought you would be able to compose.

Getting people to feel something while they listen to your music really shows that you put your heart into it. Your themes do just that!

Composing for a TV show would be a great honor, and if you don't give up, you can get there eventually. You are well on your way to becoming a professional composer, and your excitement, passion, and active personality will only help you get there faster.

For more of Dorian's music, contact him or view his channel here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Michael Kelly: Aspiring and Succeeding Composer

Out of all of the original composers on YouTube that are working intently to get into composing for the gaming and television industries, Michael Kelly is one of the most successful and well-known. In addition, he is a humble guy that enjoys hearing great new music from anyone, whether you are just starting out or have been pursuing your dreams for years. Not only does Michael inspire other musicians, but he also does makes good enough music for anime and video game fans to go crazy about. He is even compared to some of his own heroes, such as Shoji Meguro. I interviewed this up-and-coming legend, and here is what he had to say:

1) Tell us about yourself (name, age, country of origin, current country, schooling, anything else you feel like sharing)

Hi! My name is Michael Kelly, and I currently reside in Opelika, AL. I'll be attending Berklee online courses next year to help reach my goal into becoming a professional composer. Music has always touched me and been a large part of my life. My goal is to create music to reach and inspire others as well.
2) Why do you use Reason and Record, two of my favorite programs?I enjoy it's interface and accessibility. I especially love the "SSL 9000k" mixer. 3) Who inspires you as a composer?Shoji Meguro, Kenji Kawai, and Shinji Hosoe. I've been listening to these guys for years, and it was Meguro's work that made me want to start composing. I first listened to "Muladhara" from Digital Devil Saga and loved how unique it was. After that, I listened to the official soundtrack for Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. I was sold.

4) What advice do you have for people who are just starting out in music?

Listen to all the music that you can, and experiment. Just starting out is a very exciting time, and don't be afraid to travel all over the grid for a while until you find your own unique sound. Use some of your favorite songs for inspiration.

5) If you were offered a composing job today, what company/developer would you hope the offer was from?
I would LOVE to compose for Atlus or Platinum Games. Both of these companies seem to have that "X Factor" to their games that make them so enjoyable and fun. I actually sent a demo CD to Atlus USA last year (And yes, I facepalm a bit in hindsight). However, they'll be hearing from me again. When you dream, dream big, right?

6) Random thoughts:

Always compose with your heart. Save the thinking for theory, practice and studying. Music should always come from the soul. Thank you so much for the opportunity, Nate. You have some terrific music, and this was an honor.

My thoughts on the interview:

I'm sure glad that there are several others out there that wanna help people, and dude, you are doing it. People are definitely inspired.

I agree completely with your thoughts on Reason. So great to use... can't wait to try out the SSL 9000k mixer, especially since Reason and Record are now combined in Reason 6.... speaking of which, did you know you can name your own price for the upgrade if you own Reason and Record, which you do?

I need to check out this nocturne song... I may have heard it, but I'm terrible with lyrics, song titles, and band names for that matter.

I was just telling someone else this same advice last week. Experiment. There's no need to be afraid of messing up, especially if you don't ever have to show it to anyone. And yes, I've traveled over many grids, perhaps in separate universes because I love music so much. However, I'm really trying to avoid that unique sound...but it doesn't really work that way :) people still know when a song was made by me. Also, I would say never be afraid to "just start" out, even when you are a seasoned veteran. When I think I'm really great is about the time when I learn how little I actually know and need to start out learning a whole new concept, program, technique, etc. I'm sure many of you feel the same.

Dream as big as you can, and then some, leaving ample room for you to be surprised by what you forgot to dream about. I know my "big break" is gonna come in some way I didn't even know was possible... lucky me, now I can't watch out for it :P

Thank you, Michael. Congratulations on daring to follow your dreams and what you love...and then doing so well at it! You will definitely make it if you continue your perseverance.

For more of Michael Kelly's music, visit his YouTube channel here.