Siama Matuzungidi played guitar on and wrote some of the biggest pop hits of the 70s in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Kenya. In today's episode of Composer Quest, I talk with him about the soukous style of creating interesting rhythm guitar parts and lead parts to complement them. We also talk about Tim, his talented cockatiel who can improvise in the right key over Siama's guitar playing. As a bonus, Siama writes a song on the spot in honor of the thief who stole his shoes in Uganda.
Guitarist Dylan McFarling is obsessed with studying the work of other songwriters and composers, all the way back to Bach and his ingenious Musical Offering. In this episode of Composer Quest, Dylan shares his songwriting tips and explains how string quartets have inspired the way he orchestrates guitar and voice in his songs. Also in this episode, you'll hear some beautiful, previously unrecorded songs that Dylan performed live in the Composer Quest studio.
After nerding out about video game soundtracks for 20+ years, Michael Chadwick (aka Nebyoolae) finally started composing his own, a few of which are for games that don't actually exist. In this episode of Composer Quest, we chat about Michael's score for his made-up RPG Ebben Flow, his chiptune album Average Town, and his soundtracks he composes for his everyday activities (eating a muffin, doing the dishes, etc.).
Guitarist, composer, and podcast producer Anthony Joseph Lanman has racked up over 350,000 followers on Soundcloud – a number most classical musicians can only dream of. In this episode of Composer Quest, Anthony talks with me about his career path, his music, and his answer to the question, “What would Beethoven be writing today?”
My cousin Joe Graves' songwriting skills somehow flew under the radar in my family, until he finally performed some of his songs this past Christmas. In Composer Quest Episode 36, Joe plays and talks about the music he wrote for his band Goodnight Gorillas. He was inspired to make dark music by his older brothers Matt and Nate (Ep. 4), but he's been developing his own singing and songwriting style. Joe shares some of his lyrical inspiration, including a story about a famine in North Korea that forced some people to dig up dead bodies for food.
Metal isn't for everyone, but guitarist Devin Earlywine is okay with making music 90 percent of listeners won't enjoy. In Composer Quest Ep. 27, Devin talks about how metal isn't all about doom and gloom. He even admits his band Idiopathic Necrotization started as a joke to have fun with the ridiculousness of the gore death metal genre. In most of his music, Devin tries to avoid thinking of his audience at first, so there are no roadblocks between the purest musical idea from his brain to the finished song.
As a dad of two young kids, songwriter Tim Cheesebrow has limited hours in the day for music. But he recently wrote an album's worth of material in a self-imposed solitary confinement at a cabin in northern Minnesota. He's now in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to produce this new album, Home in the Heartland. We talk about his three main sources of inspiration: his family, the concept of home, and a Carl Sagan-inspired philosophy of universal connectedness. Oh, and we also talk about extraterrestrial music.