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Tour 1: Games in Chicago


For the final season of the Composer Quest podcast, 110 Kickstarter backers decided it would be fun to send me on a two month trip around the world, interviewing composers and songwriters. I'm thrilled to announce that the first episode of my Composer Quest world tour is here!

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Comic and Sublime Songwriting with Erik Ostrom

Erik Ostrom - Photo by Chris Curl

Erik Ostrom was working at a Silicon Valley startup when he realized songwriting was his true passion. He has since moved back to Minnesota and found another passion: the improv comedy world. In this episode of Composer Quest, Erik and I talk about his recent performance with The Local Music Scene, a song-based improv comedy troupe. Erik also shares some great stories behind his songs and insights into writing interesting lyrical rhythms.

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Magical Songwriting Tips with Jess and Peter

Stripes on Stripes

Jess Scherer and Peter Lund faced a songwriting quandry: what do you write about when you've been happily married for several years? They decided to stretch their imaginations by writing a magical concept album about wizards, and it turned out to be great songwriting fuel. In this episode of Composer Quest, our conversation covers songwriting tips, circuit-bending a teletubby, and a nomination for the greatest Texas jingle of all time.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Music Production Lesson: Visual MIDI Improv

Charlie McCarron - VMI v1a

I was inspired by my interview with Cyriak Harris to create a piece of music purely by visually entering MIDI. Although Cyriak listens back and tweaks the notes as he goes, I decided to take it to another level and turn off my speakers until I was totally finished. I also tried to avoid anything I would normally do to make it musically "right," and just make visually-interesting patterns.

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EDM Production Tips with Sam Matla

Sam Matla Composer Quest

Sam Matla admits that his hometown of Wellington, New Zealand doesn't have a big electronic dance music scene. But he's been hard at work producing EDM tracks and educating people about electronic music through his blog and podcast at EDMProd.com. For today's episode of Composer Quest, I interviewed Sam about his production techniques and advice for new producers.

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Season 4 Premiere: Brain Music with Roger Dumas

Roger Dumas Brain Science Lab

Roger Dumas was a synthesizer whiz kid back in the 70s. He wrote manuals for early Moog synthesizers, and he helped out Prince, Janet Jackson, and even John Lennon. He's also the guy behind the catchy synths in the disco hit "Funkytown." Now Roger has a new passion: studying the brain's response to music. He's done some pretty amazing work, including re-creating a melody out of the pure data from brain sensors. In this season premiere episode of Composer Quest, I talk with Roger about his research, his album based entirely on brain data, and his glory days in the music business.

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