Film Scoring 101 with Adam Conrad

June 17th, 2014 • Composer Quest


In this special summer episode of Composer Quest, composer Adam Conrad shares a ton of great insights about how music works in film. He also explains why he transitioned from using MIDI mockups to writing everything by hand, for real musicians. Continue reading...

A Concept Album for Every Season with Chris Koza

May 28th, 2014 • Composer Quest


For the Season 2 finale episode of Composer Quest, I interviewed Chris Koza, who had the crazy idea to create four concept albums in one year, following the change in seasons. These Rogue Valley albums turned out to be a huge artistic success. One song even ended up in Ben Stiller's personal collection, and subsequently The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Chris shares some songwriting tips and tricks, and we dig into the concepts behind his concept albums, like how he wrote a song for each of the 12 full moons. Continue reading...

Composer Quest Unplugged Album

May 27th, 2014 • Composer Quest, News


I'm thrilled to bring you these 13 incredibly heartfelt, catchy, and thought-provoking songs performed live on the Composer Quest podcast over the past year and a half. I never thought my bedroom studio would see so much talent. Fun fact - shortly after The Okee Dokee Brothers' Joe Mailander performed "The Bullfrog Opera" on the podcast, he went on to win a Grammy! Although many of these songwriters are just under the radar here in Minnesota, I think they're all Grammy-worthy. Continue reading...

Kim of the Sunset

May 27th, 2014 • Music, Video


My friend Jeff Schwinghammer filmed a mini documentary about a scooter-driving woman in San Fransisco, and he asked me to write "ambient surf-ish music" for it. Sounded right up my alley. Continue reading...

Composing Tips from Triple Major Alex Cooke

May 21st, 2014 • Composer Quest


Alex Cooke majored in Math, Psychology, and Theater, but he eventually came back to his first true passion - music. He's an interesting guy, and in this Composer Quest interview, we talk about everything from composing in odd time signatures to the most common Red Hot Chili Peppers chord progression. He also shares a bunch of practical advice on making your pieces both playable and artistically cohesive. Continue reading...

Rock and Docs with Composer Silas Hite

May 14th, 2014 • Composer Quest


I guarantee you've heard music by Silas Hite before. If you didn't play Sims 2 or see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, then you at least heard Silas's score for the ubiquitous Mac vs. PC ads. Silas is proof that freelance composing is a viable career. In this episode of Composer Quest, we talk about his percussion-driven scores for the documentaries The Record Breaker (a Vimeo Top 10 film of 2013), The Invention of Dr. Nakamats, and Stories from the Evacuation. Silas also shares his creative process behind his rock records, and gives some tips on freelance composing. Continue reading...

Dame Evelyn Glennie on Percussion and Dynamics

May 7th, 2014 • Composer Quest


Evelyn Glennie lost her hearing by the age of 12, but that didn't stop her from becoming a percussion virtuoso, a three-time Grammy winner, and a Dame Commander of the British Empire. In this Composer Quest interview, she shares some really interesting ideas about dynamics and writing for percussion. We also talk about her collaborations with Bjork, composer John Corigliano, and guitarist and improviser Fred Frith. Continue reading...