I discovered Computer Music around 2006 thanks to a friend whose father was a sound engineer with a whole recording studio at home. We had a band with two other guys at the time and were able to record a couple of songs. That’s also when I composed my first two pieces, and since I was very curious about the whole recording process I kept asking questions and thus learned the basics.
Then I decided I wanted to record my own compositions by myself since I had quite a few melodies in mind and going through my friend’s father was time consuming for everyone (plus I couldn’t monopolize the recording studio for my personal needs).
The Basic Idea: to Illustrate the Chronicles of Galadria
The first melodies I composed illustrated my novel “Chronicles of Galadria”. Indeed, behind my will to create my own music stood the frustration of not finding pieces that perfectly matched the story I was writing. The solution became quite naturally to create them! And so came “Chroniques de l’Autre Monde” (Chronicles of the Other World) to life.
Besides, once done, listening to these songs helped me feel the story even more and thus keep the motivation to write.
I started with a microphone placed directly on my keyboard’s speakers and the software Audacity. The sound was bad of course, but at least I could record various tracks and instruments.
A while later I got Big Boss for Christmas. I then had to learn quite a bit about MIDI and the software itself was far from user-friendly (on top of offering pretty poor sound banks). But it allowed for a much better recording quality and the possibility to compose and record full-length pieces, not just bits. And thus started real music production work.
Finally, one or two years later I obtained Cubase SX3 and have been working with it ever since (upgrade to Cubase 5 in 2011). Its ease of use, numerous functions and the extremely rich and high quality sound banks one can add (VSTi) allowed for a leap forward in terms of recording and mixing quality.
Next Step: Internet
Since I changed my tools multiple times in the beginning and also learned a lot in a short time, the first couple of pieces I composed have had several versions. Yet I published none of them; instead I used my latest tools and knowledge to compose brand new songs, then reworked one last time the existing ones to reach a satisfying result, and only then did I decide to gather them into an album that I would publish online. To do so I turned to a quite innovative site at the time that was relying on Creative Common licenses: Jamendo. And that first album was – you guessed it – “Chroniques de l’Autre Monde”!
By the way, if you’re wondering why I picked that name rather than “Chronicles of Galadria – Original Soundtrack” or something similar (since that’s exactly what the pieces in the album are: the soundtrack of my novel Chronicles of Galadria), the reason is simple: when I first published the album I was far from done with writing the book and I didn’t know I would one day publish it online. So I didn’t want the name Galadria to be out there for anyone to see. However I did want to retain part of the poetic and mysterious feeling associated with the novel, which is why I chose “Chroniques de l’Autre Monde”. I actually even had to change the name of one of the tracks when uploading it online because it spoiled a major event of the story ! Can you guess which one it is?
I kept composing the soundtrack of my book and added two new albums to the “Chroniques de l’Autre Monde” series.
At the same time the visibility Jamendo provided led several people to use available pieces for their own projects, while others contacted me for tailor-made soundtracks. Some projects were never completed but the pieces I composed for some of the successful ones are gathered under dedicated albums.
Beyond Music Composition
I kept composing on a regular basis during several years but creating orchestral music meant working exclusively on a computer (since I unfortunately didn’t have the whole orchestra at home!). And so after a while I tried to have at least some pieces played by real instruments. I succeeded twice: first thanks to a group of teenagers from the town of Hudiksvall in Sweden whom I gathered into a small orchestra in 2010, then thanks to the Gävle Symphony Orchestra in 2012, still in Sweden.
However after this great concert, which also was a dream come true, and as I completed my studies, I grew tired of composing and decided to stop. Since then I’ve helped others in their work (advice, assistance with mixing, crash course in Computer Music…)and I continue to play at home and record some melodies that cross my mind (even if I’m trying first and foremost to improve my piano level). I also keep an eye on my existing pieces and their use and I am sometimes contacted by people who would like to use my work. But most importantly I’m focusing on the combination of the “Chroniques de l’Autre Monde” and the “Chronicles of Galadria”. That’s why I’ve created videos that put together the text and music, but also that I’m trying to create an animation series.