15 December 2014

Q&A With Composer Giona Ostinelli

Q&A With Composer Giona Ostinelli

Born and raised in Switzerland, composer Giona Ostinelli knew he was destined to compose. Inspired by the film "Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark", he soon followed his dream and began learning drums and piano at age 5.

After obtaining a degree in film scoring from Berklee and attending USC's Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program, Giona has received critical acclaim from the Cannes International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW Film Festival and more.

His most recent project is the film "Two-Bit Waltz", starring Academy Award Nominees William H. Macy and David Paymer.

You recently said that it was important to use real musicians on your score for "Two-Bit Waltz". How did you incorporate those instruments? 

"The score needs to emotionally move the audience by either making them laugh, cry, or even cringe in their seats. Having your music performed and interpreted by a real musician as opposed to just using samples adds an important human element to the score, which helps the audience to connect and relate to it.

It is true that the quality of samples is getting better and better each day to the point, where we can start to consider them as an instrumental choice rather than just a tool to help us create demos.

However, every tool has its purpose and should never be relied upon too heavily. I like to think about the relation of samples and live instruments in comparison to the use of CGI and actual models in films. 

When you combine them together in the right proportion, amazing results can be achieved. An example of this perfect combination is the first Jurassic Park, which still to this day looks absolutely astonishing.

It is hard to achieve a great sound by using samples only, but when you combine samples and live instruments together, new fantastic sonorities can be achieved. That is why it was so important to record real musicians for the 'Two-Bit Waltz' score.

I try to record live as much as possible so that ten years from now, when listening back, I won't think 'Why did I only use samples?' "

12 December 2014

Q&A With Audio Network's Jay Greenwood

Q&A With Audio Network's Jay Greenwood

Overseeing a music catalogue of over 80,000 tracks is no easy task, but keeping it stocked with fresh new talent is the bigger challenge for Jay Greenwood, head of A&R for Audio Network. 

Part of that commitment to quality is Audio Network's "Undiscovered Series", an ongoing global ambition to find the best new composers, artists and musicians covering an eclectic range of musical genres.


 How do you find composers that are featured in the Undiscovered Series?

"We discover new talent in a number of ways – via online submissions (we receive around 100 demos a week), through the music team's global network of music industry contacts, existing composers, musicians and by A&R scouting at gigs, events and online (blogs, social media and relevant music platforms).

Our Undiscovered Series then provides the new composers we select with a fantastic launch pad – introducing their music to our many customers and clients."

What types of tracks are most popular right now? What genres are trending?

"We cover every genre of music, so it's difficult to identify one particular type of track which is popular.

In very broad terms, orchestral music has always been a strong genre for us, and in recent years, dramedy, which tends to be quirky instrumental music, has been very popular. Folk and rock continue to be popular contemporary styles of music.

The reason we started Undiscovered was to help launch new exciting composers and artists working in different genres of music from around the world."

08 December 2014

Composerly Brings Order To Chaotic Libraries

Composerly Brings Order To Chaotic Libraries

Every composer has been there.

A client has an outlandish request for authentic 1930's gypsy music in the style of Jean "Django" Reinhardt. You vaguely recall composing a track in this genre years ago.  

It starts with a simple hard drive search and ends with an endless journey through a sea of Dropbox files. It's moments like these that inspire you to get organized.

That same inspiration came to composer Alex Weinstein, founder of Composerly, a new tool that uses Soundcloud to turn your music into a powerful, searchable music library.

What inspired you to create this product?

"At first, I was just scratching my own itch. I wanted to license my own music, and in order to do that, I needed an online, searchable music library — something I could send to my clients.

But when I started looking for the library I had in my head, I couldn't find it. So, having a background in web development, I built it for myself. My clients loved it, and it started to generate business for me.

I love sharing what I know with anyone who's interested. After a handful of composer friends asked me for their own, I decided to create a service that allows anyone to build their own music library. That's Composerly."

Your website definitely takes a shot at traditional stock music libraries. Why is Composerly better?

"I think it's safe to say that there will always be a place for traditional stock libraries. But they do seem pretty bloated. I just checked, and Getty Images Music has 167,310 songs in its library. ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY SEVEN THOUSAND SONGS! How is that good for anyone? Yeesh.

Composerly takes a different approach to stock — smaller, more specialized music libraries. It's a better experience for the people searching for music, and a better deal for the composers."

25 November 2014

Q&A With Composer Troy Engle

Q&A With Composer Troy Engle

Technology is allowing composers to emerge from all genres of music, providing opportunities for musicians like Troy Engle to hear their music on top TV shows like Pawn Stars, American Pickers and more. 

When he's not performing with top bluegrass groups, or playing the part of a steel guitar player on the hit ABC show "Nashville", Troy composes music for TV from his home studio.

His new e-book "Secrets of a Bedroom Composer" is a how-to guide for anyone interested in creating music from home. 

What inspired you to write this "how-to" guide?

"I have had a lot of musician friends ask me what I was up to these days. And when I told them I was writing music for TV, most of them had no idea that you could make money doing that!

The next question was always 'How did you get into that?'. So I thought, if my buddies were interested in how to get into composing, then there were probably a lot of other musicians out there who could use the info as well. I would have loved to have this kind of information when I was starting out."

You've worked alongside many recognizable artists in country and bluegrass music. How has that influenced your style as a composer?

"I've been really blessed to work with some awesome artists. I don't think you can play in someone's band or play on their album without their sound rubbing off on you a little bit. I'll sometimes have an artist I have worked with in mind when I am composing, to inspire a certain feel for that track.

Sometimes I'll think, let's make this a cool hand drum and acoustic guitar tune, like Patty Loveless would do, or let's do a dark and mournful bluegrass song like Larry Sparks."

05 October 2014

Q&A With Composer Daniel Hart

Q&A With Composer Daniel Hart

Composer Daniel Hart landed on the film scene after scoring the romantic film "Ain't Them Bodies Saints." He has since been named by The Playlist as one of "5 Composers To Keep An Ear Out For".

An early education in classical violin led to a passion for music, pushing Daniel to continue his studies at SMU.

Playing in bands gave him a "complete education in 20th century popular music" and even an opportunity to play with Wynton Marsalis.

 Tell us about your studio. What hardware and software do you use?

“At home, my setup is very basic. I have an Apogee Duet and a Mac. I have a bunch of microphones, but my go to is a Neumann TLM 103. I'm working mostly in Logic, occasionally ProTools, occasionally Ableton.

However, the bulk of recording we do for my scores happens at Curtis Heath's home studio in Fort Worth (Curtis just scored ‘Hellion’, and wrote several of the songs for ‘Ain't Them Bodies Saints’). He has a much more elaborate setup than me, with tons of beautiful microphones (RCA 77dx, some really nice old Beyer ribbons, an old Telefunken) a well-treated room and a UA Apollo 16 going into a Mac. Curtis also runs Logic, which makes talking between our two home studios that much easier. Curtis has spent a lot more time than me studying old mic-ing techniques (he's personally obsessed with recreating the Motown Sound) and I'm lucky that he's so willing to engineer most of my recording sessions and help me treat instruments.”

26 August 2014

Silas Hite's Commercial Scoring Workshop

Silas Hite's Commercial Scoring Workshop

Future Composer recently profiled Silas Hite and discovered why he has become one of the most accomplished commercial composers in the industry.

From iconic Apple ads to quirky video games like "The Sims 2", this Emmy-awarding winning artist has developed unique scores that continue to sell. 

On September 6th, Silas will launch a Commercial Scoring Workshop designed to give insight and experience to musicians who are interested in writing music for commercials. 

In partnership with iZotope, who is offering 50% off their products to all workshop participants, these classes will be held in Los Angeles and world-wide through web conferencing.

What inspired you to teach this workshop?

"Speaking to music classes at Universities, I realized just how much experience and expertise I had to share. I hadn't really thought about it too much until then, probably because I was just working all the time.

Also, sharing my insight with the students made me recall being a student myself. I remember being hungry for current information about how the business really worked, and where the jobs actually came from. I wanted to talk to people that were really scoring everyday for a living and try to figure out how I could do it too.

When you are on the outside of the business, all you want is a way in. I feel like this class can help open that door for people."

What are some of the topics you will explore?

"The class focuses on two aspects, the creative side and the business behind it.  

To learn the creative aspects, I give each workshop participant a commercial to score. I give them creative direction and reference tracks, simulating a real client/composer interaction. There will be revisions, creative feedback, reviews and guidance throughout the process, from initial creative considerations before you start writing to final delivery requirements.

For the business aspects I will be lecturing and answering questions about many different topics. First I begin with the differences between scoring a commercial vs. film, TV, and video games. I'll discuss the creative differences, budgets, contract pitfalls, and technical issues.  

In subsequent classes I will discuss the pros and cons of working at a music house vs. being a freelance composer. We'll cover work-for-hire, starting a publishing company, cue sheets, BMI vs. ASCAP, etc. There are many topics to cover and I generally like to let the students decide what they want to hear the most about. Typically people have very specific questions they want answered."

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