Hey everyone! It has been one wonderful summer. We started classes on Thursday, and I can already feel the workload!
To prepare for the second semester, I spent my summer composing and producing, to make sure that my musical chops were at their absolute best for our first class of the second year! It’s been quite eventful, since I picked up my very first paid gig writing some doom metal for a web series! I was chatting with one of our Alumni on Facebook, and he mentioned that he saw an ad for a project that he thought I would do really well in. I responded to the ad and sent a demo. Fast forward a day later, we’re signing contracts, and I’m the composer for Mad Mitch’s Trash Laboratory! It was a super fun project to work on, since it’s equal parts cheesy B-cinema and science fiction. And as if that wasn’t enough good news, my large orchestral piece, “Call of the Blood Moon,” was chosen as the senior division winner of the Urbana Pops Orchestra Composition Competition! It premiered on June 10. I’m still waiting on the live recording, but I’ll be linking the orchestral mockup at the end of this post.
As for the first week of class, we have the honor of being taught for the next six weeks by composer Jeff Grace! He’s got a really fascinating style that I’m excited to learn about. I could only describe what I’ve heard as twisted electro-acoustic music. He uses acoustic sound sources to create interesting electronic sounds, which is something I’ve really wanted to get into. Jeff is having us work on one of his more recent projects, and it’s a western film! So we are tasked with bringing in a two-minute demo that makes the director want to “hire” us to score this film. The semester hasn’t even started yet and I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone. I’ve never once thought about writing music for a western, or even music in that style. I’m definitely pulling influence from some very different places on this one. I’m writing melodies that I would write when I was in a folk metal band, and I’m using everything from whistling, to twangy guitars, to a galloping string section. It’ll be fascinating to see what everyone brings into class. It’s always awesome seeing what happens when composers are pushed out of their comfort zones and told to write something 100% original in a style they’re not proficient in. We have such a wide range of influence in class, that no one’s work ever sounds the same! It’s going to be an absolute blast working with Jeff, and I can’t wait to see what he ends up teaching us.
There’s one more thing I wanted to mention. This summer I definitely took a break from writing a lot of music for other people and started writing music for myself. It is so easy to get burnt out when you’re only writing music for others, especially music for the screen. It’s still incredibly rewarding, but sometimes you just need to write music that isn’t what someone else wants! To prevent myself from getting burnt out, I started two outside projects. One is PsychoSpektrum, a synthwave/industrial styled album, and the other is a yet unnamed symphonic black metal album. After working on these two things over the summer, I really feel so much more refreshed than I usually would at this time of year. The moral of the story is to give yourself and your brain some time to go nuts and explore what makes you unique as a musician!
That’s all for now, time to begin our last year before the Class of 2018 ships off to Los Angeles!