Thing a Week with Bryan Schumann

Bryan Schumann - Composer Quest

Composer Bryan Schumann has embraced self-imposed deadlines; he's been consistently making at least one "thing" every week in 2016 and blogging about it. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about what he's learned from this experiment. Bryan also talks about his eco-friendly music projects, like a bike-powered electric band and his future solar-powered recording studio.

Read more

Composing Quest 19: MIDI Remix

MIDI Remix Quest - Composer Quest

Since the recent episodes of Composer Quest have been about electronic and video game music, I thought we could do a composing quest related to it. So here's your challenge, should you choose to accept it: create a loop-able piece of music that's under 2 minutes, using MIDI. Send me your audio file and MIDI layers (charlie@composerquest.com) by May 25th.

Next, I'll send your MIDI layers to another random participant in this quest, and they will add their own sounds to your MIDI data, with no knowledge of the sounds you used. You will also receive someone else's MIDI file to do the same. When everyone's done with their remixes (June 3rd deadline), I'll reveal the original and remixed versions of each track. I think it will be a fun experiment!

Read more

Patching Together a Creative Life with Anton Torres

Anton Torres - Composer Quest

Anton Torres has been an electronic music hobbyist for over 20 years, using the very earliest incarnations of Apple's Logic and Ableton Live. In today's episode of Composer Quest, Anton shares some wisdom on living a creative life, even if you only have 15 minutes to spare each day. We also hear why Anton decided to leave his suit and tie job in New York to pursue his creative dreams, and how he ended up working at the board game company Asmodee North America.

Read more

Game Music Melee

Game Music Melee

A few weeks ago, I got to participate in a very fun live composing event at GlitchCon, called Game Music Melee. Three of us composers got up onstage to write video game music on the spot, based on game suggestions from the audience, in JUST 30 MINUTES. Not a lot of time. Emily Reese of the Level with Emily podcast hosted, and after two rounds of composing, she interviewed us about our process. It turned out so cool, I wanted to post it as this week's Composer Quest episode.

Read more

World Tour Kickstarter Launched!

Composer Quest Kickstarter Screenshot copy

I'm excited to announce my Kickstarter campaign for the final season of the Composer Quest podcast: a multi-month musical adventure around the US, Australia, and Taiwan. I asked listeners if they'd be willing to host me, and I got a great response! I'm really looking forward to visiting all these cool places, interviewing creators there, and adding this exciting "on location" element to the final season of the podcast.

Read more

Daniel Levitin on Evolution and Songwriting

Daniel Levitin - Composer Quest (Arsenio Corôa)

Musician, neuroscientist, and author Daniel Levitin has brought music psychology to the masses with This is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs. For today's episode of Composer Quest, I got to interview Dan about why humans evolved to be musical. Dan also shares songwriting tips he's learned in talking with Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Stephen Stills, and Victor Wooten. In the second half of the episode, you'll hear Dan perform a couple of his own songs, including an exclusive debut of his new song "The Hole Inside My Head."

Read more

Asperger’s Are Us Composer Crystal Grooms Mangano

Crystal Grooms Mangano - Composer Quest

Crystal Grooms Mangano recently scored the documentary Asperger's Are Us, which follows a comedy troupe of four autistic guys. In this episode of Composer Quest, Crystal shares her process in deciding how to score this comedic documentary. I also ask Crystal about scoring the trailer for the Patrick Steward film Match, and we talk about the merits of flute in film scores.

Read more

Composing for a Mutant Lobster Wife with Sage Lewis

Sage Lewis - Composer Quest

When I called up Sage Lewis on Skype, I didn't realize he was a fellow Minnesotan. He's now out in LA, composing for films like Operator, starring Mae Whitman and Martin Starr, and a VR film called The Surrogate. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about what it takes to move to and find connections in LA. I also ask Sage about his score for the short film Caterwaul, about an old man and his mutant lobster wife.

Read more

Improv Looping with Mandy and Mikey

Mandy and Mikey Composer Quest

Are you a "gardener" composer or an "architect" composer? My new (almost) neighbors Michael Maiorana and Mandy Fassett came over to talk about their different composing styles for today's episode of Composer Quest. They decided that Mandy is usually the "gardener" and Mikey is usually the "architect." In other words, Mandy uses her jazz improv background to grow a musical "seed," not knowing where her composition will end up, and Mikey approaches many of his compositions with a clear structure in mind. But they've come together to create improv looped music with violin, bass, and rubber bands in the project Snak Atak. Also, I got to learn about Faygo, the soda from Mikey's home state and the Insane Clown Posse's drink of choice.

Read more

Quest 18: MNKINO Film Score Fest 2016

MNKINO Film Score Fest 2015

I'm happy to announce that we're bringing back MNKINO Film Score Fest this year! If you haven't heard of it, it's an awesome challenge where filmmakers and composers are paired up to create short films, and the Composer Quest Orchestra plays the scores live at the screening.

Read more