How do you go about making music for video projects?
First, I like to see a rough cut of the footage talk about the director's general mood. What feelings do you want to convey? Is there an arc we are following? Then I will score the first draft and get back in touch with the director to see if what I'm doing works with their vision. This might happen a few times, depending on whether or not I'm on the right track. Once I know what they want, I will produce the entire song. My last step is then looking at the finished cut and smoothing out all the essential details like transitions, the lengths of parts, fades, cuts, etc...
What kind of recording setup do you use?
I do all my work in Ableton Live 10, although it's not the industry standard. But it's the one DAW I know like the back of my hand and where I can work fast. The rest of my setup is elementary low budget home studio stuff: A Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 interface, an AKAI MPK Mini as my main Midi-Controller, and some cheap JBL 3 Series monitors (I forgot the exact name). The only thing I spent a lot of money on is a 2019 15" MacBook Pro with 32 GB of RAM, so the CUP won't die of exhaustion when I'm adding more and more tracks. Oh, and most of the sample libraries and software instruments I use were either free or very cheap!
I have to add that I'm a huge fan of DIY music and culture in general. So I'm the anti gear head.
What is different about making music for a video compared to just making music for music?
The most significant difference is what I touched on earlier: Music for a video has a different purpose than music for music. It has to serve the image. Figuring out what this means for a specific video is the trickiest part, but it's easier to write the music once this is done. In contrast: I have so many halves finished songs lying around that I wrote just for me, where I usually get lost in all the possible directions it could go. And it takes me forever to finish one of them.
How did you come up with the idea of the Ender Song in Offline?
This one was relatively easy and fun. Karsten told me he needed something for the credits/outtakes section at the end, and I asked him: How about some vintage soul-inspired stuff? I was also listening to a lot of Al Green, Otis Redding, and Curtis Mayfield at the time. He liked the idea, and I wrote the song.
Who played all the instruments?
I played and recorded everything live on that song. If you listen closely to the drums, you'll hear that they are a bit shaky and not tight. Same with the bass. But it works for this song.
What is the deal with the Almost Pretty Good band music video that was created?
Tommy had the idea of doing something like the Playing For Change videos, where people worldwide all jam to the same song and mix it. So we decided to use Come On Home since it's a Nitro Original and could also showcase our awesome horn section. I sent him a guide track, and he recorded the drums to it, then recorded the different parts to that drum track. I don't remember the exact order but something like bass & guitars, keys, horns, and vocals.
It was an enjoyable project since you can simulate playing with people without getting everyone together in one room, which was impossible this year.