024 Making My Own Music – Voyage (Pivvot OST)

PivvotIn this episode, I interviewed Whitaker Trebella, a video game composer and game designer in Chicago. We talked about his song Voyage from his game Pivvot.

Pivvot is available on iOS and Android, and will be available soon on Windows, Mac and Linux on Steam.

In my interview with Whitaker Trebella, we talked about the following:

  • Why Whit went from composing game music to making his own games.MMoM-1400-blue
  • His game Pivvot, a thrilling game of strategic avoidance. This game was heavily influenced by Super Hexagon.
  • His influences for the music, Hydrogen from Hotline Miami, and Memories of the Future by Oliver.
  • His challenge with Carter Dotson, Pivvot: Carter vs. the Developer where he was unable to beak Carter in the Berserk mode of Pivvot.
  • How he live-streamed the composition of the Pivvot music, and what it was like composing for an audience.
  • The use of a reference track to take a lot of ideas from. Will the new song sound too much like the original? Whit was concerned that Pivvot was too much like Super Hexagon.
  • He created a palette of sounds for the first song, and used that as a template for the other songs in the game. A lot of the sounds use the Plogue chipsounds VST.
  • How to learn synthesis, modifying synthesizer sounds. He started with a tutorial on subtractive synthesis that came with Logic.
  • We both love the chord progression like Am9 – Cmaj7. Whit describes why he likes that so much.
  • Whit went through the Logic project talking about the different tracks: kick, second kick added for louder section, distant hi-hat, extra percussion (kick on 1 and 3, snare on 2 and 4), 16th note pattern, bass with a big EQ cut in the middle, electric piano, and the choir-y sustain part.
  • The use of “humanize” on hi-hat velocities and how that creates inspiration
  • The use of side-chain compression with the kick drum, and how it makes the compressed instruments pulse to the beat. This led into how all the screen objects (the stick, the ball, the obstacles, the menus) pulse to the beat, even if the different songs have different tempos.
  • We talked about his thoughts on looping. He thinks the song should be at least a minute and have different sections so that it isn’t boring.
  • In Pivvot when you die, the song continues but at 1/4 speed, so the song is slower and two octaves lower. He also adds an EQ filter. Whit talks about “tweening” which is available in Unity Pro where he can switch from speed 1.0 to 0.25 but change it over a half of a second. It is similar when you pause and unpause.

Whit’s website is wtrebella.com and his music is available for sale at his Bandcamp page.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

If you use LinkedIn, connect to me and endorse my skills (saxophone, songwriting, recording, mixing, and podcasting). You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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023 Making My Own Music – No Time

Joe-Gilder-Out-Of-IndianaIn this episode, I interviewed Joe Gilder, a songwriter and recording/mixing/mastering engineer in Nashville and host of the Home Studio Corner-Ask Joe podcast. We talked about his song No Time from his first album Out of Indiana.

Joe’s main website is a blog called Home Studio Corner where he makes frequent posts about recording, mixing and mastering. He offers a daily email newsletter. He maintains a YouTube channel with training videos. He also has a nice monthly product called Dueling Mixes.

In my interview with Joe Gilder, we talked about the following:

  • His background with music and recording, working at Sweetwater, and starting HomeStudioCorner.com.MMoM-1400-blue
  • Joe built the audience by creating a lot of blog posts and videos, and connecting with other established music recording and mixing shows like The Home Recording Show.
  • Joe listened to 40 or 50 business audio books. He especially likes *The Go-Giver by Bob Burg, *The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, *Good To Great by Jim Collins
  • Joe talked about moving away from home, getting married, and how much his younger brother grew over the time. Since he does a lot of writing, lyrics are not particularly difficult for him.
  • Recording aux percussion. Joe probably recorded a short sample and looped it on this track.
  • The instrumentation on No Time, two guitars, mandolin, bass, shaker, tambourine, and background vocals. Joe talked about how he writes and records the background vocal parts.
  • The song has an extra dissonant note on the last chord. It is a G chord, one guitar plays G and the other plays Gsus with a C. Joe and his wife were broke and never get to visit home. They finally get a chance to go back to Mississippi but get snowed in at the Cincinnati airport.
  • I then played “No Time.”
  • Joe challenged himself to write 50 songs in 12 weeks. The intention is that 10 of them will be really good and can be used for a new album. He’s a little behind pace, but has already written about 18 songs with a month to go. The next goal will be to record the songs with a group of musicians as a band.

Joe then described his products and services. Go to HomeStudioCorner.com to find out more. You can find his music at JoeGilderMusic.com.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

If you use LinkedIn, connect to me and endorse my skills (saxophone, songwriting, recording, mixing, and podcasting). You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

* affiliate links

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022 Making My Own Music – Nothing Flower

Cagetones-DidYouSeeTheMoonIn this episode, I interviewed Charlie McCarron, a composer in Minneapolis and the host of the Composer Quest podcast. We talked about his piece The Mystery of Grey Matters and his song Nothing Flower.

In my interview with Charlie McCarron, we talked about the following:

  • The concept of Grey Matters which was released as a Polyalbum
  • This is a concept album that included voice actors which was released on three CDs, called “L,” “R,” and “L+R.” The “L+R” version is the same as when you play “L” and “R” at the same timeMMoM-1400-blue
  • Nothing Flower is a song from the Cagetones album Did You See The Moon? Cagetones is an experimental group that Charlie created with Nick Syman and John Worth.
  • Charlie started with a beat demo, with an electric piano, bass, guitar, and percussion. His friend Jeffrey Schwinghammer made a video of the demo that was uploaded to YouTube.
  • Charlie added an additional keyboard part that used an arpeggiator at different tempos. Charlie and I talked about arpeggiators and how you get random performances that you may never be able to repeat.
  • I then played Nothing Flower.
  • We talked about the different ways to make money from music: film scores, video games, multimedia, commissions, grants, and other notated music for live performances
  • We talked about registering with ASCAP or BMI to receive royalties from performances
  • Charlie talked about receiving grants for creating music. He recommended these links
    NYFA – a large grant database:
    http://source.nyfa.org/
    Composers Forum – lots of opportunities, requires membership to view the full listings:
    http://composersforum.org/opportunities-upcoming
    The Composer’s Site – lots of opportunities:
    http://www.composerssite.com/
  • Charlie described his podcast Composer Quest where he interviews composers and others involved in the creative process.
  • The current quest, #7 is to compose music for your Valentine
  • Charlie also mentioned Spintunes Challenge as an external deadline to help him write more music

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

If you use LinkedIn, connect to me and endorse my skills (saxophone, songwriting, recording, mixing, and podcasting). You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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021 Making My Own Music – Pill

MMoM-1400-blueIn this episode, I talked about and played a song called “Pill” that I wrote and recorded on January 25, 2014 for Global Game Jam.

But first I talked about and played my 2-minute Video Game Music demo reel that is made up from clips of my songs 8-Bit Frenzy, Escape!, Tremble, Follow The Advice Of Your Heart, Rise Above, Do Re Mi, and Lypasi. You can hear my songs on my SoundCloud page or on tomsnively.com.

Chris Kukla told me about Global Game Jam, which is a worldwide event where game developers get together and create games over a 48-hour period from 5 PM Friday to 5 PM Sunday. It took place Jan 24-26th, and there was a location at Camden County College that was only 20 minutes from my house.

I talked about the group I joined, our brainstorming, and the game ideas we came up with, and how I moved my desktop computer and everything I needed to write and record music at Global Game Jam.

The song is 2 minutes with 3 distinct sections, and is designed to loop. The A section is only on the B minor chord. I have a bass on quarter notes and a “haunting sound” from Omnisphere. I then have 5 parts that can be played when you get each of the five colored pills. I played what they each sound like with the bass part.

The B section is Gmaj7, Em, Bm, and I change the hi-hats to a ride cymbal. The C section is double time, and is in D major. I made a couple other changes.

I then played Pill.

You can play Pill from this site.

I did the sound effects for Pill as well. I am going to be focusing on sound design, voice over as well as music so I can be a one-stop shop for all video game audio.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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Low Earth Orbit – by Tom Snively

This is an ambient / new age song that I wrote and recorded on February 4, 2014.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer.

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Pill – by Tom Snively

This is a song for the video game Pill that I wrote and recorded on January 25, 2014 for Global Game Jam.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer. The podcast episode about this song will be episode 21.

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020 Making My Own Music – Rise Above

MMoM-1400-blueIn this episode, I talked about and played a new age song called “Rise Above” that I wrote and recorded in January 2014. It uses a mixture of synthesizers and a men’s choir.

I analyzed all of my previous recordings to see which keys I have used and have not used. It turns out I’ve used the “easier” keys with 0-3 flats or sharps but not the “harder” keys with 4-6 flats or sharps. I decided to write this song in G# minor which has 5 sharps.

I used the chord progression G# minor, F#, E maj7, F# which turns out to be the same chord progression I used on Rue’s Whistle which was in G minor, just one semitone away. I also used the same bass sound, although I added some distortion on this bass. I found two cool patches in Omnisphere, one called Chilling and one called Chill Factor that I thought I could base a song on. I played those patches. I also played the electric drum pattern I used and the lead sound which is called I Sing The Body Electric (which doesn’t really seem to relate to the song from Fame).

The “A” section builds and runs for 1 minute, 15 seconds. I wanted to move into something completely different. I decided to record myself singing a men’s choir, with four vocal parts and three recordings of each part. I mixed my twelve person choir with a voices sound, and use that on the “B” section. I added acoustic drums and bring back the I Sing The Body Electric part.

The A section was at 100 beats per minute and the B section was at 118 beats per minute. I switch back to the A section at 100 beats per minute but keep the men’s choir singing, so it is a combinations of the A and B sections.

I then played Rise Above.

I started my 2014 songwriting goal of recording and completing 40 songs in 2014. I also decided to release three albums by the middle of the year. The first would be a new age album that would include Rue’s Whistle, Follow the Advice Of Your Heart, Fountain, Late Day Storm, Rise Above, and 4 to 8 more songs. Another album would be of video game music that would include Escape!, 8-Bit Frenzy, Tremble, and 6 to 10 more songs. Also I would release an EP of jazz music, including Sleepy, Elephant’s Feet, Summer Strut, Fusion, and 2-3 more. I may put Powerhouse on it, but especially if I can re-record it with a trumpet player playing the trumpet parts, a trombone player playing the trombone parts, and me playing all the sax parts.

I will probably release these on Bandcamp, a site that allows artists to sell their music and choose the price. I will probably release the albums as “pay as you want.”

If you use LinkedIn, connect to me and endorse my skills (saxophone, songwriting, recording, mixing, and podcasting). You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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Rise Above – by Tom Snively

MMoM-1400-blueThis is a new age song that I wrote and recorded in January 2014. It uses a mixture of synthesizers and a men’s choir.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer. The podcast episode about this song will be episode 20.

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019 Making My Own Music – Elephant’s Feet

MMoM-150-blueIn this episode, I talked about and played a jazz combo song called Elephant’s Feet that I wrote around 1990 and recorded in November and December 2013. It features my saxophone and a jazz piano, bass and drums. I also talked about Disquiet Junto #100 and an upcoming project.

I talked about my submission for Disquiet Junto #100 which can be found here on my Soundcloud page.

I wrote Elephant’s Feet around 1990 for jazz combo. I wrote Sleepy about six months later. In college I performed it with alto sax, trumpet, piano, bass and drums but I recorded it with two alto sax parts and no trumpet. The chord progression is a 32-bar song in an AABA format. I described the form of the song: First time is the “head” or melody. The second and third are the sax solo, the fourth is the piano solo. The fifth has the sax and piano trade solos with the drums, and the sixth is a reprise of the head.

I played the head of Elephant’s Feet so people could hear the melody and chord progression.

The chord progression is the most complicated of anything I’ve used for this podcast. In particular I wanted to talk about ii-V-Is and altered dominant chords.

I talked about what I, ii, iii and so on mean. In the key of C, a ii-V-I is Dmin7, G7, Cmaj7. I learned to play ii-V-Is on piano in every key. Having the bass move in a cycle of fifths (up a fourth or down a fifth) makes it a strong progression.

In Elephant’s Feet, I have Fm9 – Bb9 – Em7 – A7 – Dmin in the A section and I have Gm7 – C7(b9) – Fm9 – Bb13(b9) – Ebmaj9 in the B section.

I also use altered dominant chords. I use a G7(#9), G7(#5,b5), C7(b9). I played them on piano so people can hear how they sound.

I talked about writing the piano parts and recording the sax parts. It was tedious and I took frequent breaks from the song, working on Follow The Advice Of Your Heart, Disquiet Junto pieces, and a piece called Irrational Fantasy that I also had trouble completing.

I then played Elephant’s Feet.

Send me your feedback by emailing tom@makingmyownmusic.com or calling and leaving a voicemail on 631-213-5023.

I had a nice meeting with Mike Ransom from Unable Records and Jason Ruch from 0x1 Sound Studios. I joined their non-profit organization 1776 as a professional member. This is a great network of music professionals that can really benefit all members, for example if an artist needs a saxophone on their song that I can record for them. If you are a music professional definitely look into joining 1776.

I enjoy math/music songs like Michael Blake’s What Pi Sounds Like and What Tau Sounds Like. I’ve been working on my own irrational number song that I will try to use as my next podcast episode. I planned it out and recorded a bunch of parts, and then realized it was a bad plan. I have to start over in the planning and probably record parts over.

If you use LinkedIn, connect to me and endorse my skills (saxophone, songwriting, recording, mixing, and podcasting). You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

You can play the podcast using the play button at the top of the post, or right-click on the “Download” link to save it to your computer.

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Elephant’s Feet – by Tom Snively

MMoM-1400-blueThis is a song for jazz quintet that I composed around 1991 and recorded in November and December 2013.

Right-click the “Download” link above to save this to your computer. The podcast episode about this song is episode 19.

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