(more at https://soundcloud.com/jadecupmaidhands)
The Beginnings: Rock & Roll
I’ve been playing various instruments, typically bass and drums, in rock bands almost nonstop for the last 15 years. Among others, I was in a hardcore/metal band, an instrumental surf rock band, and most recently, the more straight-forward Rock & Roll band, Mad Nomad, winner of the 2014 Arkansas Times Musician’s Showcase.
Way back in 2001, I went to college for a year and double majored in Music Theory and Computer Science. I learned all the textbook stuff and realized that music comes from outer space, or heaven, or the aether or some crazy place like that and that all that book knowledge has very little to do with being creative. It worked well for Bach and those guys, but things have changed since then.
After that year of college I realized I wanted to combine my love of computers with my love of creating music which got me interested in a fellow by the name of Brian Eno. I started getting into all of the various software synthesizers and began composing a lot of ambient, slow-moving “mood music”. Meanwhile, as the computer nerd in my bands, I was expected to be the recording engineer on all of our albums which helped me to gain a strong grasp of the production side of music.
Film Scores by Bands
I’m sure you’re aware of the classic stoner pastime of syncing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to The Wizard of Oz. Their unintentional soundtrack creates a much more visceral experience than the original. I began watching things like The Science Channel or nature shows on mute while listening to bands like Explosions in the Sky, Air, M83, and Mogwai. The moods of their music combined with the visuals of these shows offers an incredibly deep and rich experience. Of course, these bands have since been hired to score films, so I’m not the only one who noticed.
As an avid gamer, I’ve realized that my favourite games aren’t the ones with the best graphics or even the best gameplay, but the ones with art and music created with the intention of producing deep emotion and feeling in the player. I get so immersed in these games, I forget to notice whether or not the graphics or storyline are particularly impressive. It’s more about creating an atmosphere for the player to just live in–to get lost in. Something palpable but subtle; unnoticeable but completely unavoidable.
Bender: The Great Philosopher
One of my favourite quotes is from an episode of Futurama where Bender meets God and God tells him, “When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.” (Which is also something the great philosopher Lao-Tzu said, except kind of paraphrased). This has become my mission statement, not just as a composer, but as a human being. I want to create emotions you get lost in and it’s my hope that you won’t even realize it’s happening, which is kind of how emotions work anyway.
My Favourite Composer
Mark Mothersbaugh is, without a doubt, my favourite composer of all time. I’ve loved him since I was a kid. From the quirky brilliance of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse and Rugrats to the Wes Anderson films he’s done. Not to mention the man wrote “Whip-it”. He definitely has his own unique approach to scoring films and music in general.