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Tour 12: Finale in Minnesota

Mitchell and Charlie

It's finally here. Four years and 166 episodes later, we've arrived at the finale of the Composer Quest podcast. Before I get too sappy about it, I want to let you know what you'll be in for in this monster episode. It rounds out the end of my world tour, after my journey home to Minnesota. This episode is definitely one for the fans; most of my interviewees in this episode have been prior Composer Quest guests, and I ask them what they've been up to. I don't want to give away too much about how the episode unfolds, but I am really excited for you to listen, when you have 4 hours and 42 minutes to spare.

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Episode 150: UBK on Music Production and Arranging

Composer Quest Episode 150

For this special 150th episode of Composer Quest, I got to talk with Gregory Scott, co-host of my favorite music production podcast, the UBK Happy Funtime Hour. Gregory answers my tough music production questions like: "what effect would you use if you could only choose ONE?" He also shares his process in creating the upcoming Sneaky Little Devil record with his wife Sarah.

Also in this episode, you'll get to hear the results of our MIDI Remix Quest, where composers swapped MIDI data and blindly added their own sounds.

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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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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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Cyriak’s Surrealist Music and Animation

Cyriak - Composer Quest

Cyriak Harris has wowed the internet with his weird YouTube animations, which often feature dancing, mutating animals, like his 34-million-views video "cows & cows & cows." But he's rarely asked about his soundtracks, which are equally intricate and wild. In this episode of Composer Quest, I interview Cyriak about his composing methods and creativity tips.

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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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Kevin MacLeod, King of Royalty-free Music


If you’ve been to an indie film fest, you’ve probably seen Kevin MacLeod in the credits. Or maybe you’ve heard his music in a cute cat video, or a Minecraft video, or in a department store, cab ride, or on hold. By writing an enormous amount of music and giving it away for free, Kevin has built his reputation as the single biggest royalty-free music composer.

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Jason Graves on Game Composing

Jason Graves Headshot

Tomb Raider, Until Dawn, and the Dead Space series are some of the big-name video games Jason Graves has been scoring recently. In this episode of Composer Quest, Jason shares a ton of great composing, production, and music business advice, along with lessons he learned from his in-depth study of John Williams scores.

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Music Gear Master List

Nick Syman and Charlie McCarron in a Cagetones recording ession

I had a request from a commenter to list the stuff I use to make music. I'm not a gear junkie by any means; in general I try to get by with spending the least amount of money I can for decent sound quality. Besides, limitations can help you be more creative! Any famous producer would tell you that quality mixes have more to do with a good ear than the gear itself. That said, there is a certain point you want to hit where your gear and software isn't holding you back from producing good mixes, at least to your ear.

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Transforming a Soap Opera Theme into a Chiptune Track

Plogue Chipsounds Soap Opera Theme

Challenging yourself to rearrange a piece of music is a good way to practice your composing skills without having to start from scratch. This week, I made it my goal to transform a cheesy soap opera theme into something that I'd actually want to listen to. In the end, it turned into an old-school video game track.

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